Story and Photo by Barb Liggett, Global Strategy Office Intern
Eugine is an 8-year-old from Kenya who wants to be a teacher when he grows up. Compassion believes that he — and all kids with big dreams — can do it. So does Katie Peters. This 15-year-old, from Colorado Springs’ The Classical Academy, has been raising money for Compassion since 2002 to help kids like Eugine reach their goals. Katie places jars with the slogan “Pennies for the Poor” in classrooms and hallways around her campus, about a mile from Compassion’s Global Ministry Center.
Katie posted signs around the school encouraging students and teachers to drop loose change into these jars. This simple act has gone a long way.
To date, Katie has raised more than $880 to help children across the world. Although Katie humbly claims she “was not a huge part, and it wasn’t all [her] money,” she organized this effort to raise money out of a caring and pure heart. She took the initiative to get permission from her principal to set the jars out, and at the end of each day she collects the jars and locks them in cabinets for safekeeping.
Despite all this work, Katie hopes her efforts go unnoticed by peers. She says that “I don’t try and tell people that I am doing it … I almost hope they don’t know it is me doing it. I hope they just know somebody cares.”
This is the servant’s heart Compassion seeks, the type of heart that is so powerful when embodied in a young person.
Katie chose Compassion from a long list of organizations, but for her the choice was simple. Her family began sponsoring a boy when she was 5, so she was already familiar with Compassion’s ministry.
About her family’s Compassion child, she explains that “he had graduated about the time I started Pennies for the Poor, so I decided there were still others like him who needed [help] through Compassion.”
Her family’s sponsorship was not the only experience that influenced her. When asked what provoked her to start collecting change, Katie says that “I started thinking I wanted to do something after my class had a character lesson about giving.” This, along with understanding the results of child sponsorship firsthand, inspired Katie to become an advocate for impoverished children around the world.