Ryan Bailey, Julia McLaughlin, Kaitlin LeBlanc, Sophia Novak and Megan Santry raised $3600 to build a house in Nicaragua

Ryan Bailey, Julia McLaughlin, Kaitlin LeBlanc, Sophia Novak and Megan Santry raised $3600 to build a house in Nicaragua as part of their confirmation requirement. (Courtesy photo)

WILMINGTON — As part of St. Thomas’s confirmation requirement, five Wil­mington girls raised $3,600 for Food For The Poor to build a house in Nicara­gua.

Ryan Bailey, Kaitlin LeBlanc, Julia McLaughlin, Sophia Novak, and Megan Santry, all sophomores at Wilmington High School and members of St. Thom­as Church, began fundraising two years ago after a priest from Food For The Poor visited mass at St. Thomas.

“They did little things over the course of the two years: the bake sales, the lemonade stands, a carwash. Every few months they’d do something,” said Karolyn LeBlanc, mother of Kaitlin LeBlanc. “And they never wanted to ask for donations. That was part of it — they only wanted to do things where they were doing something to earn the money. If they had asked for donations, they could have done it within a couple months.”

When the girls began the project, the cost to build a house in a developing country was $3,200, but that price was raised to $3,600 just prior to them reaching their goal.

“We were shocked and being only five months away from confirmation, we had no idea how we were going to get it all done,” Kaitlin LeBlanc, 15, said. “We had to get past this obstacle and do a lot more work than we had originally planned to do, and thankfully, with the help of the community, and especially a generous family within the CCD program who donated the last $240 that we needed, we were finally able to reach our goal. There is absolutely no way this would ever be possible without the people of this community.”

McLaughlin agreed that the community played a cru­cial role in the project.

“Wilmington was very sup­portive in response to our project. Many businesses allowed us to use their property for some of our fund­raisers,” McLaughlin said. “I’m so thankful for this op­portunity and for our community’s support through­out this project.”

Bailey said that she does community service projects with Wilmington High School’s Rotary Club, but called this project “the most rewarding.”

“I look forward to working with my friends on fu­ture projects.”

The girls chose to fund a house in Nicaragua be­cause their donation will be matched, meaning two houses will be built with the girl’s efforts.

“It really means a lot for the five of us because the effect of our service is going to change the lives of families in a third-world country,” Sophia Novak said. “Many people don’t understand how fortunate we are and how easy it can be to give back in such a monumental way.”

Religious Education Di­rector at St. Thomas, Deb Casey, said that all of the 135 students participating in confirmation in late April completed the community service requirement passionately.

“I have to be honest with you, all of them were amazing. They all did it willingly and passionately,” Casey said. “These five girls, however, took on a two year challenge, and they met their goal.”

Bailey, LeBlanc, McLaugh­lin, Novak, and Santry will present the check to a priest from Food For The Poor following St. Thomas’s 12 p.m. mass on Sunday and it will be donated in memory of Sean Collier, the MIT Police Officer killed by the Boston Marathon bombers.

“I wouldn’t change anything with this project,” McLaughlin said. “I do hope that one day the five of us get the chance to meet the families that will be living in the houses.”

(7) comments


These girls are doing the super fantastic job for the poor people. I think people should to take part in this activity and do something better for the poor and needy people. Believe me that I am so happy to know about the hardworking of these girls and they are doing the cool job. Get best essay uk from our service to manage all kind of task.


It is heartwarming to know that there are still teenagers out there who are sacrificing their free time after school to give back the the society. To provide strangers with the opportunity to have their own living space is really commendable. After the houses are complete, the families will not be moving from one place to another just to seek shelter from cold nights and scorching days.


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I honestly think that the best way we can help people in third world countries, or countries that are struggling with war and poverty, is to send them materials and necessities. Building or rebuilding a house is also a very noble cause. I know of some organizations that send portable storage units over to these countries and they are chock full of simple stationery and medication to help the most needy of the people in those poor countries and it goes such a long way!


It's incredibly nice having to see young kids, four young girls precisely doing this wonderful work.

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