Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dunedin students read to help feed needy in Haiti, Nepal, Malawi

DUNEDIN — The Rotary Club of Dunedin made a deal with Academie Da Vinci students: Do 500 hours of reading in eight weeks and we'll donate $500 to a charity in your name.

The Dunedin charter school's 116 students did the Rotary one better: They completed the task in 11 days.

Their prize will go to Heifer International's "Read to Feed" program, which teaches impoverished villagers about sustainability, then ships them pregnant farm animals. The goal is to encourage self-reliance and sharing.

Academie Da Vinci's $500 donation will send a total of four animals — llamas and goats — to Nepal, Haiti and Malawi.

"I learned how easy it is to help other countries," said fifth-grader Joseph Veimau, 10.

In addition to promoting reading, the project taught students lessons in world geography and civics, said Academie Da Vinci principal Susan Ray.

Two representatives each from kindergarten through fifth grade formed the school's first-ever student council. The council members took information back to their classmates, who then used a democratic voting process to determine which animals to ship and to which countries.

"It was a great civics lesson on representation, voting and putting aside your own feelings to be the voice of the people," Ray said. "And they can carry that into middle and high school with a better depth than kids who haven't had that experience."

Students recounted how they studied the globe and discussed which animals function best under which climates or diets. They researched the poorest countries and wrote essays from the perspective of villagers who would receive the donations.

Fifth-grader and student council president Carly Bredal was most surprised to learn "how people could just barely survive without anything and how one animal could do so much."

"We're really lucky," said Joseph, also a council member.

Kindergarten student council member Alex Johnson deemed Africa's Zimbabwe the "coolest" country that students studied.

The 6-year-old already has his mind set on visiting the country someday. For now, he's content knowing that a little piece of himself and his classmates will soon be roaming another continent.

"I just felt proud," Alex said.

Keyonna Summers can be reached at or (727) 445-4153.

by the numbers

Heifer International teaches students that a small donation can make a large impact.

$20 buys a flock of chicks, which can provide a family protein through eggs and an income

$60 can buy trees to provide fruit for a family and at the same time help protect the soil.

$120 can buy a goat, which provides milk for the home and to sell for income to pay for school fees, medical care and more

Visit for information.

Dunedin students read to help feed needy in Haiti, Nepal, Malawi 10/11/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 6:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Chris Archer, 25,000 Cubs fans and Tampa Bay's painful truth

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The biggest ovation inside Tropicana Field on Tuesday night was not for Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who was returning for the first time since managing the Rays.

    "W" flags fly in the stands after the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Rays Tuesday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  2. A rendering of the Bucs' indoor practice facility.
  3. Poorly assembled 'Lego Ninjago Movie' waters down Lego movie franchise


    Well, that didn't take long.

    After only three movies, the Lego franchise is already a shadow of its original self, less irreverent and go-for-broke bricky. The watering down of an ingenious formula comes with The Lego Ninjago Movie, the sort we expected all along from plastic construction toys.

    A scene from "The Lego Ninjago Movie." (Warner Bros.)
  4. Irma slows curbside trash service in Pasco


    Hurricane Irma brought a hiccup to twice-weekly curbside trash service in Pasco County.

Pasco officials are asking for patience about the slow pace of residential trash service from private haulers. In some areas, trash hasn't been collected since Friday, Sept. 8, because of the volume of waste left after Hurricane Irma.
  5. Clemson reunion for Bucs' Adam Humphries, Vikings' Mackensie Alexander


    Bucs receiver Adam Humphries will have a familiar face lining up against him Sunday when he's in the slot and the Vikings have Mackensie Alexander guarding him as their nickel defensive back.

    Bucs wide receiver Adam Humphries (10) makes a reception before being tackled by Chicago Bears defensive back Marcus Cooper (31) Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]