9 Year Old World Changer

Thomas Friesen Raises Funds for Otino Waa Children’s Village

Written by Dwayne Friesen 07/25/2016 (Thomas’ grandfather)


Thomas Friesen is the 9-year-old son of Aaron and Heather Friesen. Their family has been supporting an Otino Waa orphan, Andrew Odango, for about two years. Thomas and his two younger brothers and sister (Andrew, Harrison and Clara) have enjoyed writing to Andrew and hearing from Andrew about life at Otino Waa as well as how much Otino Waa and our Lord’s grace has meant to Andrew and changed his life.


A few months ago, Thomas decided he wanted to do more to help the children of Otino Waa. He decided he would begin raising funds to send to Otino Waa. He started by talking to his 3rd grade teacher at McCornack Elementary School in Eugene, Miss Mertz. Miss Mertz thought this sounded like a great cause, but thought they would need permission from the principal. They scheduled a meeting with the principal, Londa Rochholz, for Thomas to present what he knew about Otino Waa. Thomas and his friend Sammy worked together to prepare a presentation. They spent their Saturday afternoon before the meeting reading and collecting information from the Otino Waa website to learn about Otino Waa, the children that live there and how they are helped.


After their presentation to Ms. Rochholz, she gave Thomas permission to make presentations to both 3rd grade classes at their school and allow Thomas to accept collections on behalf of Otino Waa. Ms. Rochholz and her husband were so impressed by Thomas and Otino Waa that they donated as well. A total of $158 was collected through Thomas’ presentations to the classes.


Thomas, his parents, and the schoolchildren that donated then talked about how best to give to Otino Waa and they remembered reading about the poultry project. McCornack School has a garden with two chickens that the students help care for and also collect and share the eggs. Therefore, Thomas and his friends that donated decided to give the money raised toward the poultry project. They particularly liked that the children of Otino Waa would have eggs to eat and would learn how to help care for the chickens. They also were happy that their donation would be doubled through a matching grant.


Thomas was so happy that he could help Andrew and the other children of Otino Waa.

(This information came from Thomas’ grandfather “interviewing” Thomas and his parents.)