Hometown Heroes Paint Bricks for Burkina Faso

By Melanie Chapman | mchapman@kolr10.com

Published 06/25 2014 08:53PM

Updated 06/25 2014 09:15PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A local program takes aim at preparing local African American students for college.

With each stroke of a brush, with each detail, these local students are hoping to enrich the lives young people in the impoverished West African nation of Burkina Faso. They plan to sell bricks and raise money to build a school to help educate more than 120 children.

“I just want to help the kids down there,” says D'angelo Bedelo, a senior at Central High. “I'm fortunate and just helping somebody make me fell like an even better person.”

17-year-old D'angelo is one of 45 students involved in the Drury scholars program. A summer program founded by Drury University professors in 2008, it’s aimed at closing the racial achievement gap. It targets local African American middle and high school students.

“It helps others realize that they need the college experience,” says Central High sophomore Gabby Mills. “I know multiple people who hadn't planned on going to college and Drury scholars has fully changed their minds, given them scholarships, helping them write essays, get jobs its just a beneficial program that helps you with people skills educational skills and overall just helps you in life.”

Sunday, a group called "For Burkina" made clay bricks and mosaic tiles. Now, these students are painting the bricks in hopes of inspiring children globally to strive to reach their educational goals, just like they are thanks to Drury scholars.

“I would say it complete steered my in a good direction,” says Gabby. “I don't know what I would do without this program.”

Recently these students took a trip to Little Rock, Arkansas and visited African American historical sites an eye opening experience.

“What it does is it makes them aware that they're history is a rich history that connects them up with courageous figures of African American’s who have helped fight for civil rights,” says co-founder of Drury Scholars, Peter Meidlinger. “One of our students this week said that she feels like her college education is one that she owes to those that worked hard to open up college education to all Americans.”

And now these students are working to help others. Their determination and voice will be felt and heard in Burkina.

“It shows that back then they were able to make a difference,” says Gabby. “So now we can still make a difference our voice still matters just like it did then.”

The bricks and mosaics will be sold online and at the First Friday Artwalk and at a local retailers. All proceeds will go towards the cost of building the school.

Their goal is $32,000.

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