In the evenings, you’ll find most kids gabbing on the phone with friends or goofing around on Facebook.
And Matthew Bondy does the same, only if he’s on the phone, he’s talking to a member of the parliament of Malawi, discussing how to bring more water to Mangochi. If he’s on the computer, he’s emailing photos to supporters.
What began as a simple bar mitzvah project to make water more accessible in Malawi became a movement, thanks to Matthew’s heart and hard work. Northbrook Junior High just might have the next Andrew Carnegie on its hands.
In 2008, Matthew discovered Warm Hearts, an organization that builds water wells in Malawi and had access to matching funds.
“For the amount of money we raise, we’re going to make a real difference,” he recalls thinking. His goal was to raise enough money for one well.
Matthew created a 5K walk that brought his community together to educate them about the cause in October 2008. He had some walkers carry water jugs to feel the physical hardship of women in Malawi.
The event raised $4,000 that was matched to build three wells. The owner of the building company was so inspired by Matthew that he donated a well. A nun in Italy also heard about Matthew’s work and matched some funds.
And when Northbrook Junior High voted on its annual cause in 2009, Matthew made a compelling case: “A whole village will have clean water just from our school’s fundraising.”
He won the election, and the school has raised more than $1,300, for at least one more well.
Matthew’s parents, Bruce and Lauren, weren’t too surprised.
“People notice his heart and his beauty,” says Lauren, who has dedicated her life to helping others, most recently as co-founder of the education group Parenting Perspectives.
And Matthew is nothing if not humble. He was embarrassed to learn he’d been chosen as an amazing kid. But, a few hours after hearing the news, he said to his mom, “People will read it, and maybe people will donate.”
To read more inspiring stories about amazing kids, or to nominate an amazing kid you know for the “Amazing Kids! of the Month” award, visit the Amazing Kids! website, amazing-kids.org. Amazing Kids! is a children’s educational non-profit organization dedicated to helping inspire excellence in children while helping them to realize their own amazing potential.”