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Senior Project Yields 1,080 Toys Bound for Haiti


Teddy bears, fluffy puppies and Beanie Babies of all kinds will soon be in the hands of children preparing for surgery in Haiti, thanks to Byron Center High School senior Amanda Pipe.

For her senior year National Honor Society project, Amanda hosted a stuffed-animal drive during which students and community members donated 1,080 toys at school and at the recent Roundball Bash basketball tournament.

“I expected to get one box full, and got 15 boxes full,” Amanda said.

Amanda attends Byron Center Bible Church with Dr. Bill Tenhaaf, who performs surgery and offers urgent care and other medical services at Centre de Santé Lumière, a hospital in Les Cayes, Haiti, which he visits monthly.

“He gives a stuffed animal to each child before surgery to calm them down,” Amanda said.

Encouraged by her mother, Stephanie Pipe, Amanda decided providing TenHaaf’s young patients with something to cuddle was the perfect project.

According to The World Bank Group, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest in the developing world. Its per capita income of $250 is considerably less than one-tenth the Latin American average. About 80 percent of the rural Haitian population lives in poverty.

Amanda said she wants to give children something of their own that brings them comfort. “It will be something really special for them to have,” she said.

Spanish teacher and honor society adviser Randall Domeier said Amanda stands out in honor society.

“Amanda is a student leader who leads by example, representing all four pillars of National Honor Society: scholarship, character, community service and leadership. This community service project shows just what type of person she is, thinking globally.”

Amanda plans to attend Cornerstone University or Grace College, in Indiana, next year.

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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