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Twin Oaks Elementary students help kids in Nepal

By: Paris Narayan, Special to The Placer Herald
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Larry Brown was a Rocklin educator for 40 years, and when he decided to retire, he knew he wanted to do more than just stay in the same place. On a visit to Nepal, he discovered the needs the children had there for education. “It got started with a trip I took back in 2005 and discovered all of these street kids. Kids of the country who went to the city thinking of jobs and money, but of course children immediately become the pawns of traffickers in sex, drugs, the whole nine yards. Many of them fled the cities and there was nobody and no resources to help them,” Brown stated. He began Himalayan Dreams, a nonprofit to help orphan children in Kathmandu, Nepal. Brown and Twin Oaks Elementary Student Council joined forces to raise money for eight white boards for Highland English School in Kathmandu. “Larry Brown is a former Rocklin teacher and our principal (Sarah James) ran into him at the Rocklin High Winter Fair and asked him what he’s been doing since retiring and he mentioned his nonprofit Himalayan Dream,” Twin Oaks teacher Christina Schuler explained. Both Schuler and Ellen Hatcher, the Student Council Heads, thought this was a great idea and brought it to the Student Council board, where the students decided that this was a cause they wanted to help. The board consists of sixth graders, Nicole Cartan, Ali Snider, Connor Rainey, Gabbi Parker, Jessica Valverde, and Kyle Watkins. “We raised $127 and then added $75 from our Student Council fund,” Snider explained. They sold Valentine’s candy grams to the students to raise money. “We fundraised for about a week and a half and then stopped on Valentine’s Day and passed out the candy grams,” Rainey said Both Valverde and Watkins loved this experience since it allowed them to help students halfway across the world. “It was pretty cool because we were able to help out all these kids who didn’t have all the stuff we do have in America,” Watkins said. “I realized that we were very lucky,” Valverde said. The students were extremely thankful to Brown, the fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade student council representatives, and all the students and parents who supported them by buying the candy grams. “The kids at Twin Oaks absolutely came through with flying colors! For Twin Oaks to come on board was absolutely fabulous!” Brown said. Himalayan Dreams is a non-profit that helps children at the orphanage, Deehive, with a motto of, “we just hope to attract all the honey,” and the orphan students who go to Highland English School. The reason the white boards were so useful was because in Nepal there is no electricity in the classroom and the only light comes from the classroom’s windows. “The white boards are almost like a light,” Brown explained. Brown is now looking into finding a way to take used books to Nepal to continue to help educate the students. It has been his passion now for six years now, and even though he never thought he would start a nonprofit, it is now such an important part of his life.