by Betty Stanley, Ozark County Times
Kohl Gordon, 15, of Isabella is on a mission and she's determined to succeed.
A few weeks ago, Kohl read the story in the Times about yellow ribbons, written by Sue Ann Luna Jones. In the story, Sue Ann quoted Pfc. Brett Evans, son of Steve and Theresa Evans of Isabella. Pfc. Evans asked for school supplies to be sent for the children in Iraq.
That caught Kohl's attention so she set out to collect donations with a goal of preparing 100 boxes of school supplies.
"I feel sorry for the children," Kohl said. "Even though we are mad at Saddam Hussein, we should not hold it against the children. They are victims of Saddam. He kicked them out of the schools so he could hide weapons there, knowing the United States would not bomb the schools.
"They haven't had school in a year and a half. The United States is trying to reopen the schools, but they have no supplies."
Kohl takes her stand on the Scriptures regarding Saddam Hussein. "Luke 17:2 says, 'It is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should offend one of these little ones.'"
In her enthusiasm to prepare the 100 boxes, Kohl has made a commitment to send them by Aug. 1, even if she has to do so by making a personal sacrifice. She says she'll give up her dream of going to the Chuck Yeager aeronautics camp this summer if she has to in order to honor her commitment.
Kohl, the daughter of George and Jackie Gordon of Isabella, took her first plane ride during Hootin an Hollarin 2002 when she took a flight offered by a member of the local Experimental Aircraft Association. Her mother said, "She came off the plane saying, 'Amelia Earhart, move over!' and she's looked forward to going to this camp ever since."
Kohl's boxes are being assembled in Rubbermaid shoeboxes. Each will contain assorted school supplies, such as colored pencils and regular pencils, a ruler, scissors, colored and white chalk, memo and mini legal pads, composition booklet, pencil sharpener, eraser and glue stick. As an added bonus, she's including personal items, such as a package of tissues. snack crackers, tinned candies or mints and a small toy.
She says she would welcome any suggestions for additional items or cost-cutting ideas. Kohl estimates that each box will cost about $20 with shipping.
The enterprising teen is about one-third of the way to her goal and hopes others will assist her in her effort. You may send a monetary donation to Kohl Gordon at P.O. Box 297, Isabella, MO 65676 or call her at 273-4967. You also may leave your donation of money or school supplies at the Ozark County Times office or mail it to us at P.O. Box 188, Gainesville, MO 65655.
George's Note: Kohl is looking to expand this program beyond what she's been able to do so far. She understands that 100 school children is really just a drop in the proverbial bucket... but it's a start. Approximately 41% of the population of Iraq and other Arab countries and cultures (like the Palestinians) is 14 years old or younger. America and the West are facing a situation where, within a decade or less, these children, many of whom will have had no education, will be adults and, like their parents and older siblings, blaming America for the problems of their countries. And, if you think the current spate of Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel is a problem, just wait until a whole new, much larger generation comes of age... and looks at America as the enemy to bomb.
Kohl figures that if she can get home-educated children in America to join her in this venture, it should help defuse some of this building problem. As she says, "Every hand we can put a pencil in now is one less that will be holding a gun or bomb later." And, as events have shown, we can't depend on the government, regular aid agencies, corporations or mainstream churches to do this... they're either tied up in military operations, providing food and other life-sustaining necessities, or their agenda isn't geared towards the problems of the child who simply doesn't have what he (or she) needs to go to school and learn enough to make a living doing more than stealing or receiving sub-subsistence handouts. If she can get 100 home-educated children to join her, that would raise the number of boxes sent to 10,000... again, not a huge amount, but it would provide for a lot more Arab school children. And just think of how many boxes could be sent if 1,000 or 10,000 home-educated American children join in and send 100 boxes each... and the current estimate is that there are some 1 to 2 million home-educated children in America today. And the more American children who join Kohl now, the more Arab children will remember this act of compassionate generosity and kindness when they're adults in a decade.
And, remember, the home-educated children get something out of this, too. Aside from the satisfaction of knowing they helped someone out of the goodness of their heart, they'll learn math, public speaking, comparative shopping, writing, and a number of related topics, in a real world setting... and, let's face it, that's what they need to learn, not the theoretical material taught in so many textbooks.
If you're interested in having your child join in, or simply want to help Kohl, who's looking beyond August 1, 2003 and making plans to put together and send another 100 boxes, send an email, mail a letter or donation or give us a call at 417-273-4967. Thanks.