WAYLAND, Mich. -- A young man who graduated from Wayland High School in 2007 is back home this month after opening a school in Uganda. The school's founder is in town raising money for his nearly 400 students in a country where the most basic life needs are not met.
The Rising Star Junior School has nearly doubled in size since it's opening in 2012, and hundreds of students and staff have Wayland native Ryan Kaminski to thank for starting the project.
While back home in West Michigan, Kaminski walked the track at Wayland High School for 24 hours to raise money for the school he has dedicated his life to.
"There's so many children that need help," said Kaminski. "There's so many children waiting to get into the school, and we need money for classrooms, more houses for teachers on site so we can hire more teachers and staff members, and hopefully we will be building a secondary school so these children can continue their education."
Kaminski hopes to expand the school by teaching all grade levels by 2016.
The school can trace its origins to the moment Kaminski met an orphan boy in Uganda. "He was taking care of his brothers and sisters. No parents at home. It just represented so many children's stories in Uganda, so I made this organization in his memory," said Kaminski. The organization was Kayongo's Hope.
Now among Rising Star Junior High School, 80 orphans both attend classes and live there.
"I think back to when I had a dream to start it, and there were so many times that I had failed fundraisers. And I felt like I wouldn't succeed," said Kaminski.
Kaminski said that his friends and family are also supporting his passion to help the children. "These people have actually been to the school in Uganda, and so they know that the children come to school whether is it raining, whether there is a four mile journey to get to school or if it's two miles."
If you would like to donate to the Rising Star Junior School in Uganda, CLICK HERE.