Six summers ago, a sixth grade American boy stood in the doorway of a poor, rural Indian school and said he wanted to teach English. He had the summer free and wanted to be useful. While the high school principal said "yes," the elementary school principal said he was wasting his time. No one ever amounted to anything in this village except a servant, shepherd, or a farm hand, he exclaimed. Vasanth Kuppuswamy couldn't believe what he was hearing. He resolved then and there to be the oxygen that fueled the flames of every child at that school. Vasanth taught for three summers. After his eighth grade year, he decided he'd also try to improve and renovate the two schools. All children were sitting on the cement floor. There was no science equuipment. There were no ceiling fans. Speaking at schools and Rotary Clubs, Vasanth raised $8,000 in just a few months. He carried that to India to begin his projects. The Indian government contributed an additional $18,000 immediately. First, village carpenters made desk and bench sets. Electricians installed ceiling fans. The school bought science equipment. Vasanth paid the students' school fees and purchased school supplies for them. He even constructed a wall around the school to keep the farm animals out. A year later, Vasanth returned with another $8,000. He added to the science equipment purchased the year before, constructed a basketball court, secured a generator, provided academic achievement awards, purchased four additional acres behind the school for future school expansion, and bought uniforms and shoes for the Boy Scout troop. This past summer, Vasanth shipped and installed an $8,000 Water Missions International water purification system. He also started a school library and told the seniors he would help send them to college. (College costs about $250 a year, and about 40 students plan to attend college next year.) Vasanth is currently raising money to complete the school's computer lab, purchase calculators for math and science classes, furnish school supplies to six additional elementary schools, start an after school academic prep program for 10th and 12th graders, institute a summer acceleration program for 6th graders, inaugurate an elementary school art program, improve sanitation facilities at the secondary school, and upgrade the school's athletic fields. Students have said their school now looks like a junior college. Why are Vasanth and his mentor, Bill Smyth, doing all of this? It's really very simple. They care, and they're trying to show the world that everyone can get involved in projects right in their own backyard. In fact, when Vasanth and Bill make presentations, they start with that point. Everyone can do something. Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Margaret Mead echoed that when she added, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Please take a look at the Tamil Nadu India School Fund website at www.tnisf.org. Join us as we try to make our world better day by day.