Being a global citizen is something that Victor L. Crouch (MSW ‘99) takes seriously. Last summer, Crouch, who currently lives and works in Okinawa, Japan, as an elementary school counselor, traveled to northeast Thailand, home of the Isaan culture. There, in the province of Ubon Ratchathani, Crouch learned about a preschool built in a lowlands area that flooded every time it rained. The conditions were not only unpleasant but unsafe for the 17 three- and four-year-old students in the school.
Crouch (pictured, third from left) met with the preschool’s three teachers and the village leadership to learn more about their needs. It turned out the residents had been thinking about this problem for quite some time. They had already identified a site on higher ground, drawn up plans and lined up volunteers who were ready to start work. All they needed were the funds to purchase building materials.
That’s where Crouch and fellow alum Darryl James (MSW ‘98) stepped in to help. The two started a GoFundMe page that has raised more than $5,000 to date. The money was used to purchase materials for the roof and the floor. An additional $2,700 is needed to buy bricks and other materials for the walls. When completed, the new preschool will have three classrooms, a full kitchen, showers and two bathrooms.
Crouch sees this project as more than just building a new preschool. “The construction has the potential of being transformative,” said the alum, “deepening a sense of connection among members of the community. This heart-warming endeavor of building a preschool has allowed me to use my skills to make a human capital investment in young children and their families.”