Recess time at OPS!

Olympic School Friends

Olympic School Friends, a program which fulfills Rick & Nicole’s longtime dream of connecting local students with students at the Olympic School, was created in 2016. It launched it's first outreach initiative, a Pen Pal Program, in September of that same year and it was a great success, bringing 52 students together through the magic of letters and imagination.

The goal of Olympic School Friends is to connect students on both sides of the world through initiatives like the Pen Pal Program as well as fundraising for the Olympic Primary School.

In Nicole’s words “It’s never too early in a child’s education to become a global citizen and become sensitized to the daily challenges of the world through the lens of another culture and reality.”

In 2005, Ottawa residents Rick & Nicole Goodfellow traveled to Kenya & visited the Olympic Primary School in the Kibera slum district of Nairobi. They were deeply touched & inspired by the dedication of the teachers & enthusiasm of the kids so they created the Rick Goodfellow Invitational Charity & have been supporting the school ever since.

The Olympic Primary School population is currently approximately 4500, the highest student population in any primary school throughout East and Central Africa. The government standard for teacher to student ratio is 1:45, however, with only 40 teachers & 17 volunteer teachers, the average at OPS is actually closer to 1:95 with some classrooms having over 100 students with one teacher! Amazingly, despite all of the challenges, students at OPS are experiencing an overall increase in performance on their national exams with one student achieving the highest score in all of Nairobi!

Since starting the charity more than 10 years ago, RGI has built a library, put on new roofs, renovated bathroom facilities, provided teaching boards and desks in classrooms, new windows, new paint, reinforced the safety wall that surrounds the complex, and much more! In addition, Rick & Nicole personally deliver hundreds of pounds of school supplies when they visit the school each year.

In the Kibera slum district there is no running water, no electricity, no sanitation & the average annual income, if parents are able to find employment, is only $200-$500. Primary education is free in Kenya, but secondary education is not. So, in 2010, Rick & Nicole decided to start a scholarship program for Secondary School age children.  Scholarship students receive tuition fees, books, exam fees, lunch (often their only meal of the day), a uniform & shoes. Scholarship students also get to spend 1 week away from the slums, attending a youth camp at the end of the school year. 

Olympic School Friends, a program which fulfills Rick & Nicole’s longtime dream of connecting local students with students at the Olympic School, was created in 2016. 

OSF launched it's first outreach initiative, a Pen Pal Program, in September of that same year and it was a great success, bringing 52 students together through the magic of letters and imagination.

There are two ways that local students can get involved:

  1.  Host a "DESK DRIVE": With initiatives like WE Day, there is an increased focus at local schools on global awareness & outreach. Individual classes, student led groups, and/or the entire school can get involved by organising a fundraising initiative to support the Olympic Primary School. $90 will purchase a desk which is shared by up to 4 students. This donation also supports local workers who are hired to make the desks. The name of the school/class (or special message of your choice) can be written on the front of donated desks as a “thank you”!

100% of your funds raised will go to support the Olympic Primary School!

  1.  The Pen Pal Program (exclusive for grades 5 to 8): Students from local schools are carefully paired with students at the Olympic Primary School to participate in a Pen Pal Program. Students have the opportunity to exchange letters with a student on the other side of the world, sharing information about their daily lives and culture. It is our hope that this pen pal program will help the children expand their vision and understanding of a bigger world, while building long distance friendships and empathy at a young age. The class may also chose to hold a fundraiser to support their new friends at the Olympic Primary School. As a bonus, this program ties in nicely with many areas of the curriculum including language and social studies.

*PLEASE NOTE - Our Pen Pal Program is currently full.

By participating in one, or both, of these programs, your students can make a real difference in the lives of the Olympic Primary School children, while they themselves are learning and growing on their journey towards being passionate and aware global citizens!  

For more information or to sign up, please contact Alison Goodfellow at olympicschoolfriendscanada@gmail.com