On her final day in India, junior music major Molly Bruner looked out her bus window on the drive back from an orphanage and knew something had to change. After 10 days devoted to opening three orphanages and working with children, Bruner wanted to do her part to help with the poverty she wittnessed.
“I thought, ‘I can’t let this continue,’” Bruner said. “I stayed up all night our last night and wrote down fundraising ideas — thoughts about what I could do to help. I knew I could not go back and live life as normal or find a new normal.”
Bruner had done a lot of local volunteering with her church — mostly involving music — but last summer she went on a mission trip through Angel House. It is a rescue initiative ran through Oakland Community Church’s young adult group, The Gathering.
With her mission group, Bruner worked to open three new homes, introducing orphans to a new life.
“The poverty was really hard to deal with. It changed me a lot as a person — how I view things, how I spend my money and what’s really important in life,” Bruner said. “The people, though they were so poor, were very kind and very open, warm people. I liked working with them.”
This was not enough, however, as Bruner wanted to do more.
After returning home, she planned out fundraisers for her project, “Let’s Change India 2014” aimed at raising $15,000 to open her own orphanage which would house 12 children.
“Molly has a plan,” Lindsay Russo, co-founder of Angel House said. “While others have an idea of how to fundraise, her vision sets her apart. She’s really thought it through and cares. You can tell by the hard work she’s put into her fundraising — she’s in it to make a difference and we couldn’t do what we are doing without people like her.”
While the work is small scale in a country with about 25 million orphans, according to Russo, small steps make a difference.
Opening homes for 12 , 25 and 50 children, Angel House has provided homes for 1,000 orphans so far.
Bruner’s friends, juniors Helen Hass and Lauren Doucet are contributing to the cause.
In addition to their help with fundraising, Hass will work on the website and project marketing, as well as set up a Twitter account.
Doucet said she shares Bruner’s passion for putting a stop to human trafficking and slavery, and she admires her friend’s dedication.
“Molly is extremely unique,” Hass said. “She’s very passionate and determined to carry through the plans she makes. I completely admire how much she wishes to do this, with all of the thought and research she’s put into it.”
The road ahead
Current fundraisers include “Coffee for Orphans,” at Caribou on Walton boulevard. Nov. 10 from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m., a benefit concert “Opera for Orphans” with some of her music friends, as well as a fundraiser with her group at Oakland Community Church. But there will be many more to come, according to Bruner.
“I can talk about my faith all I want but unless I do something about it, my faith is nothing,” Bruner said. “Life is so short, we have such little time to make a difference. Life does not revolve around you. It should revolve around helping others. If you want to truly find yourself, go help others.”