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Freshman in West Virginia and Virginia Walk To Produce $107,000 Impact for Vulnerable Children

The fact is that this generation -- yours, my generation ... we're the first generation that can look at poverty and disease, look across the ocean to Africa and say with a straight face, we can be the first to end this sort of stupid extreme poverty, where in the world of plenty, a child can die for lack of food in it's belly.    -Bono

 

Last week, Sarah, a freshman at Salem High School, asked for another World Vision Christmas Catalog.  She wanted to take it to her church.  She wants to tell her church family that over 26,500 children die each day from preventable causes.  Sarah wants to show them that there is something they can do this year at Christmas to save some of those children.  Instead of giving more "stuff" to friends and family this Christmas, they can choose to provide care for the weak, for the orphan, and the oppressed.

 

Sarah is one of hundreds of freshmen at Huntington High School (West Virginia) and Salem High School (Virginia) who walked this year to raise $13,938.81.  That money is donated to funds in the World Vision catalog that are matched many times over by the U.S. government, corporations, and foundations.  With those matching gifts, this year's effort will have an impact of $107,416.43.  Support will go to provide emergency medicine and food to vulnerable children in Africa.  The funds will also help provide clean water to communities in Ghana, Mali, and Niger.  For the first time in the four-year history of the walk, donations will also go to Haiti, a country that is still suffering from chronic poverty and the effects of a devastating earthquake.  A portion of the money will go to provide food and housing there.

 

The One Life to Make a Difference/ Walk for Children events are becoming extremely popular with students.  Huntington High School students produced videos to be used by other schools explaining the impact the project is having in their lives.  They also produced a public service spot to go on television.  Teachers at Salem High School volunteered to be hit in the face with pies and water balloons as well as drinking digusting concoctions of hot sauce, olive oil, and soy sauce.  All this was to give students incentive to raise more money and to make the walk a day full of joy and fun as well as service.  You can get a taste of the excitement by visiting the Facebook page.  Type One Life to Make a Difference in the Facebook search bar.  You will find videos, pictures, student comments, and a wealth of information about our activities this year.  You may also like to watch the televsion news coverage of the Salem event.

 

Some people ask why teachers are willing to take the time to organize such a big project.  The first reason is that they love their students.  They understand that seeking ways to connect with students outside the classroom and outside the normal academic arena pays big dividends in the classroom.  In addition, teachers want students to understand that the world is broken, and it is in great need of help.  Teachers want students to realize that the students have a purpose, and they need to be as strong, powerful and creative as they can possibly be to fulfill their purpose.  It is a new way to bring relevance to the classroom.  When students talk about being bored, teachers can tell them in a real and understandable way that there is no time to be bored.  Another child died in the last three seconds from a cause that could have been prevented.  Sarah knows that the goat she is giving to her grandmother this Christmas may very well save one of those children.  Maybe others will be saved by the people at her church when she advocates there.  Teachers hope that many other students will follow Sarah's lead.  For them, the Walk may be the beginning of a lifetime of service to the world's most vulnerable people.

 

The Huntington and Salem walks are not the end of our Walk for Children for this year.  Monticello Middle School (Arkansas) and Cave Spring High School (Virginia) plan to conduct One Life to Make a Difference Walks this spring.  Monticello teacher Cecilia Obriant says that sixth grade students there will begin their fundraising efforts during the Christmas season.

 

Freshman teachers at Salem and Huntington are looking forward to helping other schools set up their walks.  They are looking forward to a day in the not-to-distant future when the Walk will raise over $100,000 - with an impact of over $1 million for the world's most vulnerable children.

 

If your school is interested in becoming a part of the One Life to Make a Difference movement, please contact Ray Moore at rmoore@salem.k12.va.us

 

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