NEWS Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 880 S. Lemon Avenue
October 26, 2011 Walnut, CA 91789
Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909) 595-1261 ext. 31204
Chaparral Hosts Invisible Children Assembly
Students learn about civil war, global citizenship, and service to others
WALNUT, CA— For two weeks in October, Chaparral Middle School Advocacy (homeroom) classes introduced students to a variety of non-profits and service opportunities.
The Service Learning and Global Citizenship Weeks, held October 10-21, showed students that they are citizens of the world and have responsibilities to each other and the earth itself. Young people have the power to make a difference through sharing knowledge, volunteering, and philanthropy.
The culminating activity was a special assembly presented by the Invisible Children organization. Chaparral staff members used the assembly as an opportunity to introduce a variety of non-profits and teach students about service learning and global citizenship.
Each day, a new non-profit was introduced including Susan G Komen Foundation and Challenged Athletes. Classes discussed the motto “Be the change” and explored the many ways that students can make a difference in the world.
For the past several years, teacher Sherry Robertson has introduced the longest civil war in Africa to her students as a writing topic and tool for self-reflection and to inspire service to others.
The school’s HUMANitarian Club supports the Invisible Children, a non-profit created by three teenage boys to end the use of child soldiers by the Lords Resistance Army, and restore LRA affected communities in central Africa to peace and prosperity.
The group is responsible for saving thousands of lives and protecting the young children in Uganda from further abductions. Last year, the young members of Invisible Children introduced a bill to Congress calling for the United States to help the Ugandan government capture the LRA leader, Joseph Kony.
Chaparral’s young “global citizens” were eager to hear more about their cause and to get involved, said Robertson, the club advisor.
Several months ago, Robertson received a video message from the Invisible Children group because one of her “persistent” students had made several requests for a visit their school.
It worked. Last week, members of the Invisible Children organization came to the Diamond Bar school.
On October 17 and 18, students learned more about the organization in their Advocacy classes. They viewed two short videos showing an overview of the organization and a trailer for the video Tony, that the students saw the following day.
On Wednesday, members of the organization’s Frontline Tour held assemblies for 7th and 8th graders. They viewed a powerful 30-minute video that featured the story of an orphan affected by genocide and the death of his family. He lived in ongoing fear of being abducted. Students heard the firsthand story of Ugandan Harriet Achola, a young girl affected by the war torn country. They also had the opportunity to ask her questions during their lunch break.
Students were actively involved and eager to learn more after the service learning and global citizenship weeks.
After the assembly one student commented, “How can we sit back and not help others? Even if they don’t live in the United States, they are still our brothers and sisters. After seeing so much need, what kind of person would you be if you just go about your life ignoring others?”
“If we give children opportunities to help others, they will rise to the challenge and change not only the world, but also develop an amazing sense of self confidence and purpose,” Robertson said.
Invisible Children Frontline Tour representatives Harriett Achola and Carlo Austria teacher/advisor Sherry Robertson, 8th graders Nikka Pisigan, HUMANitarian club president, Brandon Marantz, HUMANitarian club vice president.
Invisible Children Frontline Tour members hosted an assembly with a powerful message for Chaparral Middle School students on October 18.