Sunday, May 11, 2008

All it Takes is ONE Student

(Note: For the fourth year in a row, a school in New Mexico has embraced Bread for the World's Offering of Letters. But it takes someone within the school to care enough to bring the issue, whether domestic or global poverty , to the students and teachers.

In 2005, and 2006, teachers Karina Doyle at St. Michael's High School in Santa Fe and Emily Thorn at Menaul School in Albuquerque had their classes write letters to Congress . See previous post

In 2007, Emily had several students and teachers sign a big banner related to the 2007 Farm Bill, which we delivered to Rep. Heather Wilson on Lobby Day. See picture in this post (Scroll to the bottom).

Then this year, there is Kyra-Ellis Moore, a 15-year-old at Albuquerque High School, who came to our Offering of Letters workshop. (That's her pictured with Bread member Marge Williams at the OL workshop in March). Kyra was so inspired by the presentations that she decided to try to hold an Offering of Letters at her school, one of more than a dozen public high schools in Albuquerque. While it would have been ideal for the students to actually sit down and write letters, Kyra did the practical thing. She had the letters ready for the students. But she made sure that they understood the content of the letter before signing. Anyway, I'll let her tell the story....

By Kyra Ellis-Moore

I am a 15-year-old freshman at Albuquerque High School. I have been working with Bread for the World and The ONE Campaign for several years now, and have participated in many events such as vigils and The Center for Action and Contemplation's Stations of the Cross (the year when the main theme was The Millennium Development Goals).

I have done a lot of work with Bread for the World through my church, Saint Andrew Presbyterian, largely thanks to Ester Schneider and Carlos Navarro. Ester is wonderful lady who coordinates many of the church’s mission projects, many of which are in conjunction with Bread for the World. Carlos, a local grassroots leader for Bread for the World, brings opportunities for service to the church and Ester helps to get us involved.

Recently, Ester brought the Offering of Letters to the attention of our congregation. She had letters already printed out asking our Senators and Representative to support poverty eradication efforts. Ester was able to get 74 letters from our church, a huge amount considering the rather small size of our congregation. I wrote three letters, one to each politician, and decided to bring some of the letters to my school to try and get more youth involved.

I initially made 20 copies of each letter, 60 letters in all for people to sign, and these were all signed within a day or two. I had to continue making more and more copies to keep up with the extremely positive response I was getting from my peers. I am a senator at Albuquerque High, and I brought the letters to the school Senate, and talked a little bit about the Millennium Development Goals so that they new why the campaign was happening, and I was met with overwhelming participation.

When I first asked people to sign the letters they seemed a little bit guarded and wanted to know what they were about, but the moment I said it was for poverty eradication they asked for one. I also got a few letters from teachers at my school who were very glad that the students were getting involved in a cause that they knew to be extremely important. All in all I got 220 letters. I addressed all of these letters and brought them back to Saint Andrew for the offering and blessing, and then all 294 letters were sent out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very cool!
Elaine VanCleave
Bham, AL