Friday, December 05, 2008

A neat school group from Tennessee

A high school in Tennessee has a student organization that raises money and creates awareness about disease and poverty in Africa. The club called the Teen African Relief Effort involves about 25 students in McGavock High School.

The Tennessean's Andy Humbles fills us in on what the student group does.

TARE is sponsored by English teacher Faye Walker, but the club is student-driven, with Abbie Alexander and senior Robert Curry the founders and co-chairs. TARE usually sets its own meeting schedule after school or even on weekends off campus.

Last school year TARE raised $940 to buy 94 mosquito nets for African families through the Nothing But Nets campaign. The nets are sent to Africa to help protect residents against malaria, which is spread by mosquitoes and is a leading cause of death.

The group also solicited signatures for an Amnesty International campaign and sent them to President George W. Bush to encourage approval of a United Nations-African Union hybrid peacekeeping force to Darfur, which was approved. About 300,000 people have died and 2.5 million are homeless as a result of five years of fighting in Darfur.

Abbie, an honor student at McGavock, said she tried to launch the club as a sophomore, but it couldn't get approval. It did get approved last school year.

This school year TARE organized a Darfur Awareness Week in November that included setting up booths at school to provide information and solicit donations. The week culminated with a Friday evening showing of the documentary Darfur Now in the school auditorium that was open to the community.

The second semester will focus again on raising money to buy mosquito nets. One net costing $10 is good for four people, Abbie said.

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