Reaching Uganda

Volunteering takes many forms. It has diverse motivations and creates different results.
In all respects volunteering makes a difference.
Mint Hill is a town of volunteers making good change in the world around them locally, nationally, and internationally, with individuals and on grand scales, inspired by humanity, loved ones, or their faith.
The Mint Hill Times will tell stories of volunteering in the upcoming weeks. Residents can learn how their neighbors are lending a helping hand and maybe find themselves inspired. Volunteering has no age requirements or spiritual prerequisites.
Local students making a difference in Uganda
The Kony 2012 documentary went viral this March. It spread through social media and reached millions. The video calls for the arrest of the Ugandan war lord Joseph Kony and a poster campaign for April 20 called Cover the Night.
Northeast Middle School teacher Keith Marwitz showed this video to his seventh-grade students. The social studies curriculum covers African, Asian, and Australian culture, geography, and history.
He had no idea his volunteersstudents would react with strong passion and enthusiasm that took to real activism.
“It was the kids that really got me excited,” said Marwitz.
To raise awareness, the students stayed after school Friday, April 20, to participate in Cover the Night.
Since the Kony 2012 documentary went viral it has received mixed reviews. Criticisms focus on how people are stopping short of providing real help by simply covering areas with posters. Also, the director of the documentary Jason Russell experienced a public emotional breakdown, inviting more criticism of the movement.
Marwitz decided to show the Russell video but raise money for a separate charity that supports Ugandan children affected by the Kony turmoil. Fellow teacher Kelly Schexnayder brought Marwitz’s attention to the Street Child Project, a charity she found through her church.
The Street Child Project rehabilitates and rescues homeless Ugandan children.
To raise money, the Northeast Middle School students are selling black and red wristbands for two dollars.
The students are also communicating with the street children. They are writing letters delivered by missionaries, as the postal service is not totally secure. The boys in Uganda asked questions about where they got food, President Obama, and Premier League Soccer. The American students were able to make connections with children across the globe. The next batch of letters will arrive in the beginning of May.
Marwitz has also received pictures of the Ugandan boys wearing the Northeast wristbands and reading their letters.
“The connections they’re making is amazing,” said Marwitz. His classes discussed the differences in the quality of life each group of children had, and realized how lucky they are.
For more information about how to support the efforts of Northeast Middle School and the Street Child Project, contact Keith Marwitz at NEMStreetChildProject@gmail.com.

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