Amnesty gives back

The Amnesty International club used the proceeds from an Oct. 3 bake sale to support the non-profit organization Invisible Children dur­ing the week of Nov. 28 by visiting 8th Grade Global Studies classes to discuss the plight of child soldiers, by holding a lunchtime screening of Invisible Children documentary “Tony,” and by selling raffle tickets for prize baskets. Invisible Children aims to spread awareness about hu­man rights atrocities in Central Africa and provide rehabilitation to Ugan­dan child soldiers.

Through these fundraising efforts as well as through private donations from the Marlborough community, Amnesty raised $6600 for Invisible Children, exceeding its initial goal of $5000 and becoming one of Invisible Children’s top 50 fundraising groups.

Amnesty’s faculty advisor, History Department Head Cathy Atwell, de­signed the curricula club members taught to Global Studies students over a span of two class periods. These student-teachers briefly explained the history of the use of child soldiers, screened “Tony,” and led discussions. According to Vinnie ’13, who taught some of the lessons, the eighth graders were generally enthu­siastic to learn more about the injus­tices child soldiers face.

“The purpose was to raise aware­ness about child soldiers and also create a bond between the Upper and Middle School,” Reynolds said.

Amnesty International Co-President Lauren ’12, who creat­ed the club along with Co-President Carina’12 at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, said that Amnesty was able to hold its first fundraiser this year due to an influx of new members and increased com­mitment from returning members.

Gutches’ interest in activism be­gan in 8th Grade when she watched a documentary in Global Studies about human rights. Since then, she has traveled to developing coun­tries including Ghana and Tanzania through Rustic Pathways, which offers service-oriented summer programs in developing countries. Lauren was one of 650 dedicated supporters of Invisible Children who were selected to attend its educational leadership conference, “The Fourth Estate,” at the University of San Diego in August of last year.

“[The conference] was really eye-opening, and it shook my world. Since then, it’s really become almost as if [supporting Invisible Children] has really defined my life,” Lauren said.

Although club rules prevent Am­nesty from having another fund­raiser this year, its members plan to support other causes in future years. This semester, they will focus on a variety of global issues and take ac­tion to support human rights during meetings every Thursday in D202.

“[My hope is] that [Amnesty In­ternational club] is long-lasting,” Lauren said. “We all want it to al­ways be around.”