Local students help their counterparts in Uganda

CARLSBAD — La Costa Canyon High School students have a history of helping others — whether victims of Hurricane Katrina or underprivileged students in Afghanistan — through various fundraising projects.
Recently, the student body gathered for a firsthand introduction to those they have helped in Uganda through
the nonprofit organization Invisible Children. The school had previously collected 50,000 books for Ugandan students and is preparing for its next fundraising project.
Representatives from San Diego-based Invisible Children came to La Costa Canyon’s campus Sept. 30 for a documentary screening and question and answer session. They are touring the nation to speak to high school students about the crisis in Uganda.
More than 800 students watched the documentary “Go,” which follows American high school students on a trip to war-torn Northern Uganda. The film depicted Ugandan students in their struggle to continue pursuing an education while living in fear of their safety.
“It feels good to be here because I’m imparting knowledge about what it’s like in Uganda,” native Ugandan Kristie Oroma, a member of the tour, said. “If they know about it, they know they can help.”
Members of La Costa Canyon’s STAND Club, a group dedicated to raising awareness about international causes, diligently worked to secure their school as a stop on Invisible Children’s tour. Co-presidents Alyssa Chan and Emily Jones were determined to maximize exposure of the cause.
“We want our friends to feel like they can do something to help,” Chan, a junior, said. “When we work with causes that benefit other kids, it’s a lot easier for the students here to relate.”
The California School Board approved the documentary and many teachers were able to add the screening into their curriculum as social studies hours, Chan said.
“This is perfect; we’re doing an assignment where they have to compare ‘The Crucible’ to a genocide so this will help them,” English teacher Matt Cunningham said.
Following the documentary, Oroma and Invisible Children’s tour “roadies” encouraged students to further educate themselves on the issues facing Ugandans and gear up for an intense fundraising effort.
“I had no idea how serious it was down there and how bad they had it,” senior Lindsay Olsen, 17, said. “I want to get involved for them and for me.”
If the school can collectively raise more than $20,000 in the Schools for Schools fundraising challenge, one student will be selected as a representative on an all expenses paid trip to Uganda through Invisible Children.
“If no one comes to talk to them, they won’t know the history,” Oroma said. When not on tour, she mentors students. “At the end of the day, these students can make a difference.”
For more information about Invisible Children, visit www.invisiblechildren.com.

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