Archive for Thursday, May 10, 2007

Giving nature common within district

May 10, 2007

It's altruism and it's all true.

Three different times recently as I traveled across the Eudora USD 491 landscape, I witnessed three different examples of altruism performed by Eudora High School students.

Their efforts varied both in proximity and duration.

First, I saw students from Robyn Kelso's geography class weave their way through a busy lunchroom with plastic pitchers in hand.

They worked to bring Africa close to home by touting the value of $1.

The money collected by Kelso's class during the international Darfur Awareness and Advocacy Week will head to the war-torn region.

Later in the week, I chatted with students as they reclined in chairs while donating blood.

Their offerings along with those from the community will be distributed to those in need within the greater Kansas City area.

Both causes will go toward easing current pains in society. The dollars collected for Darfur will help the afflicted Sudanese. The blood collected will help even out what seems like near constant shortages faced by the Community Blood Center.

But the efforts of the third group ---- students working their way through the Eudora-De Soto Technical Education Center's health careers program ---- might take their entire lifetime.

I realize the media is filled with images of the blank-faced and apathetic teen, more connected to personal electronics than anything solid. But I have recently found many examples of youngsters bucking the stereotype.

That isn't to say the students didn't use a little help from the modern technological landscape.

Two high school students from Chicago used online community programs to spread the word for their "Dollars for Darfur" cause.

To me, that's a fascinating example of how the world is changing through the use of the Internet. It's charity through interconnectivity.

The more students learned about the genocide in Darfur over the course of their lunch periods last week, the more they pitched in. By the end, Kelso's class rocketed past the suggested $50 donation by earning more than $400.

Then there were the students who literally bled for their cause. I was surprised to hear a driving factor for the student council's blood drive Monday was competition. They wanted to bring in more blood than the October drive. In October, the group collected 31 units. This month, the Community Blood Center left with 27 units but the students registered 37 people to participate.

For the health career students, their vocation helps them earn money right out of high school. The students can earn more than $10 per hour in some cases if they get their certification.

But their earning potential comes hand-in-hand with their real-world experience upholding the Hippocratic oath.

During their necessary clinical experience they have a job, but within that they learn to heal.

As I talked to the students about why they chose to get involved with their activities, I heard an understandable refrain, "because I want to help people."

They did, and that's just during the course of one week.

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