Tag Archives: human trafficking

Inspired to change the world

3 Nov

Last summer, after checking the weather on the three sites I have bookmarked, I checked the news on the TV station website. Scrolling to the bottom, I encountered a segment called Kids Doing Good Stuff. I clicked on it and discovered an interview with a teenaged Board Member of YES (Youth Ending Slavery).

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YES is an entirely student-led nonprofit based in Portland, OR. Their mission is to combat modern-day slavery by raising awareness about its prevalence in the world and empowering youth to be advocates for change.

It felt like I’d hit the jackpot because we do a Model UN and one of our writing units is about teen activists.

Yesterday, we had two representatives come and speak to our 6th graders.

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WOW, were these teenaged presenters prepared. We were the youngest group they’d ever presented to and they tailored their talk to our students.  Although they mentioned sexual human trafficking, they really focused on labor issues. They shared statistics that shocked me as well as my students, who were surprised at how young people can be recruited, even to work in hard labor.

They made one presentation before lunch and another afterwards. They joined us for pizza with our POWER leaders (6th grade leadership students) in between the two talks.

Both groups were completely engaged and inspired. Slavery might not become the topic they are passionate about, but these two teens really inspired them to become involved in making the world a better place.

“One child, one teacher, one pen, one book can change the world” – Malala Yousafzai

Finding strength in a cruel world

10 Nov

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Breaking Free: True Stories of Girls Who Escaped Modern Slavery by Abby Sher, is just what the title tells us. It is difficult to read yet hard to put down. It tells the story of three survivors of sexual slavery. Three very brave survivors, because they decided to help those who are still caught up in the system. It is heart-breaking, horrifying and inspiring all at the same time.

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Girls Like Us, a novel by Gail Giles, is a novel about Biddy and Quincy who graduate  from special ed and have to face the world. They have to struggle against prejudice and injustice but find out that they can come to rely on their own strengths as well as on each other.

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