Howard Tech students lend a hand Gifts help Somalian, Yugoslav children

February 15, 1993|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Staff Writer

Pictures of emaciated children, ragged men, rubble and ruins hang on a bulletin board at the Howard School of Technology. On one side are images of war-torn communities that were once Yugoslavia; on the other, photographs of famine-ravished Somalia.

"Please help" says a sign.

The plea is not going unheard. Students are collecting school and art supplies and clothing to send to children in both places, part of the American Red Cross' "Let Children Be Children" campaign.

What they have collected in the past two weeks will be put into about 200 "friendship boxes" and sent to schools and children who face hunger and war.

"The global community is helping," said Domenique Parker, 16, president of the Student Government Association, which is sponsoring the drive. "We figured we should help too. We're kids in this community. Why don't we help kids in other communities?"

Printing students are putting together about 400 note pads to send, and retail marketing students are gathering such things as combs and toothbrushes.

"We're collecting just as much as we can do to help people in need," said Deon Wingfield, 18, who is spearheading efforts by the retail marketing class.

Welding students are collecting money to buy notebooks, pencils and other supplies. They also held a Valentine's Day fund-raiser, snapping sweetheart pictures of students in the school's front lobby for $4 apiece. All proceeds went to the drive.

"We've seen how bad Somalia really is," said Russell Shaver, 16. "We figured we could help out -- if not a lot, just a little. At least some kids will get more educational stuff they need and clothes to keep them warm."

Other students are helping in their own ways, by writing encouraging messages to the children overseas. Teachers are involved too: Some have donated about 200 boxes of crayons, and others sent 75 T-shirts.

"This was a nice drive, in that it took it out of the country," said Clarice Custer, the Student Government Association adviser. "We have done public service for our community, and this gives us a chance to help the global community."

"We're trying to do our best in helping them," said Domenique. "We may not understand what they're going through, but what we see [on television] is enough for us to reach out."

This month's charity drive isn't the first for the technology students. In the past, they have collected blankets, hats, mittens and clothing for the Grassroots shelter.

They also raised money for the Jerry Lewis muscular dystrophy drive, Goodwill and the Ronald McDonald House.

Ms. Custer said the school is taking donations of crayons, notebooks, art materials, toys and toiletries until Friday.

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