There are many clubs that high schoolers can join, and there are some who believe that these clubs exist merely to pad the college resumes of ambitious students. However, for dedicated members of the STAND organization at Mount Tabor High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, this is not the case. Students who become an active part of STAND have made the choice to make a difference in the lives of people that they will never meet, halfway across the world.
STAND, the student branch of the Genocide Intervention Network, has active groups on college and high school campuses across the nation. The STAND chapter at Mount Tabor High School began in 2007 under the guidance of Ms. Laurie Schaefer, a tenth grade English teacher. Current sponsors also include Ms. Eileen Coates, Ms. Emily Bennett, Ms. Carrie Bennett, and Ms. Becky Maier. STAND membership at Mt. Tabor has grown each year, climbing over the one hundred mark during the 2009-2010 school year. It is encouraging to know, in this racially diverse school with an enrollment of approximately 1700 students, that there are so many students who truly care for other people. Mount Tabor’s STAND members specifically focus their efforts on addressing the genocide in Darfur, and the purpose of the organization is to educate other students and community members about the genocide in order to raise funds to help victims.
During the club’s first two years of operation, funds were raised in order to provide protection for the women often victimized at displaced-persons camps in the Darfur region, as well as to support a much-needed school in Darfur. With the assistance of the Persecution Project Foundation (PPF), students became aware of the great need for safe drinking water in this region of the world, and it was decided that all monies raised during the 2009/2010 year would go towards PPF’s 100 Wells Campaign. STAND held a “Dance for Darfur” in the fall and the “Darfur Fast” in the spring, with the goal of raising $5,000 to donate to the 100 Wells Campaign. All who participated were touched by the generosity of the students and community, and were thrilled to present a check of $10,500 to PPF on June 2.
On behalf of thousands of Darfur refugees who will benefit from the generosity of the Mt. Tabor STAND club, PPF would like to thank these courageous young people who decided to make a difference in their world.