Oakland Jr. High hosts tsunami aid activities

Monday, January 17, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:26 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 3, 2008

The members of the Girls Empowerment Group at Oakland Junior High are on a mission to teach their fellow students about the tsunamis that devastated South and Southeast Asia.

“I think it’s important to know because it can happen to anyone at anytime,” said ninth-grader Whitney Jennings.

This week’s after-school planning meeting was a flurry of activity. Ninth-graders Dymund Reynolds and Daveana Farris were creating a banner that said “Don’t Hate, Donate!” Dennisa Divine, also in ninth grade, was working on a poster that displayed newspaper clippings and statistics about the disaster’s effects.

Eighth-grader Jennifer Hum-phrey said the devastation she saw on the news motivated her to suggest a fund-raising activity.

“I just wanted to be there,” Jennifer said. “It’s not always about you.”

The group’s plan combines educational and fund-raising efforts.

Girl’s Empowerment is working with the school’s science department. Teachers will devote class time in the coming week to discuss the causes and effects of tsunamis.

Dana Harris, a crisis counselor at Oakland and the group’s sponsor, said members will create handouts that will be given to students in science classes. These classes also have collection cans in which students can donate money.

During the coming week, the group will set up an information booth in the lunchroom.

“The girls have been researching on the Internet and in newspapers,” Harris said.

The group also is holding a city-wide raffle. Tickets will be sold during the Oakland Classic basketball tournament, which is Jan. 18-21.

Girls Empowerment plans to send the proceeds to UNICEF.

Harris said the effort has been beneficial to group members because it teaches them to relate to other people in need.

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