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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
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March 14, 2012     The New Era Paper
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March 14, 2012
 

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Page 12 VctJ .CMMIIIIITV ['e i"p "r,- March 14, 2012 XXXXXXXXXXxXXXXXXXXXXX SHHS students learn about kidnapped African kids By Sean C. Morgan Of The New Era Sweet Home High School stu- dents last week got a taste of what life looks like on the other side of the world as they viewed the video "Kony 2012," which was made to expose the activities of an African warlord. Northwest representatives of Invisible Children, the organiza- tioh that produced and distributed the video, gave a presentation on the topic of "Invisible Children" Thursday morning at the high school. Junior Kristen Peterson of the SHHS Amnesty International Club set up the event two weeks earlier while preparing for Red Hand Day. Several representatives of the Invisible Children, including a speaker from Uganda, appeared in conjunction with the 30-minute video, Peterson said. They and the video talked about Joseph Kony, what he's doing and done and what they could do to help. The Ugandan speaker had Several friends who have been kidnapped by Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army. Kony was at the top of the International Criminal Court's most- wanted list in 2005, and for some 26 years, he has been known for kidnapping or killing children. Girls are made into sex slaves, while boys are made to kill their own families and become soldiers. "I compare him to, Hitler," Pe terson said. "So in a sense, people didn't know what Hitler was do- ing." When the world discovered Hitler's aims, people wanted to stop him, she said. Likewise, with Kony, "now that we do know, we want to stop him." Kony has killed or kidnapped 30,000 children, Peterson said. Kony has operated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Uganda, South Sudan and Sudan. "Nobody knows who Kony is," Peterson said. "Once we get the word out and people know who he is, we can find him. I think him knowing so many people know who he is keeping up the pressure - he's going to get caught." Red Hand Day is focused on the child soldiers as well as other human rights issues. On Red Hand Day, Amnesty Internationa]t students stick their hands in red paint and put their prints on paper, Peterson said. Once the paint dries, it is sent with a letter to the state government, encouraging state lawmakers to do something. "Last year, we had a big as- sembly on human trafficking," Peterson said. "Human rights are the sole purpose of Amnesty Inter- national." Red Hand Day and the video Kony 2012 can make a differ- ence, according to junior Shelby Wymetalek, a member of the Am- nesty International Club. As long as the people aren't complacent, "one little town could make a difference," Wymetalek said. If an organization of 50 peo- ple can make a difference, a town of 80,000 could make a difference, a town like Eugene can make a difference. Wymetalek and Peterson will be among those who join Invis- ible Children on April 20 in cities around the world, putting up post- ers of Kony during the night. That night when everyone goes to sleep, they'll be up putting posters on walls all over campus- es, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. "People are going to know who Joseph Kony is," Peterson said. Peterson said response among Sweet Home students has been positive. "A lot of people you wouldn't expect had a lot to say about it," Wymetalek said. "I heard a bunch of kids talking about joining Am- nesty International." "There was a lot more support than I thought there would be," Peterson said. Last year, the students didn't care, Wymetalek said. It doesn't personally affect them, so they just didn't care. "At first when people came in, they were scoffing," Wymet- alek said of the assembly this year, but that changed as the video unfolded and the speakers talked about Kony. Students interested in join- ing Amnesty International should contact teacher Alain Brown or see Peterson or Wymetalek. !i!ii!!i!i!iii! !!@iii!i!!!iiiiiii0000i Photos by Sean C. Morgan SMART program gets show-off at B&G Club Above left, Devin Burr of Lebanon tells a secret to Hannah George, 9, of Sweet Home during a SMART pro- gram game for the 6- to 9-year-olds at a Boys and Girls Club open house held on March 1. Above, from left, Cassidy Thayer, Renee Adams, Cora McKee and Caylie Trewin play foosball during the open house. At left, Jeanetta Klahr, 11, shapes a piece of clay while Alaina King, 5, looks on in an art class. The club held the open house to introduce the public to its variety of programs, including the Skills, Mastery and Resistance Training program, or SMART Moves program. "We at the Boys and Girls Club firmly .believe that every child has something special to add to the community, and the SMART Moves program will help give them the strength and confidence they need to be healthy, make good decisions and positivelyimpact the world around them. It just gives the kids more tools in their tool belt of life to be successful as they get older. '" The SMART Moves program is held at the Boys and Girls Club on Thursday afternoons at 4 p.m. It features age- appropriate curriculum for children ages 6 to 15 in three age groups. Students from the Western University of Health Sciences are running the program this year. For more information about the club and its programs, call 367-6421.