Downers Grove South High School, led by its Social Studies Department, raised over $10,000 for 15 refugee families worldwide selected by Humanwire, a registered non-profit that provides direct connections and contributions to refugees.
Humanwire lists vetted refugees, including individuals and families, from all over the world and adds their profiles and stories to its website to await sponsorship. All money raised goes directly to the refugees selected, meeting their specific needs whether it be through food, shelter, clothing, etc. Each social studies class selected specific refugees; click here to see the DGS Humanwire website. Donations will be accepted through the summer.
“This was part of a greater unit of study that included teaching our students about social responsibility, empathy, and issues affecting people around the world today,” says teacher Greg Maloney, who co-organized the effort. “We chose this organization because we appreciated this ‘human’ element, and felt our students would benefit most by getting to see and hear how their efforts are directly impacting specific families.”
“What makes this organization unique is that sponsors and donors have the opportunity to connect with the families via email and Skype,” adds Robyn Fardy, teacher and co-organizer. “In my class, we engaged with our refugee family during a live Skype chat, facilitated through a translator, and our students were incredibly compassionate in response to hearing the plight of the family.”
In addition to the school, DGS students worked with local organizations, including the Downers Grove Retail Council, the Downers Grove Junior Women’s League, Chipotle in Downers Grove, to raise awareness and contributions.
DGS freshman Jack Meyer recalls the Skype call, when the class connected with a refugee widow and her two children: “I feel this is a good morale booster, I feel really good doing this, knowing that I can help the future of many young people.”
For more information about Humanwire, please visit www.humanwire.org.