standing on hope's shoulders

Much could be said of this generation. As a teacher, I hear a lot of judgments and assumptions about what teenagers are thinking and what makes them tick... but all they need is purpose.

Which is a huge part of me being the sponsor for Club ICU at my school. We've supported Invisible Children for four years. And while we are technically a "club" from the beginning we have believed that to be a misnomer. Justice has no elite membership. While our focus is n. Uganda, we understand social justice spans far wider than a tiny speck on the globe. Issues surface in our own backyard. Earthquakes bend the ground and waves crash against shaken poles. We never wanted to be the group who focused so much on one area we ignored all the rest.

So, when the earthquake hit Haiti, my students immediately began to question what we could do to help. We realized we had about 350 dollars in cash from fundraising the previous semester and it was just sitting in our cabinet - waiting for the next round of Schools for Schools. The students began to wonder - why wait? Why not give what we have now - all of it. So they did. And it wasn't very hard for them to decide to send it to Real Hope for Haiti and Heartline. I had been telling them stories from the Livesay blog and RHFH and they wanted to help. They had faces, names and situations. The perfect storm in giving.

Here's what they said:

After seeing the pain and suffering brought forth by the recent earthquake, giving to Real Hope for Haiti and Heartline was an easy decision. We as Americans are so privileged in every day life. Our ability to not only give but give generously to those in need is incredible.  It breaks my heart to see the Haitian people in this chaotic time, especially now that I'm a new aunt. The preciousness of a child is so much more personal to me, the well-being of a Haitian child is just as important as any other. Anything that is needed to help the people of Haiti should be done.

- Alex Leininger, 12th grader

A shockwave can be more than physical. It can be emotionally devastating, just like an earthquake destroys physical things. I remember hearing about the earthquake. My heart breaking I fell on to the couch, mouth agape as I watched the devastation and death. I wanted to help. Thankfully, our ICU Club came across Real Hope for Haiti. Not long after hearing about them I heard about Amos Ivey, Aaron Ivey's son. He is still in Haiti. What broke my heart even more, what really opened my eyes to the devastation the quake had on the kids was when Amos asked Aaron, "papa you comin'?" So many of the children in Haiti are orphans now. They have nothing and need everything. Real Hope for Haiti gives them the most important and valuable thing: Hope. Hope for a new life, hope for love. My heart goes out to all those who have experienced loss. I pray God's love and grace floods your life. Job lost all he had. He suffered great loss, just like those in Haiti, but in the end was blessed greatly. I am incredibly glad to be helping in some way. I am hoping and praying these kids have a brighter tomorrow. "I have told you these things that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

- Dane Kemp, 12th grader

**Note: Amos is actually on American soil. Dane wrote this just a few hours before Aaron and Jamie Ivey found out Amos was on his way to Florida. When I texted Dane to let him know, he replied: "Powerful emotions Aaron must be feeling. Only a daddy could feel that way. Papa found a way. Both did. Amos should be happy."

Much could be said of this generation. But I know what's true: this generation is not relying on standing on the shoulders of those who came before them. They understand change is not only desired, it's a necessity. They realize that in order to make a difference, they are going to have to blaze new trails and give generously. Risk will be involved. Adventure is a priority. Most believe this generation would rather sit in front of Mtv and daydream about starring in a reality show, but I know that most of these kids are discontent with the amount of excess they see in society and entertainment. Call it simple living, call it revolutionary thinking...call it what you will.

I know it's just them standing on hope's shoulders, her justice flag waving in the breeze. They will not be content with living normal lives. Not these guys. You watch. It's addicting, this whole "changing the world" thing. Once you get hope in your veins, you can't get her out.

Posted on January 22, 2010 .