Free the Children presents at NUHS

NEW ULM – Sixteen million people in America will go to bed hungry tonight; 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to clean water; 101 million children do not have access to education …

These facts and other stark, startling information were part of a presentation at the New Ulm High School by Free the Children, the group that recently organized WE Day in St. Paul.

The cycle of poverty affects people around the world, and we can feel guilty, or paralyzed, about it – or else we can choose not to give in to apathy and do something, however small, stressed presenter Maggie Aldrich.

Through very personal, moving stories, Aldrich detailed her group’s efforts to help free children around the world from poverty and exploitation and raise communities’ living standards.

Aldrich described a program called Adopt a Village, which works through interconnected projects such as: an effort to build 650 schools in communities in South America, Africa and rural China; providing clean water and sanitation to communities; improving health by disease prevention education and mobile hospitals; alternative income projects that provide markets and fair wages to people from poor communities; and promoting agriculture and food security. It is a holistic and sustainable development model, not charity, that helps people break their own cycle of poverty, said Aldrich.

She also described the second annual U.S. WE Day sponsored by the group. Held in St. Paul this year, the event drew some 18,000 students who met with global leaders, celebrity entertainers and peers, in a series of electrifying events. Youth earn tickets to WE Day by engaging in global and local projects.

Aldrich challenged students not to yield to apathy, but instead to make an impact: find a cause, tell anybody who would listen, choose one global and one local action project, take action on it, share it via social media and report impacts.

Aldrich later met with local Character Counts students to help them develop a global project.

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