'Abducted' Greenbrier students bring attention to Uganda

special to the log cabin
Published Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Greenbrier After being abducted at Greenbrier High school at 4 p.m. Saturday, about 70 kids, teachers and parents marched the half mile to Greenbrier Junior High School in hopes of being rescued by the media and politicians who would take up their cause.

They were not disappointed. Neither were the adults who gathered to rescue the kids and give them support.

After their long march along highways 225 and 65, single file, holding a rope, they all watched documentaries showing the plight of the Uganda invisible children who have been forced to become child soldiers in a 20 year war in Uganda, Africa.

They gathered on a hillside outside the Junior High school to write letters, paint art-work, decorate balloons to launch at dusk, and generally join in a common bond to help save these youngsters in Africa who have no voice.

Sen. Gilbert Baker appeared to save the kids at 7 p.m. amidst loud cheers, along with a Log Cabin representative. It was important for a media representative and politicians to "save" the kids because, worldwide, this same scene was re-enacted as a symbolic reminder of the plight of the lost children in Africa. They are not only hoping to save the over 3,000 young African kidnapped children, but to send them and their families a message that someone cares.

Baker told the kids, "We were put on this planet to do something for others. Don't stop here in Greenbrier. You can make an incredible difference in this world, as you've shown tonight. It's not about how comfortable you can be. I appreciate your sacrifice this Saturday and applaud you."

The principal of Greenbrier Junior High School, Aime Dyson, congratulated the teens "who chose to make a difference."

Other kids began to spontaneously step to the front to speak. Kids who were admittedly very shy and would never think of standing before a classroom to speak let alone tell their true feelings began to step up and speak. Over half the kids there had something to say about how moved they were to have been a part of something beyond themselves something outside of their lives in Greenbrier. Many started to cry before they finished while their audience urged them on and comforted them. Many adults also teared up and were moved by the whole experience and amazed at the wisdom that came from the children's lips.

Some of the comments from the kids were, "Nothing is impossible. We can go out and make a difference in this world."

"I wasn't excited about this trip, but came anyway. I decided to suffer the month wearing the same decorated T-shirt and walk the mile; but now me, you, and everyone will make a difference."

"I'm completely amazed at kids carrying guns. It's horrible. I just wanted to help, even in a small way, give hope to these kids and show them we're here to stand up and help them."

The art teacher, Stephanie Corder, who helped them decorate their red "Xs" on their T-shirts to wear the whole month of April spoke up, "You are the future. Your voices matter. Even though you're young, you can do big things, now, and even more as you grow up. I'm so proud of you and you should be very proud of yourselves."

Young Aimy Fulton said, "We are so lucky because we're here and can realize how great our lives are. Those kids don't have a choice. They're either dead or have to shoot someone else."

Young Phoebe Blum said, "I always thought there was nothing to do in this little Greenbrier just land and cows. Now I realize I have the American dream. It blows my mind. We live in this wonderful, safe world and can make someone on the other side of the world know we care."

Young Mikala Dixon said, "Hate is such a waste of time. You're so hooked up on what you will do right now that you don't realize there are moms worried about their daughters and sons coming home. Everybody here tonight is getting along. It's so unusual for everyone here being selfless, not selfish and getting along together. It's great to see that happening."

Young Colton Hamm said, "When I saw my principal break down and cry, I cried too. I love everybody here for what they are doing. If one person can make a difference in the world, what can 50 kids do? Write a letter."

Young Alexis LaPlant spoke up and said she lived near New Orleans and went through Katrina. "It was horrible to need a sign that said, If you loot, we shoot! I'd rather be shot than forced to kill someone. We're all friends here from different cliques around the school and gathered together for a cause. We've all set aside our differences tonight."

The evening wrapped up with the flying of the balloons. Then the kids all grabbed the rope and trekked back in the dark the half mile to Greenbrier High School. Some wise and profound speeches came from the hearts of many of the children. Everyone came away from the event a changed and more aware person. They raised awareness of the plight of these invisible children and the atrocities in Northern Uganda and the Congo region, known to be the most violent place in the world.

More than that, they raised their own awareness that one person can make a difference.

You may view more about the lost children and make donations online at www.invisiblechildren.com.

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