By Jessica Mullins/Around&About Editor
At the beginning of each school year, students purchase school supplies to assist them in their daily learning. On the other side of the world, many students have never owned such schools supplies that we so often take for granted. However, the entire Richmond community can see that such students get the supplies they need, as an effort called Operation Iraqi Children will soon be on the campus of Eastern.
Operation Iraqi Children is a national effort inspired by stories told by soldiers and other citizens who visited Iraqi schools and saw that not only were their facilities deteriorating but not equipped with the utensils for students to learn.
Since that time, Americans have been gathering school supply kits and making a difference in the lives of Iraqi children.
Last spring, Trina Day, a junior psychology and criminal justice major from Lexington, was surfing on the Internet for charities when she came across Operation Iraqi Children. It soon became something she was very passionate about. Thus, she decided that it was something she wanted to see done on campus.
Day did not have an easy start in getting an operation started, but she persisted until she got the support and resources she needed to make Operation Iraqi Children a campus and community event.
The Eastern operation, sponsored by Army ROTC, Gamma Beta Phi, Lamda Alpha Eplisolon, Alpha Phi Sigma and the Office of Volunteerism, encourages students, student groups, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to gather the following supplies in a backpack or zipper seal plastic bag: one pair of blunt-end scissors, one 12-inch ruler with metric markings, 12 new pencils with erasers, one small pencil sharpener, one large eraser, one box of colored pencils, one package of notebook paper, one composition book, three folders with inside pockets and one zippered pencil bag.
It is extremely important that no additional items are enclosed. However, along with the kit, donors are encouraged to enclose letters and photos to the students and/or soldiers delivering the packages. Donors may also include self-addressed return envelopes, in order to communicate with the young students who actually receive their donations.
Amber Jones, coordinator of volunteerism, is very excited about Operation Iraqi Children being on Eastern’s campus.
“This is a really unique opportunity to engage students in because they can personalize this. It really makes a connection and you see where it’s going,” Jones said.
Donation kits will be accepted Sept. 7 through Nov. 30 and can be dropped off only at the Office of Volunteerism in the Student Affairs Office, on the fifth floor of the Student Services Building.
Eastern’s extended campuses will also take part in the operation.
Day is very excited that the operation will soon be underway and encourages everyone to become involved.
“Children didn’t ask to be born and they didn’t ask to be put in the position that they are in. This has nothing to do with whether you agree with why we should be there (in Iraq) or not. The fact is we are there and this is giving those children a heads up to know that not everybody hates,” Day said.
The Office of Volunteerism requests that with the kit of schools supplies, donors include $2 for shipping charges from here to Kansas City, where the packages will then be shipped free of charge to Iraq.
For more information on Operation Iraqi Children, visit their Web site at www.operationiraqichildren.org, or contact the Office of Volunteerism at 622-2052.
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