'Beyond hunger' exposes educational drought in Latin America

Jason Powell's Honors 189 class is taking steps to help the approximately 40 million children in Latin America who drop out of school to work in the streets.

The students in his class took the initiative and planned Beyond Hunger: The Starving Minds of Central America, an event where people could come out to listen to music and student speakers.

Kayla Pickersgill is in Powell's class and was in charge of public relations for the event. She recruited Student Government Association, the Latino Student Union and Residence Hall Association as sponsors for the event.

"We learned about the situation in Latin America in the class and were all passionate about doing something about it," she said. "We thought this would be a great way to spread the message."

Pickersgill and her classmates began planning the event after Spring Break and recruited bands and speakers from the class.

Sophomore Brandon Buller and his band, The White River Vagabonds, performed various cover songs for the event.

"I was really inspired to take action," Buller said. "It was a way to use a gift I was given to attract people to a need much larger than me. As a human being, I have a duty to help."

The speakers focused on the impoverished people of Latin America and the lack of education given to children.

Buller said he didn't think people dug deep enough into social justice issues and he hoped people took away something from the event.

"People need to know that making a difference is easier than they think," he said. "They just need the desire to do something."

Powell said he was very pleased with the way the event turned out.

"This is the first time I've taught this class and I'm proud my students took the initiative," he said. "I wasn't sure what to expect, but the fact that this many people responded is very humbling and mind-blowing."


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