“For 24,” is a year-long campaign telling the story of Freedom 4/24—from the survivors, world-changers, and volunteers to fundraisers, and behind-the-sceners. Our goal is to inform, inspire, and enrich your understanding of Freedom 4/24 and the work we do together.
“Teaming up with Freedom 4/24 allowed us to support a local organization, learn more about this local and global epidemic, and become inspired by one young woman’s dream to make a difference.”
#8. MEET JENNY ANDERSON
Director of Global Studies; Chair of the World Language Department at Virginia Episcopal School (VES), Lynchburg, VA
This spring, Jenny and the student body at VES held a Global Symposium focused on human trafficking and supporting the work of Freedom 4/24. Watch the video below for a quick look at how Freedom 4/24 played a leading role, then read on as Jenny explains in her own words how it inspired students and faculty alike to make a difference at any age.
Jenny, the student body at VES recently raised $1,000 for Freedom 4/24. How did you become connected to us?
This entire endeavor was only possible through student interest. VES Junior, Emma Smiley is passionate about the issue of human trafficking. She came to me asking if there was something we could do to bring about awareness to the VES community. I wanted to choose a local grassroots organization that has high impact and is sustainable. Freedom 4/24 was the logical choice as I had heard about its far-reaching influence, the Run 4 Their Lives events, and the fact that it was borne from a student and her compassion and drive to make a difference.
How did you lead and inspire your students to give back?
On April 11, the VES community held its first Global Symposium with the focus on Modern Day Slavery [see video above]. Our goal was to shed light on the estimated 27 million slaves in the world today and to help students become aware of the horrors of human trafficking while understanding that there are ways that they can help to alleviate it.
Students spent time throughout the week learning about the injustice that millions endure as they face forced labor, sexual exploitation, violence, and oppression. The curriculum that we put into place effectively engaged students in these difficult topics and asked them to systematically learn, then act, then reflect in very intentional ways. The content of these units explored many sensitive topics, such as prostitution, gender-based violence, child soldiers, and slavery. Although the topics weighed heavy on our hearts, we believe that it is important to expand the four walls of our classrooms, empathize, and begin to understand the difficult reality of many people all around the world, including many right here in Virginia.
How did the student body go about raising money for Freedom 4/24?
We had a t-shirt drive and a day where students could buy eggs and water balloons to aim at the administration. Needless to say, the students had a lot of fun while knowing that their money was going to a great cause.
What about Freedom 4/24 and the work to fight human trafficking resonates with you?
The work to fight human trafficking resonates with me because it is an astonishing fact that there exists in the world today more slaves than at any other point in our history. If we are even a bit appalled by our country’s association with slavery of the past, then it is impossible to ignore the immense injustice that continues today.
The work of Freedom 4/24 most resonates with me because it is 1) a local organization; 2) very little overhead; and 3) Freedom 4/24 was started by a young woman who wanted to make a difference. She is an inspiration to all of our students to know that, at any age, they can do something to help alleviate injustice.
What was the outcome of the Symposium on your students?
Our final exercise of the afternoon was to sit together and reflect upon what we learned and why we should care. It was emotional to see the number of hands go in the air, the voices that spoke up, and the students that were changed as a result. We were able to visibly see how VES students were able to learn, become aware, envision solutions, and put their voices to action in a very thoughtful and intentional manner.
It was even more powerful because this awareness campaign originated from one of our own students, again demonstrating how the power and passion of one can have a ripple effect on others. One voice can make a difference, but to encourage an entire group of youth to become aware and learn how to make a difference was even more powerful. Most importantly, in the end, my students inspired me.