Local college collects clothing for Haitian orphans

By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Writer

Jefferson State Community College recognized Freedom Week from Sept. 29 to Oct. 6. Students built displays, attended seminars and donated clothing for children in Haiti.

History, literature and art classes at JSCC all participated in creating a series of educational displays on what freedom means to different groups throughout history and in the present day.

“We have an instructor at our Shelby campus who is very passionate and involved with the cause of [ending] human trafficking,” said Ashley Kitchens, the associate dean at JSCC. “Every year she puts together a freedom week.”

Kitchens said there were seminars on each Jeff State campus. This week, the Clanton campus had Katie Bergman from the Set Free Movement and Pastor Mark Wadley, who works with an orphanage in Haiti, come speak to the students about human trafficking and efforts to save children from this threat.

To involve the students more and drive the point home, classes came together to create the educational displays.

Students created displays and artwork to express what freedom means.(Photo by Steven Calhoun)

Students created displays and artwork to express what freedom means.(Photo by Steven Calhoun)

“We thought ‘what better way to get students into the information and make something … for other people to look at than to do a project,’” said Kitchens.

The displays were not just about human trafficking; there were many interpretations on display of what freedom means. Some chose to portray mental illness as a form of bondage, while others explored freedom through examining the women’s suffrage movement.

The expressions of freedom in the past fueled students to do something in the present. The students put their knowledge into action by participating in a drive to collect socks and underwear for children at an orphanage in Grand Goave, Haiti.

The Hands and Feet Project runs the orphanage, and in light of recent events, the donations could not have come at a better time.

Kitchens said the organization would use their donations to provide socks and underwear to the 33 children in its Grand Goave home for a long time. Students collected items so these orphans could be freed from the lack of basic necessities.

To learn more about the cause, go to handsandfeetproject.org. The project is currently accepting donations for a Hurricane Matthew relief fund.

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