By Maggie Gehlsen
What if you had to live every day without clean water, being separated from your family and enduring some of the worst conditions possible? This was one of the questions asked to kick off the Youth Outreach to Africa breakout held at the Diocesan High School Youth Rally in October.
The breakout consisted of informing others about two main organizations: charity:water and Save Darfur.
Charity:water was started in 2006, has a main initiative of providing clean water for people in Africa and is based in New York. Save Darfur is an organization that raises funds to help families who have been affected by the Darfur genocide. Nate Howard from Muscatine and me led the breakout.
Another question asked toward the beginning of this breakout was: what are YOU thankful for? Most teens and adults who attended said they were most thankful for their freedom. Coincidentally, this was just the answer that helped us to further our explanation of how people in Africa and surrounding regions have to fight for theirs.
Throughout the breakout, ideas were given on how others can become involved, which is actually very easy. Most of this information can be found on the websites of these organizations (www.charitywater.org or www.savedarfur.org).
Also included in the breakout was information about the conditions many innocent people have to endure in order to get by in their daily lives. The main goal of this particular breakout was for other teens to be influenced BY teens to get involved, and to be exceptionally grateful for everything we are blessed with. So often, many of us take everything we have for granted.
Get your youth groups at your local parishes involved with these great organizations, and help others in need! Most importantly, remember that every little bit helps!
(Maggie Gehlsen is a member of St. Joseph Parish in DeWitt and DYMC.)