Walnut Grove teens are determined to raise money to halt human trafficking.
By Matthew Claxton, Langley Advance March 1, 2012
The Value of Life group at Walnut Grove Secondary is raising money this weekend to fight human trafficking. Photograph by: Matthew Claxton, Langley Advance
The Value of Life team at Walnut Grove Secondary will raise money to end human trafficking, with the power of dance fitness.
On March 3, the teenaged students have organized a community fundraiser based around Zumba. From 10:30 a.m. to noon, anyone can come and pay $10 to take part in some dancing and learn about modern day slavery.
Funds raised will go to the International Justice Mission, said Anna Demian, who was one of the key organizers of the group of about 25 students, most in Grade 11.
The group was inspired in part by stories that Demian's sister told her about conditions for women and girls after a trip to Cambodia.
Another key factor was a speech to the school in February last year by Fort Langley's Tara Teng, Miss Canada 2011. Teng has been campaigning against human trafficking since before she was crowned, and she'll be a part of this weekend's event, speaking to attendees.
Earlier this year, the Value of Life group organized a letter-writing campaign calling for change, and it has met with Langley MP Mark Warawa. They called for those who buy sex to be penalized more harshly than those who sell it, an approach pioneered in the Nordic countries.
The Value of Life group were friends and classmates before they launched their campaign, but now they've taken on tasks and worked closely together for several months.
"It's been such a privilege to see how they've grown and become more aware and educated on the issue," said Demian.
The group works well together, with each person bringing their own skills to the projects.
The idea for the Zumba fundraiser came from member Karla Smith, whose mother teaches the dance fitness style.
The students are each trying to sell at least five tickets to their event individually, and anyone from the community is welcome to attend and buy a ticket.
This is the first time the group has organized a fundraiser, and the first time most of them have ever been involved in trying to pull an event like this together. While they have support from teachers, the effort and leadership is provided by the students themselves.
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