From an email I sent to TFA alumni. If you have any interest in this, or know people who might, PLEASE circulate!
“I don’t think it’s fair that other kids get to go talk about politics with people their own age and get involved with their community, but I can’t just because I don’t have the money.” So says K., one of six students who are part of the Benjamin Franklin High School Debate club in Philadelphia, PA.
K. recently represented Bangladesh at a regional Model UN conference and he is keen to repeat the process as a Georgian senator in the US Congress…circumstances, however, may prevent this from happening.
Led by an ’09 CM in the Mid-Atlantic region (that’s me!), the 6 members of BFHS Debate club seeks to attend a Model Congress conference April 14-17 that will make them simulate real life Congressional processes as senators and representatives. To attend the conference, which is held at the Hyatt Regency hotel on Rutgers University’s New Brunswick, NJ campus, each child would need approximately $250 that they just do not have. Budget cuts and elimination of many programs in schools city-wide has made any in-school donations impossible as well. And so, despite weekly preparation and a renewed interest in their civic duties as a result of research, kids like K. resign themselves to opportunities unseen.
With sponsorship, however, these students would get to realize their potential amidst more financially-privileged peers. The average conference attendee is a child of a middle class to upper class home in usually affluent districts. But in order to simulate domestic and world politics, shouldn’t participants reflect that world order? To that end, BFHS is seeking anyone who would be interested to donate funds towards individual or club sponsorship so that a low-income club populated (in their words) with ” socioeconomic and racial minority students” can show everyone that THEIR voices deserve to be heard, too.
If you would like further information about the conference, please contact Ruchi Gupta, club advisor, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://idia.net/rmc.aspx. Donations can be sent c/o Ruchi Gupta, Benjamin Franklin High School, 550 N. Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19130. Money orders made out to Benjamin Franklin High School.