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Students Take a Stand at Advocacy Summit
Julia Angkeow '18 Staff Writer
May 25, 2016
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From April 10-12, Virginia Murphy ’17, Ethan Thayumanavan ’17, Nailah Barnes ’18, Lily Louis ’18, Melia Summers ’18, and Kishor Bharadwaj ’19 attended the Save the Children Advocacy Summit in Washington D.C. The six students were accompanied by Director of Global Studies, Mr. David Miller.

Save the Children is a world-renowned non-profit organization that has helped hundreds of millions of children globally by advocating for their rights and providing them with food, healthcare, and education.

Deerfield students and Mr. Miller with U.S. Congressman McGovern outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.

Deerfield students and Mr. Miller with U.S. Congressman McGovern outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.

The Advocacy Summit, which occurs anually, serves to educate students about current issues and inspire them to take action. This year, students learned about early childhood education and its impact on children and families. Barnes said, “Kids who receive a high quality early education earn 50% higher income, are 50% less likely to be arrested, are 20% more likely to graduate from high school, and are 28% less likely to develop drug and alcohol problems.”

When explaining her interest in attending the summit this year, Louis said, “I wanted to learn more about what we can do and what organizations are already doing to help [children].”

“The first two days of the summit involved learning about policy and advocacy,” Thayumanavan added. “We heard from many inspiring and interesting people involved in Washington, including Gayle Smith, the administrator of USAID.”

At the summit, students learned from and spoke with experts in politics and social justics issues. They also had the opportunity to advocate for children’s rights and early childhood education at Capitol Hill. There they met with Congressman Jim McGovern, who represents the 2nd congressional district of Massachusetts. Louis found the experience to be “an eye opener,” saying, “It helped us learn how important our voices can be.”

This fall, as Save the Children ambassadors, the six students hope to continue immersing themselves in the cause and further engaging the community by bringing local advocacy events to Deerfield. For example, they plan to broadcast debates and lead discussions surrounding the U.S. presidential election on campus.

Mr. Miller said, “Learning about advocacy with our students and being able to take an active role is not only intriguing but also gratifying.”

“Working with Save the Children is truly a wonderful experience,” Murphy said. “It is important to recognize that even we can make a difference, and it’s not that hard.”