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Vickery students help Haitians through Humanitarian Club
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Forsyth County News
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Vickery Creek Middle School is collecting supplies to ship to Haiti. For more information, contact (770) 667-2580 or visit www.hiphaiti.com.
Knowing was half the battle for a group of Vickery Creek Middle School seventh-graders.

It just took a short presentation for them to realize how much they could help an impoverished village on the northern coast of Haiti.

“I had no idea people were going through this every day,” said Sydney Bauer. “... To see how little they have, it was like I never knew people lived like that.”

Bauer is one of nearly 30 seventh-graders who joined the school’s first-ever Humanitarian Club, started by Spanish teacher Edvique Kerr Shaver.

The group’s main project this year is HIPHaiti, or Humanitarians Initiating Progress in Haiti.

Shaver’s friend, Anne Reynolds, created the nonprofit organization in 2001 to bring a school and medical services to Coco Beach, a Haitian village with no electricity, potable water, clinics or cars.

In addition to working to help its residents become self-supporting, the organization also collects food and other daily necessities.

Since January, Vickery students have collected more than 700 pounds of rice, 200 pounds of beans, 350 pairs of shoes, five bicycles and a few boxes of school supplies.

The goal, said student Samantha Lane, is to fill a large container that will be shipped to Haiti in December.

“I think I’m making a very big impact on their lives because these people are eating mud,” she said. “We really need to show them that there’s people out there to help.

“It makes me feel great because I just feel better about myself because I’ve helped someone besides myself.”

Lane said she learned about the Humanitarian Club through a friend, who told her about the struggling Haitian village.

Maddy Garcia also said she was inspired to help after seeing how little the village had. She’s worked to collect shoes, baby bottles, toys and medical supplies.

“It really touched me and I wanted to make a difference in their lives,” she said. “I was surprised by how many helped.”

Shaver, a first-year teacher at Vickery Creek Middle, said she was blown away the students enthusiasm.

“It’s amazing how they responded,” she said. “They wanted a club, so we started a club and here we are.

“All my classes have responded, even kids that are not in the club,” she said. “They have touched my heart with helping.”

HIPHaiti is not the Humanitarian Club’s only project, Shaver said.

Students have donated books to Piedmont Learning Center’s library and collected nine gallons of soda tops for the Ronald McDonald House.

For Mother’s Day, they visited residents at a local nursing home. The group is also planning a Habitat for Humanity project for the summer.

“Charity starts at home. We can’t send it all out,” she said. “It starts with keeping a classroom clean and being prideful of what we have here and not taking other things for granted.

“This is an affluent county and it’s amazing to see [these students] now ... because they were not aware these things were going on in the world.”

E-mail Jennifer Sami at jennifersami@forsythnews.com.