73°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston Free The Children chapter is dedicated to supporting children in poverty

Thanksgiving is the time of the year when families gather together and give thanks for having one another in their lives. It is also the time of the year that makes many realize how blessed they are to have family, food, and a roof over their head. However, there are other ways to come to that realization than hearing yourself say grace aloud at Thanksgiving dinner.

It was Saturday morning when 12 year old Craig Keilburger was flipping through the Toronto Star and came across the story of Iqbal Masih. Masih from South Asia was Keilburger’s age at the time and was sold into a carpet-weaving factory by his family. Knowing that children his age are being sold into slavery, Keilburger desperately wanted to help. He was so inspired that he decided to take a trip to India. There he came across children who had to sort out used syringes for a living — risking their lives and their health. The young Canadian boy came to realize that the situation was much worse than what he’d read about and saw on television. Dedication to the cause, hard work, and the aid of adults assisted Craig Keilburger in creating an organization, which he named Free The Children.

This happened 19 years ago. Today there are several chapters of Free The Children in universities and schools all over Canada and the United States.

Like other chapters of FTC, UMass Boston Free The Children is dedicated to raising awareness and funds to support the organization in freeing children from poverty, illiteracy, and other obstacles that stand in their way of achieving full potential as “agents of change”. At UMass Boston, FTC raised around $800 from the annual rummage sale, donated clothing to the children of Afghanistan to help them survive through the rough winter, and made a large contribution of medical supplies and a well to Kenya. In addition to the fundraising events, the club has also hosted several events to raise awareness. There was a photography contest, in which the UMass Boston community was welcomed to participate in a funny picture contest  after being informed about Free The Children’s purpose. Also, nothing attracts college students better than free food, so last year the group organized an event where it gave away free pizza and sweets in exchange for being educated on issues of Sierra Leone.

The founder of the UMass  Boston Free The Children chapter, Melissa Godrey, found out about the organization through one of her professors. The same class taught her about poverty and child slavery and inspired her to take actions against these atrocities. Her professor informed her about several organizations but Free The Children stood out to Godfrey due to it being founded by a 12 year old boy and because FTC spends 90% of its donations directly on the cause, as opposed to other organizations from which it can be as low as 10%.

This year right before the Thanksgiving, the UMass Boston chapter will host their annual rummage sale. The members collected clothes from their family members, friends, classmates, and acquaintances to gather as much as possible for the sale. The group takes this particular event very seriously because it is their biggest fundraiser. The remaining clothes will be donated to shelters around Boston. The sale will be on the first floor of the Campus Center Nov. 24 -26 8am-3pm.