Randolph Middle School students have duct-taped teachers to walls, collected money at carpools and sold “Any1Can” bracelets by the hundreds this year.
They want to make it possible for every student in the school to participate in an art project to build a school in south Sudan. Their efforts have brought in almost $13,000, the most of any of the 16 schools participating in Mothering Across Continents’ Any1Can project.
Students across the Charlotte area already have raised more than $25,000 in the first week of the Any1Can campaign.
What’s more impressive, though, is the number of students who are involved this year and engaged in learning about the issues, said Elizabeth Peacock, MAC education program manager.
“I think what we are seeing is a true service learning endeavor,” Peacock said. “There are a number of students who have taken this beyond just buying something or attending a dance. They are thinking about how they can make their mark on the world.”
In mid-March, hundreds of Randolph Middle School students fanned out across the school lawn, each with a white T-shirt and a paintbrush.
Painting a T-shirt cost $10 per student, and proceeds go to Any1Can.
“It’s been more successful than we ever planned,” said Sarah Hunt, a seventh-grade teacher and member of the Any1Can steering committee at Randolph Middle.
This is the second year that Mothering Across Continents, a coalition of women dedicated to changing people’s lives around the world, has led a student fundraising effort for south Sudan. In 2012, the project raised about $40,000 for a school that is now operating in a rural village.
This year, MAC leaders renamed the project Any1Can and added an art element they say is key to students making a personal connection.
“We really wanted to capture the desire of the students to express what they’ve learned about global issues and that anyone can make a difference when you work together collectively,” said Patricia Shafer, MAC founder and executive director.
Students across Charlotte have studied seven global issues as part of a curriculum provided by MAC: end poverty, stop hunger, provide clean water, stand up for peace, promote education, be green and teach tolerance.
Each painted T-shirt reflected one of those issues, and designs include handprints, globes and hearts. T-shirts painted at all participating schools will be part of an art installation in April during the Sensoria literature and arts festival at Central Piedmont Community College.
Raven Cupid, 13, is one of 25 student “global ambassadors” at Randolph Middle who are taking a lead with the Any1Can project.
“I thought if I could help someone outside my main area, I could change the world one bit at a time,” she said.
Randolph Middle School Global Ambassador Zeke Metsner, 13, said he was eager to help people in another country who have less than people in Charlotte, and he has seen a lot of interest from his fellow students.
“Everyone has really wanted to help try to build a school,” he said.
Shafer said building a school in a village in Sudan could be a catalyst for other structures that help the community. One villager who lives near the school built in 2012 said it was the first permanent structure in the village’s history.
“A school really is an anchor,” she said. “If you can put in a truly model school, the community can rally around that. Then you start to think about a health clinic, and agricultural opportunities and hygiene opportunities.”