It’s normal to see groups of tourists flooding Washington in the summer months. Dozens of student groups come to tour historical monuments and learn about U.S. history and government. This year, one group came to make a difference. Thirty-five students, teachers, and parents – winners of this year’s annual Dollars for Darfur National School Challenge […]

It’s normal to see groups of tourists flooding Washington in the summer months. Dozens of student groups come to tour historical monuments and learn about U.S. history and government.

This year, one group came to make a difference. Thirty-five students, teachers, and parents – winners of this year’s annual Dollars for Darfur National School Challenge – came to Washington on an all-expense-paid trip to lobby their elected officials.

The students, who ranged in age from 11 to 18 years old, won their trip for their outstanding efforts raising money, building awareness, and advocating for the people of Darfur. The winning schools were chosen from more than 440 participating schools for their fundraising success, student leadership, advocacy efforts, community outreach, and creativity.

The Lobby Day trip is designed to enable young activists to become effective voices for the people of Darfur. It gives students the opportunity to hone their skills and participate directly in our government.

At a reception in their honor in the Capitol Building, they had a chance to share their experiences and ideas with each other and members of Congress. The next day, they attended workshops with staff members from the Save Darfur Coalition, Oxfam America and the International Rescue Committee to help prepare for face-to-face meetings with Congressional representatives about Darfur.

The trip culminated in a student-led demonstration in front of the White House. Oval office in sight, the students exercised their First Amendment right to raise an issue, and the experience energized the group as the young activists caught attention from passersby.

In the coming school year, these students, teachers and parents – along with thousands of other students across the country – will renew their efforts for the people of Darfur.

Want to participate in next year’s Dollars for Darfur campaign? Visit www.savedarfur.org/dollarsfordarfur.

Photos of the Lobby Day can be viewed here.

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