Local girl trying to do good

Some of the Lost Boys of Sudan; photo by Sarah Gordon; courtesy of the Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan
Some of the Lost Boys of Sudan; photo by Sarah Gordon; courtesy of the Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan

Through the wonder that is Face Book, I found out about Stephanie White, a UA student trying to raise money through getting us all to eat a bunch of frozen yogurt. The Frozen Yogurt % Night for Make Benefit Glorious School Children of Sudan is an offshoot of HELPSudan, an organization founded by some of the Lost Boys of Sudan now living in Chicago.

Tucson has its own contingent of Lost Boys, some of the nearly 30,000 young boys who were orphaned during the 20-year Sudanese Civil War that ended in 2005. I wrote a story about one of the local Lost Boys and his ongoing efforts to help his home country. You can read that him and learn how you might help here. (And I apologize that you have to read it in cache form with highlighted words, but Gannett Co., Inc. who owned the Tucson Citizen and now owns, has closed access to the online archives, even to reporters who worked there.)

But if you like frozen yogurt – and who, really, doesn’t like frozen yogurt? – you can help Sudan tomorrow by

Frozen Yogurt from a Penquins shop -- which is now ZWIRL on University Blvd. in Main Gate Square
Frozen Yogurt from a Penguins shop -- which is now ZWIRL on University Blvd. in Main Gate Square

participating in Stephanie’s night. All you need to do is head to ZWIRL, on University Blvd., next to Johnny Rockets from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday. You walk in and say, “I’m buying this yogurt for the Sudan benefit,” and whatever you buy, the ZWIRL folks will donate a 20 cents on the dollar to HELPSudan. (BTW, this shop used to be called Penguins, and my sources tell me the Penguins sign is still up, so if you can’t find a ZWIRL sign, not to worry. Just go into the only yogurt shop next to Johnny Rockets and you’ll be in the right place.

Naysayers might say of the 20 cents, “Hey, that’s kinda lame on the froyo people’s part,” but Stephanie details what that donationwill buy in her FB invite:

Perhaps you’ve realized that this event won’t make very much money. At this fundraiser night, 80 cents of your $4 yogurt will go to HELPSudan. So if 100 people show up, that’s only 80 dollars….
However, it is worth noting just how far our currency goes in a place as poor as Southern Sudan:

* $30 will buy supplies for one student for an entire year.
* $100 will provide clean water for 100 students for an entire year.
* $300 will buy books for one class in one grade-level
* $1000 will buy enough cement for an entire classroom.
* $5000 will buy a brick machine, which creates jobs and builds classrooms.

The goal of HELPSudan is to build permanent schools and get them outfitted for a generation that only knows war. In a Face Book message to me, Stephanie explained why she decided to encourage massive yogurt consumption on Friday:

We hear a lot of 30-second news reports about sad things that are going on around the globe, but instead of being continually shocked into complacency about suffering that is happening far from my home, I wanted to ask myself what I could do to help. I can’t help everyone, but maybe I can help someone. I see a lot of people around the University wearing shirts that say “Save Darfur” or “Peace in Africa by 2025” so I knew if I decided to fund-raise I could gain lots of support.

I chose HELPSudan because they have a very practical and clearly stated plan for the betterment of communities in Southern Sudan – providing basic resources such as digging wells for water and creating community through education. … Right now they are working on acquiring brick machines to build permanent schools instead of seasonal grass huts that get destroyed in the rainy season. That way they can look for teachers which the government can then hire, creating a more permanent school system and stable community.

To learn more about the effort, check out this video, or Stephanie’s flyer (or, if you prefer, flier) about the event, or sign up to attend on this Face Book page. And, then, get yourself over there tomorrow night. Yes, I mean you red star, tiponeill, leftfield, mopckoe, fortbuckley …. 🙂

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