Mother Seton Students Learn About Africa’s “Invisible Children”

From left to right: Carlos Adan, representing Invisible Children; Sister Jacquelyn Balasia, assistant principal at Mother Seton; Elissa O’Dell and Tim Fleming, representing Invisible Children; Mother Seton students Marian Asuncion, Emily Lubas, Patricia Climaco and Alum Brenda, representing Invisible Children. (Photo courtesy of Mother Seton Regional High School)

CLARK — Students at Mother Seton Regional High School in Clark recently attended an assembly about the Invisible Children of Central Africa. Through story telling and documentaries, four young adults (including one from northern Uganda) shared about the war-affected children and how they are abducted and forced to kill or be killed as child soldiers.

Zina Sockwell, a junior from Newark, commented that the assembly was eye-opening, that it “put individual faces to mass tragedy.”

Emily Lubas, a senior from Linden, said “Seeing the Invisible Children video and meeting the speakers has made the issue of child abduction in Africa more personal to me and inspires me to get more involved in helping these innocent inhabitants of Africa.”

Marian Asuncion, a senior from Metuchen, observed “It shows the horrible realities of things that we think only exist in fiction.”

Vanessa Sanchez, a senior from Elizabeth, shared “The Invisible Children seminar inspired me. It also gave me the realization that I can change the world. I may be one person out of billions of people but I now know I have the potential to make a difference. We all have what it takes to bring change, safety and peace to the people of targeted countries in Africa. While I watched the film with tear-filled eyes, I felt it changing not only myself but my perspective on life. It showcased the fact that the United States has it so much easier than other war-stricken countries, like those in Africa and many of us take that for granted. We should all use our God-given blessings to help those in need. The heart-wrenching seminar gave me the courage to change myself and the way I viewed life. Life isn’t fair or easy for anyone but just a little dedication to an amazing cause like Invisible Children can truly make a difference to millions of people who need our help.”

Another senior, Justine Enriquez, said “The Invisible Children assembly was definitely not any ordinary assembly. I think I speak for almost all the girls when I say I got very emotional and that the things were we exposed to in just one hour made me want to create a difference in the world.”

Patricia Climaco, the senior from Union who brought this cause to life at Mother Seton, said, “At the end of the program, I looked around the room and saw all the emotional faces and reactions of the students and faculty. It took many emails and phone calls with the IC tri-state representative, Elissa, to bring them to Mother Seton. But all the energy was worth it because everyone at Mother Seton was finally shown what’s been happening in Africa for 26 years. And I am so happy that many are taking initiative right away. As I walk through thee hallways, just a day after the assembly, I hear talks of fundraising ideas and spreading more awareness about IC and it puts a smile on my face knowing that I played a part in their motivation and sudden passion in the cause. Bringing Invisible Children to Mother Seton was just my first step to help end the war in the Africa, but it will definitely not be my last.”

With the support Invisible Children receives from their tours and young supporters, they are able to implement cutting edge programs on the ground in Uganda, Congo, Sudan, and the Central African Republic. They focus on long-term development, working directly with individuals and institutions, to best understand the needs of these war-effected areas.

They help child soldiers escape, return them to their families, rehabilitate and educate them. They rebuild schools devastated by war. They provide scholarships to specifically chosen secondary students and some full ride scholarships to the University. They employ mentors who holistically oversee healthy development for their students.

They have also implemented micro-economic initiatives that are impacting Ugandans in transition from internally displaced camps to their original homes as well as formerly abducted child mothers who are now self-sufficient through their tailoring center that provides training in savings, investment, numeracy, literacy and health. These savings-and-loans initiatives have allowed villagers to save money and earn interest for the first time, freeing them to start their own businesses and provide for their families like never before.

The problems of central Africa need to be tackled comprehensively, from peace to education. Solving them is no easy task, and it will take many people doing all that they can to ensure it. To learn more, visit They are currently booking assemblies for the spring of 2012.

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