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by Kelly Ensslin

Our Student Advisory Council is taking shape. We have received over a dozen nominations, and welcome more! Many have also inquired about what precisely is required of student members, in order to determine their willingness or ability to join. Please know that we welcome all interested high school students, and that the work of the Student Advisory Council will largely be determined by the students themselves. We hope to screen STUCK at the participating high schools, and begin a dialog there about the orphan crisis. We also would love to send our students to orphanages to see exactly what it means to live without permanent familial care. We know that we need to reach the youth in order to solve this problem.

In our first step forward, Both Ends Burning is honored to announce that Eva McNabney will serve as the Chairperson of our Student Advisory Council. She has been an active volunteer with us over the last year, and her commitment to our mission is energizing and awe-inspiring. Eva is a is a seventeen year old Junior in high school at the Bryn Mawr School for Girls in Baltimore, Maryland. We asked Eva to share her reason for taking on this role with our membership, and this is what she had to say:

I’ve never considered the circumstances I was born into to be on any account of personal goodness. The life that I was born into and all the prosperities and advantages it has brought about were complete luck, plain and simple. I was one of the lucky ones, born into a family that wanted and loved me.

Just as my circumstances were brought about by luck, so many others were brought about by the absence of luck, a draw of the hand that went terribly wrong. I feel that on account of being one of the lucky ones, we have a responsibility to help those who were not so lucky, the people who were born into the most dire of circumstances, and having no say in their future. The specific populous that I hold the highest commitment to are the orphans, not necessarily because of any religious value or political alliance but simply because they embody the most innocent yet the most troubled of this wrongly drawn hand. They are subjected to low quality of life with little love or hope for any prosperous future before they have any idea of what these concepts mean. They are the voiceless as they lack the most vocal advocate in a person’s life, the parent.

I have been touched by these very kids from varying corners of the world and am continually reminded that they did nothing wrong, yet are suffering as if they had. There is no reason that this should happen in a world that has the means to take care of them. I have seen the good intentions and caring attitude that the lucky have towards the orphans. I saw it on a volunteer trip to Guatemala this summer when I was surrounded by college kids who willingly parted with the opportunity to sunbathe in Cancun to serve as a force of love for the indigenous and orphaned Mayan children of a rural orphanage, I saw it on my family’s trip to China to complete the adoption of my little sister 3 years ago when we were surrounded by people who wanted so desperately to fill the gap of the biggest needs of China’s orphaned kids, and I felt in last May in DC when I marched in unison with hundreds of Both Ends Burning members demanding a better life for the parentless kids of the world.

I believe that there is a big problem, but even more I believe that there is a big solution. I believe the solution lies within all of us, those who have orphans on our radar and speak out for them until we and they can no longer be ignored. I really hope that you will join me in doing this, I don’t see any reason why anyone should not.

Please join us in welcoming Eva McNabney to the Both Ends Burning team, and consider whether you too would like to join us! If you are a high school student that is interested in our Student Advisory Council, please let us know by sending an email to kelly@bothendsburning.org and be sure to include the following information:

1) your name;
2) your email address;
3) your city;
4) your high school;
5) your grade; and
6) your reason for joining our movement.

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