by Dawn Stark
Last week I had the opportunity to share Both Ends Burning’s mission with over 700 students attending their organization’s annual conference in Lafayette, LA. It was an impactful experience to watch the reactions of young people as they learned the truth about children STUCK in paper chains that lock them away from permanent, loving families. Many of these students were either personally connected to adoption, had spent time serving in orphanages, or one day hoped to adopt children of their own. The questions these kids asked were similar to those adoptive parents and advocates have asked for years, “why is this happening?” and “what can we do to help?”
There is little doubt this next generation is profoundly aware of the social ills and current human rights abuses occurring around the world today. The majority of students at this conference displayed a giant red X on their hand indicating solidarity to end modern day slavery. For this audience of young people, it was simply a matter of connecting the dots between institutional life and the bleak future facing orphans when they age out of the system. Moving children into permanent family environments is one means to address the social crises of sex trafficking and slavery. After a meaningful conversation about the problem, hundreds of these passionate young adults eagerly signed up to become a voice for the growing Both Ends Burning movement.
This is just the beginning of our plan to reach out and engage youth as a part of our movement. In recognizing the influence today’s students hold in shaping future culture, we want to tap into their strength and voice for the cause of child permanency. Over the past few months our Student Advisory Council has formed and is planning to open chapters and share STUCK in high schools. Kelly Ensslin is actively reaching out to law schools to engage both professors and students in advocacy efforts to support Children in Families First (CHIFF). I am reaching out to faith-based campus groups to arrange showings of STUCK at universities. As of today, we have several university events scheduled in the US and Europe with many more in development.
With these new initiatives in mind, we are expanding our social media presence into Instagram! Please follow us @BEBCampaign. There are only a few photos from this first event posted now, but you can help us fill up this site with pictures from your house parties, campus events, activities supporting CHIFF, selfies in your Both Ends Burning t-shirts… anything showing your support of the growing UnStuck movement! Shout outs are appreciated and if you don’t know what these are ask your kids – and by the way, be sure to have them follow us too!
Trending hashtags include: #BothEndsBurning #BEB #UnSTUCK #MillionVoicesStrong #CHIFF