Every school year, American students all across the country stock up on school supplies. It is taken for granted that they will have access to everything they need, from highlighters and pens to folders and notebooks.
But in countries like Afghanistan, which has been overwhelmed by war and poverty for years, students often cannot afford or find such basic items.
St. John’s ROTC program is aiming to provide these overseas students with school supply items to create a better learning environment.
In a joint effort with the Junior ROTC program at Francis Lewis High School, the ROTC cadets have set up a weekly drop-off for any unwanted school supplies. They are accepting all types of supplies, except for backpacks.
“We were actually contacted by the Francis Lewis Junior ROTC program, because they started it,” Lt. Colonel Alejandro Vargas said.
“We’re doing this just so the kids can have a better life.”The school supplies will be sent over to the children of Afghanistan who would otherwise don’t have the basic materials a student needs.
Every Tuesday during common hour, ROTC cadets and collection boxes will be stationed at various points throughout campus, such as Marillac, Montgoris and St. John Hall.
The drive will be continue until the end of the semester, and possibly into spring 2009.
According to Lt. Vargas, it is not clear how or when the supplies will be shipped to the students.
The main difficulty in getting the supplies where they are needed is the danger of the war zone. The ongoing war in Afghanistan calls for higher security restrictions and stricter guidelines.
However, this is not deterring the ROTC cadets from collecting as many supplies as possible.
Students are encouraged to donate any supplies they might not have used this semester. This way students do not have to throw out valuable items that someone else could benefit from.
The ROTC also hopes that by reaching out to the University, they will be able to bring attention to the difficulties and daily issues faced by the Afghani people.
“This is just our way of helping the community and supporting our troops,” Cadet Rodney Leach said. “We’re just doing our part as well.
Any student who wants to know more about the drive and the children of Afghanistan can visit the ROTC offices, located on the second floor of the Public Safety building.