Saturday, December 20, 2008

Army LT Seth Varayon Inspires Coat Drive

video is from DODvClips
Students Send Coats to Kids in Afghanistan
posted 4:08 pm Thu December 18, 2008 - McLean, Va. from ABC 7 News
In the spirit of the holiday season, students from a Fairfax County High School are giving gifts to children all the way in Afghanistan.
Students who participate in the Student Government Association at Langley High School in McLean are taking what they have learned about leadership and helping others through their work at school by sending coats to children in Afghanistan.
For the students who participate in SGA, community service is a regular activity. But for Senior Carolyn Shaw, this particular project was personal.
"My uncle was over there last year," Shaw said.
Shaw and the rest of her SGA classmates held a drive to send winter coats to children in Afghanistan.
"It felt really good to see the pictures and the kids wearing the clothes, and all your hard-work being put into that," said Shaw.
The idea for the coat drive came from a 2003 Langley High School graduate, Army Lieutenant Seth Varayon who is stationed in the mountains of Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division. He says he chose coats to give to the children, because there's no electricity in the village surrounding his post and winters can be rough.
"...We thought [it] was really selfless, so we just jumped at the chance to help them out, especially with something helping out the people over there, not just the troops," said student, Caroline Engle.
And tucked inside the sleeve of those coats was a note with warm winter wishes from the students here in the U.S.
Shaw's leadership class does similar projects every year. Last year, for example, students sent soccer balls to Iraq. Soldiers gave the balls out to neighborhood kids, which they said, led to more success on their mission.
"Because they were so appreciative of receiving the balls, they started turning in bomb storage, bomb makers, ambushes and things like that," said Matthew Howard, a teacher.
It is unclear how may coats the students were able to send overseas, but they do know that the 86 boxes full of coats were enough to provide winter warmth to all of the kids in the surrounding village, and even some adults.
Students are also conducting a canned food drive. In fact, there is a contest between Langley High School and their rival, McLean High School to see who can collect the most canned goods.

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