May 10, 2021

my kids: spreading awareness and teaching me, how was I such a delinquent?

Lesson number one, Yemen isn't pronounced 'YAY, MAN.' I didn't really pronounce it that way, but my less than perfect pronunciation was corrected by my offspring. 

Ed and his good friend started a club in high school a few years ago - maybe when they were sophomores (2017?). They called it the Global Humanitarian Club (GHC)

The club description:  GHC is a student-run philanthropic organization at (our high school). Each year, members choose a cause and strategize ways they can raise awareness and financial support in the community. GHC has benefitted from its partnerships with other student organizations as well as from the guidance and collaboration of (our local) Rotary Club. This year's focus has been the Middle Eastern nation of Yemen. 

Tank and Mini are GHC co-presidents this year. 

Translation:  Tank berates Mini for not pulling her weight. Mini rolls her eyes to me behind his back while defending her honor. In case you were picturing us all holding hands and singing kumbaya at the dinner table. 

image compliments of vector stock

The group's focus is Yemen.

Reg is involved mainly because the group meets before school and he hops in the car when Tank and Mini drive to school and they make him attend. Tonight I heard Mini tell him that he needs to start to contribute through actual words at the meetings if he ever hopes to be on the board. It is a family thing. He's a freshman, he'll get there. Big shoes to fill. 

Literally, cuz you know Tank wears a size 15 shoe, right?

Anyway, tonight they hosted a presentation in the auditorium. Sadly, it wasn't well attended. Tank made himself nuts hanging flyers at area libraries and posting on websites, etc. I think most of the people who showed up were relatives of the kids in the group. Still, those of us there learned a lot. I'm impressed with the dedication these kids show to learning about a country with so many struggles and trying to spread awareness. 

They showed a short 26 minute documentary (link to the movie in case you are interested, there will NOT be a quiz later) about the issues in Yemen. It was devastating and eye-opening. I feel bad for taking for granted my ability to drink a clean glass of water. 2/3 of the people there are starving. TWO THIRDS!

One of the group members got up and read a poem after the documentary. She happens to be of middle eastern descent and was able to correctly pronounce the occasional foreign words in the poem. We were all given a copy of the poem and it was a beautiful way to wrap things up. Mini said afterwards that the girl's mother came over and thanked the kids for their efforts. Mini said the woman was so moved that she thought she might cry. 

A few juniors who only attended one meeting in the beginning of the year showed up tonight to feign involvement. The teacher failed to get the projector like he was supposed to, and Mini was flustered. She almost clocked a non-regular attendee who kept giggling at Mini as she raced around the building in search of a projector. Guessing these usual no-shows probably want to put GHC on their college application. In the fall Mini plans to make an announcement:  IF YOU AREN'T GOING TO COME REGULARLY DON'T JOIN THE CLUB. THIS ISN'T PING PONG CLUB OR ART CLUB. 

I've never posted a go-fund-me link, and please believe me when I say there is absolutely no pressure to donate. I know I have my charities that I contribute to, and I completely understand that everyone has their limits and that this year has been a financial strain for many. If you are interested in donating, click here for the link.  The link is active until the last day of school on May 21st.

In addition to feeling very fortunate, I'm proud that my kids are legitimately interested in learning about the horrifying circumstances that other people face and that they're trying to make a difference. 

Maybe I'm also feeling like a bit of a shmuck. In high school, I ditched the math club field trip to the board of trade downtown. Instead a few of my buddies and I kept right on going through the revolving door into the building. We goofed around in the city for hours. We checked out the flag demonstrators at the Art Institute (it was 1989 and someone made art but in order to view it you had to step on the flag, if memory serves) and we ate stuffed pizza at Gino's East. Not gonna lie, it felt a tad like Ferris Bueller's ditch day in Chicago. At the end of the day, we showed up to hop back on the bus. Um, our little stunt didn't go unnoticed. Trouble with a capitol T. 

(photo compliments of No joke, this is Ferris and friends at the Art Institute. When we were there the stairs were covered with protestors. Also, it was me and two guys. Tom and can't think of the other guy. He was a wrestler. It'll come to me.

Glad my kids are more devoted and focused than I was. I mean Tank's ski trip was a tad sneaky. 


Nicole said...

What a great way to be involved! That's so fantastic. I like that they are interested in humanitarian issues - even Reg :) Hey, getting a ride to school has lots of benefits! That's really awesome.

Kari said...

I learned how to pronounce Yemen on the show Friends.

How awesome that they are involved in stuff like this. I wasn't even aware that there WAS a Yemen when I was in high school. So this is pretty cool.

Also, I am very jealous of your Ferris Bueller high school adventure.

Ernie said...

Nicole - I agree. I think it's great that they are interested in humanitarian issues. It is also clear that siblings' influences are real. It makes me very happy to have older kids in the school to give Reg a little nudge towards this kind of club.

Ernie said...

Kari - I think I missed that Friends episode, but I can imagine it was entertaining. I'm with you - I was not very aware of the world around me. My Ferris Bueller adventure was so fun. Later that night I was going to see the Violent Femmes at the Argo Ballroom, so I delayed telling my folks that I was in hot water after that field trip stunt until after I attended the field trip. That didn't make my punishment any harsher, of course. Sometimes you just gotta act up.

Anonymous said...

This is incredible Ernie. You should be so proud of your kids. (as I'm sure you are!)

Ernie said...

Anonymous - Yes, I do think it's awesome that they are learning about other cultures with a particular focus on those in need. Thanks.

Suz said...

I'm with Kari, I learned how to say Yemen on Friends.

I had no idea the plight of the Yemen people was so horrible. Thanks for the links-I love to help wherever I can.

I can't believe you ditched a school program and had a day out. Oh wait, I did those things too. Look at us now!

Martha said...

You have to be so proud of them Ernie. You've obviously done a very good job. :)

Ernie said...

Suz - Who knew Friends was so informative?

I was never the kind of student who was on top of current events, so it's great that my kids are clueing me in on all of this. It is a disturbing story.

Look at us, indeed. My sisters are older than me and they NEVER did anything that wasn't totally approved and proper, so my folks were often shocked and appalled at my behavior. One of the best parts of being the black sheep - the shock value.

Ernie said...

Martha - Thanks. I do hope that I've instilled compassion in them, but so much of this is sparked by their own interests . . . and the fact that their older brother started the club and he made them promise to keep it going played a role in their involvement. the pressure is on, Reg.

Bibliomama said...

That IS really cool. Anything that reminds us to be aware of our privilege is a good thing, and the earlier we can learn that the better.
Our kids went to French immersion and they used to have all kinds of fun mocking my very-much-non-French-speaking husband's pronunciation while he was valiantly trying to help them with homework.

Ernie said...

Ali - Well said. When Ed ran the group his co-founder had a family friend who offered to be part of a discussion. He told his story. He was from Syria. It was VERY impactful. This year's group didn't have a speaker, which was a shame - but the documentary was eye-opening.

I attended a French immersion weekend in high school, probably very different from something offered in Canada. It was supposed to force us to only speak French, which I couldn't do. I knew the word merde and I tossed that nugget around like a pro . . . forgetting that the teachers could understand me. I cannot count myself as cultured, just goofy.

Beth Cotell said...

Your kids are so awesome! And it is so sad that 2/3 of the people in Yemen are starving. I will be happy to donate to the cause!

Ernie said...

Beth - Thanks, I appreciate that. My dad sort of alluded to the fact that the Yemen is struggling because of their ties to Iraq. I was like, YEAH, OK. BUT 2/3 OF THE PEOPLE ARE STARVING. NOT EVERYONE CAN CONTROL THE POLITICAL CLIMATE OF THEIR COUNTRY. *sigh.

Kara said...

Two of my kids are in crochet club, because it's just one of those things to put on a transcript. I think they've made a couple of potholders. My oldest will be President next year, because she will be the only Senior. They've told the youngest that she is also joining next year, because they'll all be in the same school.

Ernie said...

Kara - How fun! I feel bad because Mini wanted to learn to knit and I bought her the knitting needles and yarn but never followed through and got her in a class. Guessing she can pick it up eventually.

Charlie said...

This is great that your teens are involved in this. Teenagers are inherently selfish, so for them to put themselves out there for other (unknown) people is really fantastic. I’m sure you are extremely proud. Well done to them.

Pat Birnie said...

This is very impressive. You should be very proud of your kids. I love when teens take action like this. A great reflection of their parents!

Ernie said...

Charlie- Funny you mention selfish teenagers . . . we are regularly reminding Tank not to be selfish. He manages to put himself above the rest of the fam . . . particularly when it comes to driving to school and arriving when HE wants to arrive. Almost made Mini late for an AP exam this morning. Yet, he is still tuned into the rest of the world. We all have our moments I guess.

Ernie said...

Pat- Thanks. They are way more tuned in they I ever was. I am super proud of them. I love that our high school encourages the kids to start these clubs and offers them support with a faculty member. Their faculty leader is great and really stands back and lets the kids manage things. It's funny, most of their cousins attend Catholic school and I don't think any of them have taken this kind of initiative.