Don’t just get involved — make a difference

Margaret Thompson

Local non-profit groups help make Kent a better place

Many Kent State students today are working for peace, goodwill and global unity. They are making a difference through several on-campus non-profit organizations. This spring they invite you to join them.

TOMS Shoes

“It’s so easy … You’re buying a pair of shoes and helping someone,” said Heather Weber, president of Kent State’s TOMS Shoes chapter.

The concept behind TOMS Shoes is simple.

“You buy a pair of shoes and they donate a pair to children who need them … They are using the capitalist society to help others,” said Danniele Zucker, vice president of Kent State’s TOMS Shoes chapter.

The international organization has given away more than 400,000 pairs of shoes to children in need with their unique “One-for-One” concept since it began in 2006.

The Kent State chapter recently became a university-recognized group. They have showed the TOMS documentary in the Kiva and have held shirt-decorating parties. This semester they plan on participating in the national “One Day Without Shoes,” where members go barefoot for a day to create awareness about children without shoes.

The group meets at 9 p.m. Wednesdays in Room 318 of the Student Center. For more information on how to get involved, check out their Facebook page or e-mail [email protected].

Invisible Children

“I watched the documentary, and it hit me really hard” said Kristin Mulcahy, leader of Kent State’s Invisible Children chapter.

Invisible Children exposes the war in northern Uganda through a documentary film. The war between the Ugandan government and militant group the Lord’s Resistance Army has been going on for the past 23 years. Consequently, the children in the nation have never known peace.

The organization is working to rebuild schools in Uganda and provide the youth of the nation with the tools to succeed in life.

“The reason it is such a great organization is that it doesn’t ask for your money, it asks for you,” Mulcahy said.

Kent State’s chapter is in the process of becoming university-recognized. However, they are planning on playing the documentary in the spring and writing letters to Congress. They are also looking into sleeping on the streets to raise awareness of the problems in Uganda.

For more information check out the Kent State chapter of Invisible Children page on Facebook.

Amnesty International

“You are really doing something because you are part of an international organization … you can make a difference,” said Michelle Luscre, Kent State’s leader of Amnesty International.

“(Amnesty International) fights to uphold the universal declaration of human rights,” Michelle Luscre said. Luscre has been involved with the human rights organization since high school.

Amnesty International has more than 2.2 million members working to spread justice in a wide range of issues. The organization works to recognize human rights in more than 150 countries.

In the past, the university’s group has held “Jamnesties,” which are charity concerts to raise support for local non-profit organizations. Members also write “urgent actions” each week to international and national government agencies to express the members’ disapprovals of injustices.

The group will be holding an open mic night around Valentine’s Day to raise money for women’s rights.

For more information on how to get involved with Kent State’s chapter of Amnesty International, check out their Facebook page or email [email protected]

Relay for Life

“It’s a great way to come together for a better cause,” said Ayla Layman, event co-chair of Kent State’s Relay for Life chapter.

Relay for Life is a 24-hour walk against cancer. Participants are sponsored to walk in support of research, caregivers, survivors and those battling cancer. Many walk in memory of individuals lost to cancer.

In fifth grade, Layman lost her grandmother to cancer. “I know how I felt, and hopefully someone won’t have to go through the pain I did,” she said.

Layman and other participants hope to raise more than $80,000 this year for the American Cancer Society.

Kent State’s relay will kickoff on Feb. 2, and a benefit concert is planned for the end of March or early April. The walk is planned for April 24 and 25.

For more information on how to get involved and participate in this year’s relay, check out www.relayforlife.org/ksu.

For more information contact features correspondent Margaret Thompson at [email protected].