Race Against Hunger 2009 Opens Students' Eyes to Global Hunger

Mindy Lee, ACF Student Outreach Intern, details her experience educating NYC students on global hunger

East Side School, New York, NY

My name is Mindy Lee and I’ve been working on the preliminary stages of the 2009 Race Against Hunger for the past several months as Action Against Hunger’s Student Outreach Intern. I had done everything from reaching out to schools, to creating and editing learning materials for the Race when it finally came time for me to make my first educational presentation to a class of 8th grade students at the East Side School in New York City.

I stepped into the classroom, unaware of what I was getting myself into. As I looked around the class, I saw 35 students who seemed happy to be getting out of their regular class for the day but somewhat uninterested in my presence. I wanted to make the presentation as interactive and interesting as I could, so I just jumped into an open discussion about global hunger.

To my surprise, my fears of their lack of interest disappeared after I posed my first question, when the students were eagerly shouting out answers. I was astonished by their enthusiasm and willingness to participate and even more by their poignant questions.

During the screening of a short film about Action Against Hunger and our work, I could actually hear the gasps from the students as they saw the images of a severely malnourished child on the screen. When asked about how they felt after seeing the film, students explained that they were “shocked” and felt “ungrateful”. One student even expressed that the film had “struck his sensitive chord.” The students could not believe that there are children in the world without enough food to eat or water to drink while they were comfortably sitting in a heated classroom.

At the end of the presentation, the kids seemed excited to be a part of the solution to global hunger. Needless to say, the presentation was great success and I’m sure the students’ involvement in the Race will change their outlook on life for years to come.