On a seemingly typical Wednesday, students from grades 6-12 filed into the cafeteria at Freedom Prep Academy in Provo, Utah, at lunchtime. At first, everything seemed normal, except for the red, white, and blue balloons. The students gathered around with excited chatter because they knew there was about to be a big announcement. All week, Freedom Prep students were engaged in a curiosity campaign to promote awareness for what was coming. And they were about to find out.
Student Body President Senior Sienna I. grabbed a microphone and announced a new anti-human trafficking club as a new chapter of the Students Against Slavery and Abuse initiative, with the first meeting on Monday, September 23rd. Four members of the Brigham Young University student-athlete service program and O.U.R. representatives were there to talk to students. Next, the athletes and O.U.R. representatives mingled and encouraged students to join the club.
Lucie S., a vice president and new club member, talked about how Freedom Prep is the perfect place for this club, saying,
“There is an interesting culture at this school, it’s so small. It is easier to notice signs here.”
Sienna chose the idea of a curiosity campaign saying, “We’re trying to make this different. Only the dean of students and principal knew. We are trying to drive this as a parent and student effort.”
She first became interested in the cause because of the Florida shooting, saying, “My family was talking about how walkouts are not the best way to make a difference. I learned about O.U.R.’s student organization and worked on putting it together. I want to protect the kids at our school as well as around the world.” Sienna says she is passionate about the cause because,
“I want the students to feel safe wherever they go. I want people to feel like they’re participating and helping so they can help other kids too. I want to have everyone in the school trained and aware so they know the signs and if they see something they would be able to find help.”
O.U.R. employee Hayden Paul told the students about how O.U.R. rescued 240 children trafficked just in Utah, saying, “They are our children.” Brandon, a BYU track athlete, said students really wanted to get involved after hearing this, and quoted a younger student, who said, “We’re going to go and rescue kids?” He said, “Everything you do helps to rescue children.” Brandon said, “All the kids seemed really interested in the club and willing to help. It’s cool that a student is leading the charge; a lot of times programs are led by adults.”
Freedom Prep Academy students and their families are excited to join the new club and help raise curiosity for the cause. They know that small beginnings and efforts can spread like a wildfire and impact many for good. Do you know of a school that would like to start an anti-human trafficking club too? Get started here.