Building Bridges at the College

Zabrina Dunning rocking the stage at the Building Bridges event (Photo by Angelica Pizza)

This past Friday, the College’s Multicultural Student Programs and Services and the Office of Institutional Diversity teamed up with a growing non-profit organization called Save More Kids to host an event called Building Bridges at the Halsey Institute. Save More Kids just begun their partnership with the College of Charleston’s Office of Institutional Diversity.

Upon entering the gallery, live music by Zandrina Dunning filled the space. The warm smell of hors d’oeuvre wafted through the air in the crowded gallery. At both ends of the hall, a welcome table was set up with colorful post-its and Sharpie pens for visitors to write down their hopes for the future and then stick the notes on a “vision board” for everyone to see. Scattered along the board, people expressed wishes for a future where people of all races, genders and sexual orientations are treated equally.

Throughout the two hour event, students, faculty and various representatives of charitable organizations discussed volunteer opportunities and other ways to show support for multicultural groups both on and off-campus. A particularly interesting table was set up with pieces of unique jewelry for sale. All of the jewelry was handmade in west Africa, where Save More Kids is specifically involved in charity work.

Save More Kids selling jewelry to benefit girls in Liberia. (Photo by Angelica Pizza)

The man at the table, called Q, explained his personal experience living in Liberia during its devastating civil war, and his subsequent very lucky escape. Inspired by his brave mother, Q decided to dedicate his life to helping the children, young girls in particular, of Liberia and other west African countries. Q found a need for adolescent girls in Liberia who are unable to get access to feminine products and are not educated on the ways their bodies change as they mature. He and his wife created Save More Kids as a way to get volunteers to Liberia and act as teachers for these girls. Q even made an appearance on stage to continue his promotion and hopefully inspire the youth at the college to participate in life-changing, eye-opening volunteer opportunities in an underdeveloped country.

Rochelle Johnson and Lynda Keller of the College’s Multicultural Student Programs and Services department attended the event to promote their Safe Zone Training program in support of the LGBT+ community and the 2017 Charleston Pride festival. The department is looking for people to sign up for training workshops to grow their list of allies. They have upcoming sessions throughout October and November of this year.

The evening finished powerfully with live poetry from CofC Alumnus Matt Foley. Foley organizes poetry slams and lessons for young, emerging poets. His passionate words had the audience silent as they reveled in his spoken-word poetry.

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