Skyline students rake in change for Invisible Children

December 20, 2011

By Christopher Huber

The Mincin family collected tiles and turned them into custom-made coasters. They sold about 100 four-packs, raising about $1,200 during Skyline High School’s second annual Invisible Children Awareness Week. By Lauren Mincin

Lauren Mincin spent her morning Dec. 15 counting 3,000 pennies, demonstrating her dedication to a cause near and dear to her family’s heart.

The mother of two Skyline High School students, juniors Emily and Haley Mincin, counted even more than that $300, as the morning-drop-off collection and in-class change drive that happened earlier in the week brought in about $1,600 for Skyline’s second annual Invisible Children Awareness Week Dec. 12-16.

In all, the week of fundraising and spreading awareness earned approximately $5,200 for Invisible Children, the Mincins said. The 2010 efforts garnered about $4,600 for the cause.

“The energy from last year is how we were able to do it well this year,” Emily Mincin said after most of the tallying was done.

Part of the event’s increased success, Emily and Haley said, was because they partnered with their school’s Associated Student Body leaders to spread the word and get people more involved in supporting the cause of freeing child-soldiers in Uganda from the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Each day, students engaged in a different activity. From the “Change for Change” drive in first-period classes to the $1 tickets to the students-versus-staff soccer game, the leaders found a way to get people excited about the organization. In four days, the girls sold 160 Invisible Children T-shirts, adding $1,600 to the mix. But this year, the girls and their family made customized tile coasters. Ultimately, they sold about 100 four-packs for $12 each, many of which people bought to give to family and friends for Christmas, the girls said.

Emily said the project has taken off beyond what they expected last year, when they started the effort with their big sister, 2010 Skyline graduate Katie Mincin. Emily said she was pleasantly surprised to hear fellow students talking about the cause in passing.

“Students are talking about Invisible Children,” she said. “Yeah, we wanna raise money, but awareness first.”

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Support Invisible Children or learn more about its numerous programs at

Mason Gregory, a senior ASB leader, said he was most impressed with how much the school raised during first-period alone Dec. 13 — about $1,000. He and his fellow seniors have known about the plight of child soldiers for the past two years.

“I thought it went really successful,” Gregory said. “We’ve grown up with idea of it.”

In addition to the efforts in the classrooms, Skyline DECA promoted the cause and collected change at the varsity basketball games Dec. 16. While the DECA and ASB students did much of the legwork, they relied on staff support, too, in managing the money collection.

Lauren Mincin reflected on why the students go out of their way to give to a cause like Invisible Children.

“I think they get it,” she said.

Three young filmmakers formed the nonprofit organization Invisible Children Inc. after receiving an overwhelming response to their film, which documented the lives of night commuters and child soldiers in northern Uganda in 2003.

They formed the organization in 2005 to give concerned people an opportunity to help the situation, according to the group’s website.

Since then, the organization has partnered with schools and communities across the United States and Uganda to raise awareness about the people suffering from the conflict in Uganda, and raised money and donated books to help displaced children receive an education.

Invisible Children representatives travel the world to show the motivational films and talk to school audiences about the situation in Uganda and surrounding countries. They sponsor benefit concerts, as well.

Skyline hosted the traveling contingent, which included rescued child soldier Jacob Acaye, in spring 2010. Eastlake High School also has an active Invisible Children club, promoting the cause and raising money for programs like the Schools for Schools initiative.

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