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2008 JFM


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Teen Voice

SUAVE: Students United Against Violence Everywhere
Lower Merion student fundraiser to repair the world.

-- Lindsay Fusfeld

Six years ago, five Lower Merion High School students founded Students United Against Violence Everywhere (S.U.A.V.E.), with the hope of impacting the global community. Each year, S.U.A.V.E. selects a non-profit organization dedicated to ending violence and raises funds and awareness for it throughout the year. Some of these organizations have fought issues such as child soldiering, genital mutilation, and the dangers of landmines. Last year, S.U.A.V.E. raised more than $13,000 for Orphans of Rwanda, Inc, an organization that helps orphans of the 1994 genocide, as well as orphans of AIDS and malaria, receive higher education. The money from S.U.A.V.E. funded school tuition, HIV/AIDS tests and treatment in orphanages, and infrastructure in the orphanages.

Marla Ruzicka, the founder of CIVIC, who was killed by a suicide bomber in 2005.

This year, S.U.A.V.E. has chosen as its beneficiary the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC). CIVIC’s goal is to provide a voice for civilian victims of war by urging the parties responsible for their injuries and deaths to take action and assume responsibility. CIVIC was founded in 2003 by Marla Ruzicka, a young humanitarian from California. After spending time in Afghanistan for a project, she decided to stay there to help those who had been injured during Operation Enduring Freedom. She took her findings to Washington to show the government evidence of what was happening to civilians and to urge them to do something about the situation. After the statue of Saddam Hussein had fallen, she started a door-to-door survey in Iraq to find out who had been injured or killed. Unfortunately, Marla’s life was tragically cut short when she died in a suicide bomb attack in April 2005 at the age of 28; however, those who worked with Marla continued with CIVIC. A Washington-based organization, it works with the U.S. government to create legislation regarding rules for a new global standard for war conduct.

S.U.A.V.E.’s main fundraiser is an annual gala -- a night of food, live entertainment, and enlightening presentations. The sixth annual gala will be held at the Merion Tribute House (625 Hazelhurst Ave, Merion Station, PA 19066) on March 7 from 7:30 pm to 10 pm. Local businesses will provide delicious hors d’oeuvres and desserts, and coffee will also be served. Ace Harmony, Lower Merion High School’s A Cappella group, will be performing, and the Executive Director of CIVIC, Sarah Holewinski, will be the keynote speaker. In addition, State Representative Daylin Leach will be making a presentation. Child supervision and activities will be provided. Tickets cost $10 for students and $20 for adults, and can be purchased at the door. For more information, contact S.U.A.V.E. by email or at (610) 642-0267. Come to this great event on March 7 to enjoy great food, music, and speeches while aiding civilian victims of war.

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