Concern U.S. Welcomes Boston Latin School Students

Staff at Concern Worldwide U.S. were privileged with a visit from some incredible students from the Boston Latin School earlier this month!

On their annual trip to New York, students in the Human Rights Class at the Boston Latin School had the opportunity to visit and learn about different international and domestic organizations related to human rights, including Concern.

The group came to Concern in hopes of learning more about humanitarian aid and development, specifically in regards to Concern’s work and programs.

image(2)

Concern U.S. Director of Public Engagement, Sylvia Wong, leads a discussion with students about humanitarian aid.

Each of the students–many of which were recent graduates–were passionate about human rights and curious about humanitarian work. All of the students have internships at domestic non-profits or human rights activist groups.

The workshop was led by our Director of Public Engagement, Sylvia Wong. Sylvia opened the session by asking students to list what they thought “aid worker” meant, what countries they have visited, what languages they speak, and what special skills they have that makes them unique in order to build a collective resume.

The students were then able to interact with Concern U.S. staff from the programming, communications, and fundraising departments. Each staff member described their role in Concern, their journeys to their chosen career field, and answered questions from students.

image(3)

Concern U.S. Program Officer, Michelle Dann presents the humanitarian principles and the humanitarian imperative to students.

The students came up with complex, thought-provoking questions for each staff member. One student asked: “How do you make sure that your programs are helping rather than harming the communities they are aiding?”

This question turned into an active discussion about the Humanitarian Imperative and the humanitarian principles that guide many NGOs, including Concern, and stress that action in disaster situations should be taken to alleviate human suffering and that nothing can override that imperative.

The students also directed great questions to our communications department representative, Kristin Myers, about how to tell people’s stories in a respectful, dignified manner. “You need to remember that you are just a platform for them to tell their story,” Myers answered, “You may need to fill in the blanks for the audience or add background information, but you are not changing their story.”

By meeting and speaking with staff from different departments, the students were able to create a better, more complex definition of an “aid worker” at the end of the workshop. “Today I learned that aid workers do more than just giving out food and medical supplies,” one student concluded, “they work with communities who are in need so that they can be[come] able to sustain themselves.”

Concern Worldwide U.S. thoroughly enjoyed hosting the BLS Human Rights students and their teachers. We wish the graduated students luck in their future endeavors and look forward to seeing the Human Rights class again next year!

image(5)image(6)image(4)

 

 

Katie Talley is a summer intern at Concern U.S. Worldwide.