The junior English classes at San Dimas High recently faced the conundrum of feeling detached from history as they studied Civil War-era spirituals. Teacher Dave Milbrandt brought in a youth choir recording of “Go Down, Moses” for the students to hear as they learned about slavery. “And one of the students said, ‘Why are they (the singers) so emotional? Slavery doesn’t exist today’ and that led to a conversation” about human trafficking, Milbrandt said. “They were surprised to hear that slavery still existed and they were interested in doing something to help. They were stunned to think about how it had an impact in the modern world. ”
Milbrandt connected the students with TraffickFree Pomona, a faith-based organization that aims to raise awareness and combat human trafficking in the Inland Valley. The group’s efforts include holding free quarterly film screenings and accepting donations for Freedom Bags, which are special backpacks filled with clothes and toiletries for teen girls.
The English classes were joined by the campus Christian Club and several teachers to bring in donated shampoo, clothes, journals and stuffed animals to fill backpacks, and the students wrote notes to the backpacks’ future recipients. “I just thought, if it were me in this situation, what it would mean to get a gift from someone,” said Kim Spriggs, 17, the vice president of the Christian Club. “A lot of us wrote cards with Bible verses in it to try and share God’s love with them in any way that we could, even though we don’t get to go talk to them. ”
Learn more at Melissa Masatani’s San Gabriel Tribune article: San Dimas students learn about modern-day slavery, human trafficking.