Earlier this spring, Jack Reynolds (above, far right), a seventh grader at Stevens Cooperative School in New Jersey, was researching for a project about religious discrimination in the Middle East. During his search, he discovered an article about AMAR’s work in Iraq – and he was inspired to act.
“I came across an article about the important work that [AMAR] does in Iraq and the Middle East to help people in need and to spread the message of tolerance. I really admired the work that AMAR does and I wanted to see if I could help.”
Jack got to work and reached out to the AMAR team in Washington, DC to see what he could do to support communities in Iraq. While emailing with the team, he learned that in Iraq today, over 1 million children are displaced from their homes. That’s equivalent to half the children in Jack’s state of New Jersey having to flee with only the possessions that they can carry.
Jack and his classmates were eager to lend a hand to support kids – not so different from themselves – halfway around the world. The students put their heads together and decided to help raise support for one of AMAR’s newest initiatives called RHYTHM Iraq: Restoring Hope to Youth Through Music in Iraq. This project will provide keyboards and digital music lessons to children living in displacement camps in Northern Iraq.
After a few weeks of planning, the Stevens Cooperative School classmates got together and – on a Friday afternoon in Jersey City – raised a total of $300 for AMAR. The funding will be used to help distribute three new keyboards and digital music lessons for the RHYTHM Iraq project later this summer.
Jack’s mom, Audrey Reynolds, helped to supervise the fundraising event.
“I monitored the bake sale from afar and I have to say it was great to see the kids’ enthusiasm for the cause,” Audrey said. “They did a great job and felt very empowered doing it.”
Jack and his classmates recognized that even though they were a small group of students, they could make a big impact.
“We are not a big school, but I like to think we can do big things” Jack said. “I am really proud of the way my classmates came together to help children in need in Iraq.”
In Iraq today, over 1 million children are displaced from their homes and almost half are out of school. Thanks to Jack, his classmates, and other generous AMAR donors, the RHYTHM Iraq project will provide many of these kids with a creative outlet and an opportunity to heal.
We at AMAR are incredibly proud of and grateful for the support Jack and his classmates. If you’re inspired by their story, visit the Campaign Page to donate to the RHYTHM Iraq project or start your own fundraiser.
Visit the Stevens Cooperative School website to learn about Jack’s school.