Campus and Community / Student News

ELI Students Raise Money for Anti-Human Trafficking 5K

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The English Language Institute (ELI) at University of Houston-Downtown raised $2,900 for the Free the Captives Freedom Fest & Houston Human Trafficking 5K.

ELI students, staff and faculty have spent the last month collecting money for Free the Captives, a non-profit organization that fights human trafficking in Houston. The organization also helps victims restore their lives and find employment.

Six UHD student leaders organized several fundraising activities on campus including a bake sale, an art sale, salsa lessons, a jewelry sale, a photo booth and a raffle. Additionally, staff and faculty members of the ELI were asked to request $25 from four friends or family members.

Participation in this community engagement activity empowered students as learners, members of society, decision makers and representatives.

“Even though many of our ELI students aren’t comfortable speaking English, it was pleasing to see them embrace this project with such an eagerness to help teen victims of sex trafficking, “said Marquette Dansby, ELI coordinator. “One of the greatest gifts educators can give is the gift of empowerment… their ideas and their voices matter.”

First, they chose student leaders. Then, students worked together to come up with fundraising ideas, collected money to purchase items up for sale and donated some items to the raffle. Students then studied human trafficking statistics and practiced their sales pitches in class. Next, handmade jewelry, art, signs, and handouts were made. Lastly, students set up booths and raised money and awareness.

On April 22, 24 students, faculty and staff members participated in the 5K and successfully competed as a top fundraising team.

Raffle winners will be notified by email.