The Bexley Middle School service project focused on South Sudan has a new twist this year -- an advertising billboard at the eastern edge of Bexley, on East Main Street across from the U.S. Post Office.
Brian Bates, a Bexley Middle School parent who works for Clear Channel Outdoor, had the idea to donate the billboard that solicits funds to support the service project. According to school officials, Clear Channel has donated the use of the billboard, including the cost of the space, production and installation.
This is the third year of the project that introduces seventh-graders to issues in the South Sudan through readings and units about the "Lost Boys of Sudan," the plight of refugees and conditions in the developing world. The students read the young adult book, A Long Walk to Water, and created art projects to express their personal journeys.
Bol Aweng, one of the Lost Boys who settled in central Ohio and graduated from Ohio State University, works with the school as students organize efforts to raise funds for health clinics in South Sudan. Current events have lent urgency to the project as fighting broke out in late 2013 between the tribes Dinka and Nuer.
Students plan to hold a number of events to raise dollars for the project. They have set a goal of $6,000 to buy food to send to the village of Piol and to donate to the Duk Lost Boys clinic.
Some of the upcoming events include a Community Night, set for 7 p.m. Monday, May 19, in Bexley High School's Schottenstein Theater. Students will present a program about the "Lost Boys" and introduce Aweng to the community. A 3K Walk/run with Aweng, is planned for 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 21, at the BHS Stadium, 348 S. Cassingham Road.