Imagine waking up to the unfamiliar sound of rapid gunfire. Imagine bombs raining down on your town and people who you love falling with each shot.

Imagine waking up to the unfamiliar sound of rapid gunfire. Imagine bombs raining down on your town and people who you love falling with each shot.

Then think about having no choice but to flee, running until you can't run anymore. Walking miles and miles, for weeks and weeks, living off only what you can manage to scrape up. Even in the safest places, such as refugee camps, there is starvation and disaster.

This was life for Bol Aweng when he was a young child. Known as one of the "lost boys" -- children and young men who fled fighting during the civil war in Sudan -- Aweng was eventually evacuated to the United States, where he settled in Columbus and graduated from Ohio State University. Aweng now has his own family and a dream of helping his South Sudanese village become a safe and stable environment for the friends and family he left behind.

We at Bexley Middle School are working to help Aweng accomplish his goal by hosting fundraising events to aid the families in Piol, South Sudan. So far, we have raised roughly $1,100 toward our goal of $6,000.

In the coming weeks, we will hold a 3K Walk/Run May 19 at the Bexley High School stadium, sell Snow Cones after school on Fridays in May, conduct auctions in our classrooms and much more.

Not only does this project help the people of South Sudan find their way, it helps us students become young adults -- as we care for others outside of our community. Bexley Middle School's Beth Jax, who teaches about the conflict in South Sudan as part of our social studies unit on Africa, told us that, even five years after the project started, her former students still care about Aweng and want to give. "Every year I am so impressed by the generosity of my students and their sincere desire to help the people of South Sudan," she said.

Even so, none of our fundraisers can work the way we expect them to without the involvement of our community.

Please participate in one of our activities or donate to South Sudan through Bexley Middle School: send a check made out to "Bexley Middle School for South Sudan" to 300 S. Cassingham Road, Bexley, OH 43209. Whether it's $5 or $500, every donation makes a difference.

Schools notebook is provided to ThisWeek Bexley News by the Bexley City School District. Alex Imwalle and Phoebe Snowdon are Bexley Middle School seventh-graders.