Global Citizens Corps

Ashland High School students participating in the campus-based Global Citizens Corps are serious about raising awareness and funds for projects that fight poverty. Their motto is "Think global, act local."

Members, who include honors and Advanced Placement students, athletes and musicians, and other 9th- through 12th-graders, have stood in the quad and clapped every 4 seconds to demonstrate how frequently someone in the world dies from hunger or hunger-related causes.

The 50 students meet weekly to plan for the many events they organize or participate in throughout the year.

GCC members hold an annual food drive for the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. Last year, they set the district record for gathering more than 1,200 food items. The club also has a team running in May 18's American Cancer Society Relay for Life team.

They may also have a booth for Earth Day, April 20, at ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum and later, a War/Dance benefit for an organization that assists refugee children in Uganda.

Before last week's meeting, adviser and Spanish teacher Barbie Hobein said, "This meeting is a big one for them to discuss upcoming events and to celebrate things that have been completed."

Senior Erin Keoppen has been the club's co-president for two years. When she was an underclassman, the group organized a Reverse Trick-or-Treat, in which they handed out samples of vegan-friendly, Fair Trade Chocolate. They also hosted a fundraiser to aid the refugee nonprofit group, Eyes to Burma, founded by former Ashland resident Fred Stockwell.

During the two years under Erin's leadership, committees have been created within the club to focus on food security, water, climate change, human rights, education, public health, and peace and conflict. Funds have also been given to groups centered on issues of global health, gender equality and animals. Last year's Global Cat Christmas dance raised money for the Jackson County Humane Society.

On Valentine's Day, the group sold roses to support Giving Grizz, a new emergency fund for AHS students. "Currently, two students are under cancer treatment, so the money went to them," says Erin.

This year, they held Cancer Awareness Day, where members Amy Takeda and Kim Corey directed others members in making 1,200 ribbons for AHS students to wear in recognition of the disease and its impact.

The group has hosted monthly documentary screenings in the school library for a few years. Last year, Erin invited Liberty in North Korea, an organization dedicated to changing North Korean human rights and humanitarian crises, to campus through a screening of its documentary "The People's Crisis."

Lila Schreiber founded the Ashland High branch of GCC in 2006 and it soon became one of the most popular clubs on campus. Notable past members include graduates Nayeon Kim, Annika Hearn, Sadie Shelton and Isis Terrall.

"Members give our club a lot of extra time because they believe deeply in creating positive change in the world," says Erin. "It's a stimulating and happy group."

To Erin, the highlight of participating in GCC is simple and powerful: "There's nothing more important and special than when community members recognize our projects by attending events, spreading the word about our causes and donating to those causes."

Reach reporter Janet Eastman at 541-776-4465 or

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