VP Activities, CHSSA
Taking on Hunger
With State seaon rapidly approaching , we have a lot we could talk about: deadlines, tournament schedule changes, rule interpretations, and every other piece of valuable tournament minutiae is totally necessary, but also makes your eyes completely glaze over 15 seconds in. But instead, today I would like to take this space to briefly talk about a new program that is very close to my heart and that will be offered for the first time at State 2019.
Food insecurity is a serious problem that impacts many in the forensics community. In California, 1 in 5 students will go to bed hungry tonight. This insecurity becomes even more pronounced for students who are traveling away from home to attend tournaments, often with few – or no – resources to feed themselves throughout the weekend. Hungry kids are stressed and less focused, putting them in a bad place physically/emotionally and at a disadvantage at our competitions. We have to do better about serving this vulnerable population.
For these reasons, we are implementing a new program at State this year where food insecure students will have an opportunity to have their meals completely covered by CHSSA and our generous donors. Here’s how it works: a student or coach needs to fill out our Google Form (Click Here) indicating the need for assistance. At registration Friday morning, I will make sure that each student has an envelope of vouchers placed in their team’s registration packet, which they can then use at our food trucks throughout the weekend. Because we don’t want any kids to be singled out for their need, we will also be giving out food truck vouchers to students who complete the games in the program or who go above and beyond in service to the tournament over the weekend.
Finally, I’d like to highlight the young woman who inspired this new CHSSA policy: NSDA National Student of the Year Elena Cecil from Larue County High School in Kentucky. Over the years, I have had the privilege of serving on the National Speech and Debate Association National Student of the Year selection panel. While serving on this panel is always a truly inspiring highlight of Nationals for me, Elena’s advocacy regarding food insecurity (and how it impacts forenscis students) truly challenged me – and us – to do better. As Elena said, “I believe my reason, my obligation, is to do what I can do to help other people while I’m here.”
In honor of Elena and the countless other kids who are fighting to make our little corner of the world a better place, I ask that you join me in this service. Call on tournaments to offer programs to help food insecure or economically marginalized students, work to create programs that equalize inequality, and – if you’re able – donate today to help pay for a student who can’t.
Find out more information about this program by clicking here.
Sign up for vouchers by clicking here.