Students paint T-shirts to benefit Sudan school

  • Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013 12:31 a.m.
    UPDATED: Thursday, March 21, 2013 4:12 p.m.

SALISBURY — This weekend, local students are inviting their community to paint T-shirts to raise global awareness and help build a school in South Sudan.

Salisbury High School will host an Any1Can Painting Party on Saturday at 2 p.m. Students and community members who attend will learn about seven global issues and choose one that they find particularly meaningful.

Each person then will receive a white T-shirt to hand-paint with personal expressions of interest and concern. Admission is $10.

Tickets to the painting party can be purchased online through or the members of the Salisbury High School Heritage Club. Sean Hunter, the club advisor, also can provide tickets at the high school.

Members of the Heritage Club have begun selling pre-printed Any1Can T-shirts to students, parents and the community as a fundraiser.

The school hopes to raise $10,000 through donations and community support, T-shirt sales and attendance at the painting party. Proceeds are designated for school building and clean water through the “Raising South Sudan” project of Charlotte-based nonprofit Mothering Across Continents.

“Students love T-shirts, and they love using T-shirts to communicate powerful messages,” said Patricia Shafer, a representative with Any1Can and Mothering Across Continents. “We said, ‘Wow, what if different students created different T-shirts with different messages, and we could leverage the power of the shirts collectively?’”

Salisbury High is one of 16 schools acting as leaders in the Any1Can Project, a collective effort to communicate that anyone can make a difference in the world.

The Heritage Club will oversee the project in Salisbury, building on the international service efforts of several student groups in the 2011-12 school year.

Last year, Salisbury High School student Emma Labovitz held a benefit pasta dinner that raised more than $3,000 toward building a school in Sudan. This year, money raised will help build a second school in the country, where some areas have been devastated by civil war.

Shafer said she hopes the collective efforts of many students this year will make an even bigger difference.

“One of the things we’ve learned is that students learn a lot if they can work collectively, and they learn about having an impact,” Shafer said.

Those who attend the painting party won’t actually wear the shirts they make, Shafer said. Instead, they will be incorporated into a large display at the Sensoria arts and literacy festival at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte.

Each day will feature one of the seven focus issues — education and literacy, water and infrastructure, hunger and nutrition, poverty and economy, peace and conflict resolution, social attitudes and prejudice and environment and sustainability.

“It actually becomes an inspiration for community groups,” Shafer said. “It’s a fund raiser, yes, but it’s also a symbol of students inspiring us all.”

After the Charlotte event in April, some of the shirts created in Salisbury likely will be returned to become part of a local display, she said.

During an all-day assembly in February, students learned about the impact of seven global issues through hands-on experiences and activities.

Salisbury High School’s principal applied for and received a grant for the Heritage Club to do a three-day diversity and cultural awareness training event, Shafer said. The effort soon grew into an anti-bullying and anti-discrimination club, which is now sponsoring this Saturday’s event.

Shafer said the students also are reaching out to local businesses and civic groups to sponsor the event and provide matching funds.

“The impact of the school is the impact of the community,” she said.

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