Roosevelt Students Striving To Build A Library In Vietnam
School's Project Vietnam club hosting 'Taste of Culture' fundraiser on Feb. 7 in Kent.
How can Kent-area residents play a role in building a library for elementary school students in Vietnam?
By attending the “Taste of Culture: Vietnamese Cuisine Tasting and Catered Pasta Buffet” event presented by the Project Vietnam club of Theodore Roosevelt High School.
The Taste of Culture event will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7 at Kent United Church of Christ. It will be hosted by Roosevelt’s Project Vietnam students along with the support of Warriors’ Journey Home, a Tallmadge-based healing ministry for veterans, and Little City Caterers of Kent.
The evening will include traditional Vietnamese food, a catered pasta buffet and a Vietnamese cultural display with photos, artifacts and letters from Vietnamese children.
Tickets are $10 presale or $12 at the door and can be purchased by visiting the Activities Office at Roosevelt or by sending a check written out to Project Vietnam to: Beth Schluep THRS, 1400 N. Mantua St., Kent OH 44240. The names of those who send checks in will be on a list at the door on event night.
Project Vietnam members have a goal of raising $5,000 to build the elementary school library in Vietnam – and they're nearly half-way there. Any individual or group who donates $250 or more to the Vietnam library project will have their names inscribed on a plaque that will be in Roosevelt’s library, as well as in the library in Vietnam.
Club advisor Tanya Titus, a Roosevelt teacher, said “Project Vietnam is a small group of RHS students who are intent on making a difference in the lives of Vietnamese students.”
The club was founded after Roosevelt teacher Beth Schluep traveled to Vietnam with her husband, Dr. John Schluep, founder of Warriors’ Journey Home. They visited an elementary school and learned of the great need for a library there.
Here’s Project Vietnam’s backstory, as written by Tanya Titus:
The story began with Kent City Schools teacher Beth Schluep as she started planning a trip to Vietnam with her husband through Warriors’ Journey Home, based at First Congregational Church of Tallmadge, and Soldier’s Heart of Albany, NY.
As she shared her passion for their upcoming journey with the 2011 class officers and fellow class advisor Tanya Titus, the fire was passed on. They wanted to be a part of the mission. The students decided to make a difference in the world by focusing their efforts in fund-raising and sensitizing awareness on education in Vietnam.
The first thing they did was organize a presentation by Dr. John Fisher, senior liaison of Soldier’s Heart, for a school assembly called “Greetings for Peace.” He spoke of his own personal experiences and how Roosevelt could improve the educational environment for Vietnamese children.
It was from this assembly that an interest group was formed which ignited the passion for many other students. From this group a club was started called Project Vietnam.
Students immediately took action. The decision was made to collect school supplies that were eventually carried in suitcases and delivered by Beth Schluep and her fellow travelers from Warriors’ Journey Home. The school supplies were given to several elementary schools, including one that had been built by other veterans’ organizations and Soldier’s Heart.
In Vietnam, Schluep had the opportunity to talk with administrators and staff about the needs of the schools. One of the greatest needs, she learned, was for a library.
Project Vietnam quickly took this on as a mission! Through research and communication with others they found out it would be $5,000 to build a library. The goal was set! An elementary school was chosen as the beneficiary of their future work: Kim Dong Elementary School in the Phi Ninh district, Quang Nam province.
A speaker from Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University, Nicole Robinson, came to a Project Vietnam meeting to share Speak-Peace. Speak-Peace is an ongoing project of Wick Poetry Center that shares art done by Vietnamese students and allows U.S. students to write poetry in response. This presentation impassioned the students even more.
Fundraisers began with collaboration with RHS Amnesty International on a concert. Amnesty International sponsors a yearly concert of student performers, donating proceeds to an international project that fosters reconciliation and human rights.
Other fundraisers continued. This year the students had a catalog sale and sold homemade holiday breads. Students also designed and handed out buttons for donations at Art in the Park in Kent last September.
Presently we have earned and received donations of over $2,000! Our next fundraising project is a Taste of Culture, an evening that will include traditional Vietnamese food, a catered pasta buffet (Little City Caterers of Kent) and a Vietnamese cultural display with photos, artifacts, and letters from Vietnamese children.
If you are interested in supporting Project Vietnam with support of Warriors’ Journey Home, please join us for this cultural experience or call for more information.
For more information about Project Vietnam or the “Taste of Culture” event, contact Titus at 330-676-8883. Emails can be sent to Titus at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Schluep at email@example.com.