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The City Journals

AAIU students hope to raise funds, awareness with multicultural festival

May 08, 2019 04:43PM ● By Julie Slama

AAIU is partnering with CHOICE Humanitarian to host a multicultural festival Saturday, May 18 at the school campus. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

There will be dancing, music, food and ways to celebrate cultures from every continent at American Academy of Innovation’s multicultural festival, but even more so, there will be an effort to raise awareness, network and help raise funds to improve education in a Guatemalan village.

“Our students are hoping to make $10,000, which would leverage with local governments and international groups to add phase II to a trade school which will provide more technical skills,” said AAIU Academic Director Ryan Hagge.

AAIU, a public charter school serving about 360 students, grades six through 12, in the Daybreak community is partnering with nonprofit organization, CHOICE Humanitarian, to work with rural communities, including a Guatemalan community, to help end extreme poverty.

The multicultural festival will begin at 5 p.m., Saturday, May 18, with international food trucks where patrons can make purchases. Proceeds from drink purchases, available from the school, and a recommended $5 or more donation for the 6 p.m. program and concert, are earmarked for CHOICE Humanitarian efforts. It will be held at the school, 5410 South Jordan Parkway.

At the outdoor festival, students have invited local bands with international music, Brigham Young University and University of Utah international folkdance groups and prominent speakers, which they hope will have a range of appeal to individuals and families. Already committed to speak is doTERRA CEO David Sterling as well as several CHOICE Humanitarian directors.

“We hope to attract a large, family-oriented crowd for good food, good music, good stories and a good cause,” Hagge said, adding that tents are secured if it is inclement weather. “This project is entirely student planned, directed and driven.”

With a commitment to science, technology, engineering and math as well as experimental education, AAIU administrators felt that this partnership fit well into school goals, he said.

“We emphasize student-driven opportunities, so they are using the skills and applying them to authentic learning opportunities,” Hagge said. “With this model, we are giving kids the chance to experience and solidify what they’re learning, then reflect upon it to improve their learning. CHOICE Humanitarian isn’t like some organizations where they just go in and help them out and leave. They get local people with natural leadership involved and to take ownership. They’ll work with the local government to leverage funds so they can make it a sustainable transformation from poverty.”

In addition to this two-hour festival, AAIU students are hoping to raise awareness of what these villages need and what people can do to help.

As ambassadors, AAIU students invited potential corporations to partner with CHOICE Humanitarian at a recent breakfast. They’ve also reached out to area schools, inviting them to participate with them in CHOICE Humanitarian projects.

Thirty-six students in two CHOICE Innovation classes also are connecting with Guatemalan villages to create digital storybooks compiled of written, video and audio information about who they are and what it’s like to live there, in an effort to post and share their information.

“This will help tell their stories, so people have a better understanding of the Guatemalan culture and people,” Hagge said. “It’s not just about helping poor people or how to solve a problem, but it puts a face to the people and helps make relationships.”