By Alyssa Seidman
Raphaelina Marti, a senior English and Psychology major, held a fundraiser collecting money for Together We Rise, a non-profit organization based in California, which aims to improve the lives of foster care children across America, On Wednesday, Feb. 26, during common hour.
Marti, a student in the Honors Program, is an intern this semester with Together We Rise. The organization is managing the Sweet Cases Project, which will provide duffel bags and/or suitcases to foster youth when they first enter the system. This will replace the two trash bags that they now receive to move their possessions.
In providing foster children with duffel bags filled with various items (including toiletries and stuffed animals), Together We Rise hopes it will allow foster children to build selfesteem and have something to call their own.
More information on Together We Rise and the Sweet Cases Project can be found on www.togetherwerise.org or projects.kindsnacks.com/project/sweet-cases.
Additionally, a donation box is located in the Honors Program offices of Humanities Hall, and anyone who donates will be entered into a raffle to receive a Together We Rise t-shirt.
“I’m sympathetic with these kids, and even though I’ve had my share of troubles, I’ve persisted, and now I’m an honors student in college. I want to use that power to help [those in need],” Marti said.
Marti emphasized why this cause is important for college students. “We live in a society where most of us get whatever we want, and we rarely stop and realize that there are people in need. We need to develop an understanding of this issue now, as young adults, in order to create a foundation for the future.”
“We’re trying to raise $500 by the end of March to contribute to the Sweet Cases Project. We’re asking people to help however they can, and get involved and spread the word in order for this goal to be achieved,” Marti said.
“The idea for this project came from my internship with the organization,” she explained. “They give me assignments to carry out here at school, and I work with Dr. Katherine Ahern of the English department to brainstorm potential events to raise funds.”
“What I love about this organization’s mission is that they are dedicated to providing foster children tangibly with one small thing a piece of luggage,” said Ahern, who is Marti’s internship advisor. “However, the underlying notion is that in giving a foster child a piece of luggage, they are also providing that child with a sense of self, dignity as an individual, and perhaps greater confidence.”
Marti is still in the process of raising $500. The last fundraiser will be held on Monday, March 17, in Hillwood, during common hour. Marti will be set-up in the commons with a donation box for students to contribute.
“All children deserve a happy life,” said Dr. Joan Digby, director of the LIU Post Honors Program and Merit Fellowship. “Raphaelina’s effort on behalf of children in foster care is compassionate work for an excellent organization that will give children a bright future. Everyone should support this effort. We can all afford to help children who are most in need. I am proud of her efforts.”