It’s one thing to learn about a tragedy when it’s thousands of miles away, but it’s another when it’s witnessed from just a few feet away.
While studying abroad last fall, Mercer Island High School (MIHS) junior Bella Hartman witnessed an explosion happen just a few hundred feet away.
Her class was learning about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She said it’s one thing to learn about it from the comfort of a classroom, but it’s another thing to see it with her own eyes.
“It made it more real,” she said.
Hartman wanted to find a way to help people back home realize the severity of the issue. After consulting with her marketing teacher, she decided to participate in her school’s DACA club.
For her project, she decided to create a community giving project to benefit the refugees suffering from the conflict.
The awareness day project spanned two days. The first day, Nov. 15, she encouraged MIHS students to wear black and orange to promote awareness. Hartman and fellow marketing students designed and hung posters around the school to spread awareness. During lunch, Hartman and other classmates drew orange hearts on peers’ hands.
Hartman created a brief presentation about the conflict that was given in each English class, followed by a short survey.
The second day, Nov. 16, Hartman coordinated with eight Mercer Island businesses to donate 10 percent of the day’s profit to go to UNICEF. The proceeds will support refugees, especially child refugees.
The participating businesses include Barrels Wine Bar, Mercer Island Florist, Island Treats, Sano Cafe, Island Books, Au Courant Salon, Terra Bella and Hip Zephyr.
“I just wanted to put my heart and soul into this,” Hartman said.
Hartman said despite the challenges of getting the school to OK the awareness day and getting businesses to commit to giving 10 percent of the day’s profit, she was glad she did it.
“A lot of people don’t really know about it,” she said. “I hope this helps raise awareness for this issue.