Cooper City High’s very own Liberty in North Korea (LINK) rescue team is attempting to raise as much money as possible by asking the student body for their spare change.
The drive, which began on November 27 and will last until December 7, is a fundraiser for the LINK parent organization that rescues North Korean refugees. Students who would like to contribute to this drive can donate any spare change or cash into any of the several participating teachers’ folders. The list of teachers involved with the collection includes club sponsor Gloria Perez, David Schultz, Tom Grozan and Emily Rodriguez.
It costs $3,000 to fund the rescue of one North Korean refugee, and with 261 active “rescue teams” such as CCHS’, the organization has been able to complete 266 individual rescues since its inception.
“We had members decorate manila folders to ask for change and ask teachers to put them up in their classrooms on whiteboards or bulletin boards,” LINK President Julie Kim said. “Since going around asking for $1 or $5 wouldn’t be that effective since we aren’t selling anything in exchange, we thought we should ask for people’s loose change instead, because it’s a smaller amount to ask for and because some people prefer to get rid of their change because it is heavy.”
LINK is a non-profit organization based in Long Beach, California as well as Seoul, South Korea that is focused on rescuing North Korean refugees and spreading awareness of the human rights violations experienced by North Korea’s residents and citizens. It costs $3,000 to fund the rescue of one North Korean refugee, and with 261 active “rescue teams” such as CCHS’, the organization has been able to complete 266 individual rescues since its inception.
“I think that the role of rescue teams is one of the most important functions of the entire LINK organization,” Vice President Christine Kim said. “Although most chapter members do not carry out refugee rescues themselves, these missions are all funded by our efforts. The clubs are really the backbone of making things happen.”
The LINK club may just be collecting spare change, but in their perspective, the magnitude of the drive reaches far beyond that.
As a parent organization, LINK’s current mission is to help North Korean refugees that have escaped North Korea but are now stuck in China.
“Right now, we are currently in the process of donating about $310 from another drive so just with that, we [are] already helping with one-tenth of a rescue cost,” President Kim said. “With hundreds of rescue teams in existence, we can imagine how a significant number of people can be helped through our collective efforts.”
As a parent organization, LINK’s current mission is to help North Korean refugees that have escaped North Korea but are now stuck in China. As of November 29, less than $800 has been raised and no rescues have been funded, but with the help of CCHS LINK’s fundraiser, along with others, that number should increase.
Another goal of LINK is to spread awareness of the harsh realities of living in North Korea, instead of focusing on the nuclear weapons they possess. Liberty in North Korea’s official site reads:
“Mainstream media has defined North Korea as crazy Kims and nuclear weapons, which has created a barrier preventing ordinary people around the world from getting involved. We are changing this narrative: People over politics.”
Photo by Kayla Florenco