|Natalie Warne inspires LCIS students to make a change in the world|
|Wednesday, 16 May 2012 11:55|
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Natalie Warne, an American Film-maker and inspirational speaker, encouraged students in The Bahamas to work to make a change in the world at a talk at the Rainforest Theater on April 27th.
About 150 students and parents gathered to listen to Natalie tell the story of her decision as a 17-year-old student to join the Invisible Children Organization. Her decision changed the direction of her life and started her on a journey that would take her across America and to Africa and, eventually, here to The Bahamas.
Natalie was invited to Nassau as part of the Lyford Cay International School’s (LCIS) 50th Anniversary Speaker Series. “We saw her speak on TED talks and we so moved by her story,” said principal Stacy Bobo. “Natalie’s story is one of a young girl from a rough neighborhood, without a lot of money behind her, and how she fought for what she believed in. We wanted to bring that story to our students and to all Bahamian students.”
Natalie spent a full day at LCIS on and was able to meet and connect with many students at the student led Friday Coffee House. "She was like a rock star to our students," said Helene De Jong, Community Service Coordinator at LCIS. Natalie was recognized by many of the students who watched her TED talk in the previous week's assembly.She took time to talk to every student that approached her and she encouraged them to come and listen to her talk. Natalie also met with Grade 10 students who had just finished a unit on Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs). She was able to share her knowledge of working with Invisible Children with that group of students.
Before her talk at the Wyndham, Natalie was introduced by LCIS Grade 11 students, Alicia De Jong and Samantha Wilson, who used the opportunity to educate the community on the work LCIS is doing in Uganda with The Tentmakers Academy. LCIS students visit The Tentmaker’s Academy each summer to work with students in Uganda. “It is a real eye opener for our students, “ said Mrs. De Jong. “ A lot of them have never lived in surroundings like this. We work hard every day and really get to know the kids and make real connections with them. When our students come home after 3 weeks in Uganda, they have changed.” LCIS is committed to providing a hot breakfast and lunch everyday for the 150 students at Tentmaker’s at a cost of $750 every three months. The proceeds from the evening with Natalie Warne, $560.00, will be used to help fund the food program at Tentmakers
LCIS’s work at Tentmaker’s was a perfect lead into Natalie’s talk. She has been to Uganda twice with her work with Invisible Children. She told a captivated audience how she saw a film called Invisible Children when she was 17 years old and decided that she had to work with the group. In her words “ I knew I would go. In my mind it would have been crazy not too.” She deferred college for six months and signed up as an unpaid volunteer with Invisible Children. Her mission was to raise awareness and to encourage the United States to join the effort to capture and convict Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the person responsible for removing thousands of Ugandan children from their homes and forcing them to become child soldiers.
Natalie told her story in a way that demonstrated the level of difficulty she faced but also the tremendous satisfaction her mission gave her. She pinpointed that as a vital component for those who want to become involved with eliciting change in the world. “Find that thing that you believe so strongly in, “ she said.” Find it and then put everything you have into achieving your goals.” She also explained how her work with Invisible Children opened up the world for her and how her real passion, filmmaking, was ignited by working with the media savvy organization. Today, although no longer officially connected to Invisible Children, Natalie is driven to tell stories through film and documentary work but admits that her biggest dream is to shoot a real “Hollywood film”.
After Natalie's talk Samantha Wilson said, "Having the opportunity to meet Natalie was amazing. She is such a kindhearted and down-to-earth individual. The talk she gave really helped me to understand that it only takes one person to make a difference and raise awareness for something you believe in."
Natalie thoroughly enjoyed her visit to Nassau, despite the worst rain in 20+ years, and she wants to continue her relationship with LCIS and it's students. She has committed to check in with LCIS via Skype at an assembly next year and has already been in contact with some of the LCIS students via email and Facebook. She said in an email message, "It was so fun to be there, I hope the kids really do start to think about getting involved in things more. I'll have to come back next year to see progress."
Photo 1: Natalie Warne and LCIS students.
Photo 2: Natalie Warne with LCIS Grade 7 students.
Photo 3: Natalie Warne with the LCIS Grade 10 class.
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