What can a member of Congress expect to learn when attending a high school class?
Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) planned to teach students at Glenbrook North High School something about what is happening in Washington and how they help with the ongoing earthquake relief efforts in Haiti nearly two years after the tremor struck in 2010.
What Dold learned from students taking classes in world religion, civics and international relations was they have already learned how to ask challenging questions.
Before being peppered by the students’ queries, Dold told them about efforts to combat human rights violations around the world and help when disaster strikes.
“Earthquakes have killed more human beings than all the wars combined,” Dold said.”You have been active raising awareness,” he added complimenting the work Glenbrook North students have been doing over the years.
Dold then introduced Rev. Jean Valdemar who operates the Haiti Rescue Mission in Waukegan. A native Haitian who immigrated to the United States, he told the students about his arrival in Haiti just before the earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010, and his subsequent trips to help.
“My plane landed at 4, at 4:40 we were waiting at the curb to go into Port Au Prince and at 4:53 the earth began to shake,” Valdemar said. “We decided to stay and help.” He encouraged the students to help his aid efforts.
After Valdemar returned to the United States he began raising money and returning to Haiti to distribute it to those in need. There are many who need assistance. “The earthquake left 1.5 million people homeless and 500,000 are still under tent,” he said.
Dold then took some time letting the students know about his current efforts in Washington. He talked about efforts to develop new jobs and stimulate the economy through making an environment of certainty for people who are in a position to hire people.
When Dold and Valdemar were done with their presentations, the students were direct with their questions of their Congressman. Some wanted to know what they could do to help in Haiti but they also asked about the mortgage crisis and the Occupy Wall Street movement.
One student, Jason Scholl, wanted to know why the students should vote for Dold. When the Congressman asked how many would be able to vote by November, a majority raised their hands.
“The first thing you should do is get engaged,” Dold said. “If you want to work for us we can get you engaged. If you want to work for the Democrats work for them. The important thing is to be involved.”
Scholl was not shy. He wanted to know why he and his schoolmates should vote for Dold. “I’ve run a business,” Dold said. “I know how to meet a budget and payroll. I want to improve education, the economy and the infrastructure. The key is jobs and the economy.”
When it came to ways the students could help with Haitian relief, Dold deferred to Valdemar. He explained most anything can help. “If you give a pair of gym shoes a child can play soccer,” he said.
Lauren Rosenberg wanted to know Dold’s opinion of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Dold not only gave his opinion but a suggestion for the protesters.
“It shows the level of frustration out there,” Dold said. He suggested the movement come to Washington where policy is being made.