Fremont teens mark Sept. 11 anniversary

Penny campaign will assist rebuilding in Afghanistan


More than 1,000 students many of Afghan, Iranian and Iraqi descent will participate in a special assembly Monday to honor the memory of those lost Sept. 11, 2001, and recognize the everyday heroic efforts of local police and fire departments.

The event also kicks off the annual "Roots of Peace Penny Campaign" to help kids in war-torn Afghanistan have safe schools and soccer fields.

The event begins at 1 p.m. at Thornton Junior High School on Thornton Avenue.

The event will feature a de-mining dog, fire trucks, police cars and the Loomis Fargo armored truck that will safely deliver the pennies in Afghanistan.

The "Roots of Peace Penny Campaign" has inspired thousands of American students and community members to collect more than 10 million "pennies for peace" to protect lives and restore the hopes of future generations in war-torn countries.

Afghanistan is among the most heavily mined countries in the world. According to the United Nations, there are an estimated 60 landmine victims each month in Afghanistan alone; half of them are children.

Organizers say 100 percent of the donations have been put to use in Afghan projects that have cleared a dangerous minefield next to the Bajgah village school in the north, restored soccer fields on former mine fields at the boys' and girls' schools in Bagram and will build new classrooms at a tent school in Mir Bocha Kot.

Approximately 15,000 Afghan-Americans live in Fremont, representing the highest concentration of Afghan-Americans in the United States.

The community will join Fremont Unified School District Superintendent Douglas Gephart at the event.

"Thornton Junior High School is comprised of many students with Afghan, Iraqi and Iranian heritage with teachers who speak Farsi," Thornton Principal Ron Echandia said.

The Marshall Legacy Institute, in Washington, D.C., is sending a highly trained mine detection dog and handler to demonstrate how the dog sniffs out landmines.

The penny campaign is a student program of San Rafael-based "Roots of Peace" whose mission is to transform toxic minefields into thriving farmland and communities.

Von: 8.9.06, Fremont Bulletin Online

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