LAWRENCE — The community is invited to learn about human trafficking at an event at the Van Buren Conference Center on Thursday. 

The awareness event is being put on by two Covert students in the Early Childhood Careers and Education (ECCE) program at the Van Buren Technology Center. The students chose human trafficking awareness as their community service project in Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). 

The event starts at 4 p.m. at the conference center, 490 S. Paw Paw St., Lawrence.

The students will speak briefly, then they will show an hour-long documentary, “Break The Chain.” The film addresses the issue of human trafficking within Michigan communities and the United States. The film chronicles two survivors of human trafficking, providing a detailed look at how trafficking goes unnoticed.

Gwen Doneruse, an ECCE teacher, said the student’s service project went from selling T-shirts and bracelets with the human trafficking logo on it, to having a cookie sale, all to raise money to rent two billboards on I-94 to raise awareness for human trafficking in Southwest Michigan. The students are working with the Southwest Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force. 

The event on Thursday is free, but the students will accept donations and refreshments will be offered. Any money raised will go to renting the billboards. 

“It’s a great thing that the kids do because they all pick a community service project to do. This is something these two young ladies felt strongly about and they just have been working so hard to raise the money,” Doneruse said. “We hope that a lot of people come Thursday.”

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