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The Daily Tar Heel

Campus Y to Sponsor Children's Rights Week

Sponsored by the Youth Outreach committee of Campus Y, the week, titled "No One Left Behind," will feature speeches, forums and discussions meant to educate the campus about the issues facing children today, organizers said.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, eight members of the football team, including David Thornton, Quincy Monk, Anthony Perkins, Merceda Perry and Errol Hood, will be reading their favorite children's books to local elementary school students in the Pit. They also will be eating lunch and playing football with them in Polk Place. The event is designed to promote literacy among children.

"Kids look up to sports players as idols," said Youth Outreach Co-chairwoman Catie Cunningham. "If they see their idol doing something, they'll want to do it, too."

The week's keynote speaker, Rick Koca, will be giving a speech tonight on issues facing homeless children. Koca is the founder and national director of StandUp for Kids, an organization that helps children.

The speech, which is open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. in 111 Carroll Hall.

"(Koca) is pretty amazing," said Campus Y President Raj Panjabi. "He'll make some of the people in the audience cry."

Other events this week will include a dinner discussion on sex offender registration; speeches about minority tracking, legislative views on children's rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Social and Economic Justice Fair, which will offer opportunities to get involved with children's rights; and a visual display called "Remember the Children."

For "Remember the Children," to be held Friday, the Youth Outreach committee will be hanging T-shirts and paper dolls in Polk Place. The shirts and dolls represent the number of children who are abused every 15 minutes and the number of children who die of hunger each day, respectively.

"We'll have 29 T-shirts to represent that 29 children are reported abused or neglected every 15 minutes," Cunningham said. "Each paper doll will represent about 10 children for the 17,000 children that die of hunger each day."

Organizers of Children's Rights Week said they hope this week's activities will increase awareness among UNC students of children's issues.

"We simply want to bring awareness to students on issues facing children in the community and the world," Panjabi said. "Sometimes we live in a bubble on campus. We don't see the negative things happening to kids."

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