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Santa Barbara High School Community Service Fair on Friday, October 27

On a Friday morning, October 27, at Santa Barbara High School,  I joined Fernando and Kate during  Santa Barbara High School’s Community Service Fair. As I arrived at the Truth in Recruitment table, students were swarming around while asking questions and playing games.  At the Wheel of Fortune, Fernando and students were talking about the financial realities of a military career and other questions posed by the wheel. Kate guided a small group to ‘vote with their dollars’ as if they were members of Congress deciding how to allocate funds for the national budget.  Students doled out the coins while considering the consequences of distributing money between education, humanitarian aid, environment, the prison system and the military.  In a comment book, people took turns writing about the ways they are proud of their heritage.  All these young people walked away with bracelets that read: Question Authority.

Several teachers and students told us they were grateful that Truth in Recruitment was there.

It was fun.

Barb Parmet

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Santa Maria High School Career Fair

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Tabling at Santa Maria High School career fair on October 12 was such a refreshing experience. We were welcomed by gusty winds, and a well-organized staff who had taken the time to set up a delicious continental breakfast for all attendees.

Shortly after we arrived, students began rolling into the career fair space. Interacting with freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors was inspirational in so many levels. Although we intended on guiding the students through our table in a certain order, creating room for spontaneity definitely paid off! Students wanted to engage and go deeper on topics such as job training, and so by adjusting our game plan we accomplished our goal of informing students and addressing their questions and concerns on a more personal level. We came prepared with information and activities such as: spinning a wheel of fortune with prompts for them to consider regarding ways that youth might be drawn to a military career such as “Travel and Meet New People?” They also voted in a penny poll, choosing to give funds in jars labeled “Environment”, “Education” or “Prisons”, for example. Finally we asked them to write their “Vision” in our comment book. For all this effort, they were complimented by wonderful prizes a: “Question Authority” bracelet, political buttons and of course community service opportunities!

As the waves of students came and went it is clear that our youth are hopeful, well-intended and have such big dreams! A good way to support them is by providing them with resources that allow them to make informed choices regardless off the career path they may choose. If I am super honest, listening to them chipped away some of the cynicism that has come with years of struggle. It was a much need reminder of the things I hoped for “when I grew up”, and can now achieve prepared with the knowledge that comes from years of experience. I certainly look forward for more opportunities to make connections with folks up in Santa Maria High, as several members of the staff appreciated our presence and wanted to get involved.

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Dos Pueblos High School Community Service Fair reveals insights of students

On Friday, October 6, we were down at the Dos Pueblos High School Community Service Fair talking to students about alternatives to the military. During their lunchtime several students took their time to learn about many shortcomings that a military career drags around with it, from incompatible job training, to deep mental trauma.

It was great to interact with those who we work so hard to help, and the engagement was fantastic! Students were introduced to important questions that one might not consider when signing up but are absolutely crucial, such as, is there any way to lose the benefits promised by recruiters, or what are the terms of a military contract.

A couple of the students shared that their family members had been in the military. One young man said that his father had been deployed to Iraq and had trouble sleeping – he thought that he probably suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD). Another student shared that her grandfather had been in Chiang Kai-shek’s armed forces in China. She said that he became separated from his family and never saw them again. Another student said that many of her family members who had served suffered from PTSD.

It’s always an enriching experience to be able to interact directly with students and I’d like to give a huge thank you to DPHS for having us there for their volunteer fair.

-Fernando Cornejo TIR Intern

Santa Maria High School Presentation

September 21, 2017

Cherished Friends!

Truth in Recruitment is making big moves! Not only are we preparing for an upcoming meeting with the SBUSD to discuss implementation of the existing recruiter policy. We continue to publicize the realities of military services, this time at Santa Maria High School (SMHS) in North County!

Through an important connection made with Professor Ricardo Valencia who teaches Chicano/Latino Studies and Modern World History at SMHS we were invited to present to his 4 unique classes one of them 10th grade Spanish speakers only! Luckily we had an outstanding team that included two Spanish speakers, one whom is a Vietnam veteran and the other whose brother served in the Marines. Michael Cervantes from Veterans for Peace Oxnard Chapter, coordinator Kate Connell and our most recent intern Lisha Pacheco (me).

Our mission began early in the morning, as we headed towards SMHS we [recited and] gave feedback to each other on what would help us share or message much more clearly and thoroughly in the 50 minutes of class. Once we arrived, we were welcomed by an enthusiastic SMHS staff particularly Mr. Fast who drove us to our first class in an attempt to help us arrive early. In our first class we had the opportunity to engage with 60 students right off the bat. We hit the ground running and our presentation went extremely well. We received significant feedback from the students which is always reaffirming.

As the day progressed and we had the opportunity to walk among the students, while moving from one class to the other, my commitment to offer students alternatives to military service was renewed. Students are vulnerable especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, we must provide them with resources to make the best choices. Especially now that military recruiters are stepping up their game, and infiltrating educational institutions by providing “supportive services” such as having a National Guard recruiter man the Anti-Bullying office on the SMHS campus, which our host showed us at the end of the school day. Suffice to say its walls covered with military propaganda from all of the branches – so much for anti-bullying. I am proud to be part of a group that counteracts such tactics.

Truth in Recruitment at the 2017 Veterans for Peace National Convention Education Not Militarization, Friday, August 11, 2017.

 

The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY)  presented the Mini Plenary Education Not Militarization: The Nuts and Bolts of Pursuing Policy Changes to Counter Recruitment and Demilitarize Schools. Truth in Recruitment’s coordinator, Kate Connell, was a panelist in this workshop, along with Rick Jahnkow of Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities, San Diego and Jesus Palafox of the American Friends Service Committee, Chicago.

A second workshop, Education Not Militarization: Educating Students and Countering Military Recruitment Inside the Schools, was also facilitated by NNOMY, including  presenters Pat Alviso from Military Families Speak Out, Libby Frank of the Northwest Suburban Peace and Education Project, and Michelle Cohen of Project Great Futures.  Find out more at http://nnomy.org/index.php/427-flexicontent/articles/737-nnomy-at-the-2017-vfp-education-not-militarization-convention-in-chicago

Spring Update

Dear Friends,

Last week was a busy one for Truth in Recruitment! Following two consecutive days of site visits with funders, we tabled at a North County Job and Resource Fair as well as the Santa Barbara High School career fair. From meeting with our founding members to tabling with first-time volunteers, it was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come, and how our community continues to grow.

On Thursday, I (Aryeh) drove up to table at the Job and Resource Fair with one of our North County volunteers, Janet. As I pulled up to the event, the first person I saw was a Navy recruiter in full uniform – a concerning, yet unsurprising welcome to the event. As if to reaffirm the importance of our presence, our table was directly facing the Army’s, and not far from both the Navy’s and Marines’. Despite the military’s strength in numbers, our colorful display and peace-oriented activities drew more interest, and a more diverse and engaged group of visitors throughout the day. From high school and university students, to parents of young children and Vietnam veterans, our visitors were consistently intrigued by, grateful for, and enthusiastic to support our work.

We were also approached by curious military recruiters who were, of course, not accustomed to seeing their work directly challenged in the job fair environment. My conversation with one recruiter who came over turned out to be a fascinating and surprising moment in the afternoon. While we clearly had conflicting reasons for being at the job fair, he spoke of his mixed feelings about recruiting and said – as a father of two – that he appreciated our effort to give parents more visibility and control over recruiters’ access to their children, and to hold recruiters accountable for making clear the risks and consequences of enlistment. He also acknowledged the value in providing alternative perspectives, and listening and learning from others. While we can’t rely on all recruiters to have the same response, it was an encouraging reminder that our message is a universal appeal for humanity and truth that is always worth sharing – even with those who we least expect to listen.

 

Paid Internship (Apply Now!)

                  Community Organizer Paid Internship

An ideal internship opportunity for someone with a passion for social justice, peace, and youth advocacy, seeking experience in communications/social media and community organizing.

Truth in Recruitment is a non-profit, student advocacy group based in Santa Barbara, California. We are students, families, veterans, youth groups, teachers, social justice activists and members of faith
communities. Our goal is to help students ask the right questions about the stakes of a military career, provide non-military options for academic and professional success, inform parents of their privacy
rights, and to implement school policies limiting recruiter presence on campuses.

Interns will work with a coordinator and with student and community volunteers to:

• Assist in the establishment of a network and develop local commitment and support through outreach to community and youth groups such as: PTAs & parents organizations; community
centers; high-school and college student clubs; religious organizations; and veterans associations.

• Assemble and distribute organizing materials and sample policies.
• Help maintain our website and social media accounts.

• Develop a working list of agencies, media, and other resources to be contacted with information about regulating recruiters in schools.

• Research existing recruiter school policies and protocols in Santa Barbara County School Districts.

• Set up appointments and meet with school staff and administrators.

 ***Bilingual and bicultural applicants preferred***

Salary: $15/hour @ 4-6 hours/week for 6 months, to be paid twice a month.

Please send a brief cover letter and resume to Kate Connell, kate@kateconnell.com

Download Truth in Recruitment_Internship