Despite the rain, Ashland High School students took a stand against poverty during their lunch break on Tuesday, joining a global movement to support the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals, which include cutting poverty in half by 2015.

About 50 students crouched down and then symbolically stood for about 10 minutes on the quad in the event known as "Stand Up and Speak Out," said senior Lila Schreiber, who organized the event.

Schreiber started the Ashland chapter of Global Citizens Corps, a club to fight poverty, at AHS last year. In that first year, students participated in the Stand Up event in their classrooms, with directions given over the intercom.

"I think it worked better this year because it was more concentrated and people were excited and cheering," she said. "It was a pretty good turnout. It's kind of hard to know what to expect with the weather being crazy."

The club plans to man a table all week at the high school, publicizing statistics, such as the fact that one child dies every five seconds due to hunger, and encouraging students to sign a petition urging the federal government to support the UN goals.

"The target date for the first goal, which was to cut extreme poverty and hunger in half, was the year 2015," Schreiber said. "We're way off meeting those goals. The idea of the Stand Up event today was to spread the awareness."

Abby Young, a club member, said she was glad that non-club members participated in the day's events.

"Our goal is to get as many people as we can to sign the petitions and participate in the various activities, even if that's just reading the posters or taking our little snack packs," she said.

Tuesday, which was also World Food Day, is part of a larger series of events designed to draw attention to issues deemed important by the UN. Ashland's Global Citizen Corps' next event will be on World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

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