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Towson grad works to help children of war

June 04, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- Perhaps it comes as no surprise that 20-year-old Rachel Bibbee got deeply involved in an organization dedicated to protecting African children from forced military service halfway around the world.

After all, Rachel was just 18 months old when she appeared in a red, white and blue dress, waving an American flag at a fundraiser for a cause in which her mother, Lynn Bibbee, was involved.

For a number of years, Lynn Bibbee was the community involvement coordinator at Sam's Club in Hagerstown. In that capacity, she organized and participated in many activities designed to help people in need.

"I remember my parents were involved in causes when I was growing up," said Rachel Bibbee, referring to Richard and Lynn Bibbee, now of Leitersburg.

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A graduate of Towson (Md.) University, Rachel Bibbee earned her degree in mass communications, advertising and public relations in May. She aspires to a career in artist management.

Four years ago, Rachel went to a meeting of an organization called Invisible Children at the university. At that time, the club only had three or four members; now the ranks have swelled to about 50.

Invisible Children is a national nonprofit organization striving to help the children being affected by a war that has been going on for more than two decades in Central East Africa.

Children are being abducted and forced to kill or be killed, Rachel said. Invisible Children chapters have been working for the last several years to help stop the war and bring the child soldiers home.

The organization has raised millions of dollars with help from people all over the world to bring awareness to the cause, urge the U.S. government to get involved and help build schools for the children in Central East Africa.

"We had a walk in April at Towson and about 50 people walked ... more than we expected," Rachel said. A total of $5,000 was raised, she said.

A Smithsburg High School graduate, Rachel said she has always been active in her home community doing fundraisers for animal oxygen masks, book bags for Hurricane Katrina victims, and care packages for members of the military, including her brother, Shannon Bibbee, when he was stationed in Iraq several years ago.

Rachel said she is looking for work in Baltimore, Florida or even California now that she has her degree.

But she said she is committed to continuing her efforts for Invisible Children on the national level, no matter where her career path takes her.

"I'd like to travel to Central East Africa, but I'm not sure if I can handle it emotionally," she said.

For more information, go to www.invisiblechildren.com.

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