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Colby-Sawyer College Hosts Author Joan Hecht as She Shares the Powerful Survival Story of “The Journey of the Lost Boys”

NEW LONDON, N.H. - What does the face of civil war look like? In Sudan's case, too often the faces belong to children – 30,000 of them, who were separated from their families after attacks on their villages and forced to walk more than a thousand miles in search of refuge with little food or water and no protection from animals and enemy soldiers. Half of them died along the way. The survivors have a story to tell.

Colby-Sawyer College will host Joan Hecht, author of “The Journey of the Lost Boys,” and one of the Sudanese Lost Boys she has written about, to share that story through powerful video and a fluid lecture on Tuesday, March 23, at 7 p.m. in Wheeler Hall at the Ware Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

With clashes between Arab and Black African Sudanese devastating the country, the United States government awarded refugee status to approximately 3,800 Lost Boys in 2001. About 150 of them were resettled in Hecht's home city of Jacksonville, Fla., where she was living with her family and working as a sales and marketing executive. She met some of the Lost Boys when they took refuge in a local church and quickly developed an interest in helping them. This interest sent her life – and theirs – in completely new directions. In 2004, Hecht established the Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan to assist those affected by the trauma in Sudan and to raise support for their education. Since its founding, the program has assisted 55 Lost Boys with college tuition and textbooks and has provided medical treatment for over 100 local Lost Boys.

The Alliance has not only assisted refugees in America, but also those still in Sudan. The Alliance supports various projects in Southern Sudan, such as funding the construction of an X-ray facility at the Lost Boys and Girls Memorial Hospital, a children's house at an orphanage, distribution of survival kits, donations toward the construction of a school and goats for Women at Risk programs and other projects.

In addition to her role as President of the Alliance, Hecht is also the chair of education for The Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan: The National Network, based in Washington, D.C. In March 2009, she was selected by “The Network” to participate in an assessment/humanitarian delegation to Southern Sudan.

“The Journey of the Lost Boys” was awarded First Place in Education at the International POW! (Promoting Outstanding Writers) Book Awards, earning Hecht the title 2005 Author of the Year. In recognition of her work with the Lost Boys, Hecht received the 2007 Local Heroes Award from Bank of America and the Daily Points of Light Award from the National Points of Light Foundation. Hecht and her family, along with Jacksonville Lost Boys, were featured in the November issue of Disney's Family Fun Magazine as Grand Prizewinners in the Family Fun National Family Volunteers Contest.

Colby-Sawyer, founded in 1837, is a comprehensive liberal arts and sciences college located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Students learn in small classes through a select array of programs that integrate the liberal arts and sciences with professional experience.

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000