Get Me to Florence

When I came back from Vietnam in the winter of 2015, I came back with many residual benefits from my experiences abroad.  First, I came back knowing how to say three or four words in Vietnamese, which was an impressive feat for this monolingual honky.  Second, I came back with a killer flip-flop tan.  Like, it *just* went away the other day.  Finally, I came back with a renewed sense of purpose.  

I came back knowing what I wanted to do for a career.  I had seen victims of human trafficking in the flesh. We talked, we laughed, we drank beers together.  Between those beers and me trying to mime bad jokes, I saw my future in front of me.  I felt compelled to do whatever I could to combat human trafficking.  I knew I wanted to help, but didn’t know in what capacity I could, or what route to take.  I felt helpless, and I was aware that I lacked the requisite knowledge needed to create the type of impact that I knew I was capable of.  

So I applied to get my Masters of Science in Criminology.  Somehow, I, the same guy who says “NICE!” every time I hear the number 69, got into a legitimate masters program.  I started that next Fall, and haven’t flunked out since.  The same guy who got a meandered through his undergrad while splitting his time sending countless fantasy sports trade proposals had now fully focused on how he could wield his inherent privilege into helping others; and I attribute this to my newfound inspiration.

I tell you all this so I could tell you this: I’m almost there.  It’s been a year and a half, but I’m five months away from completing the program.  However, an incredible opportunity arose recently. I applied and got accepted into a program which would take me to Florence, Italy for the summer of 2018, studying forensic science on the international level.  I would finish my degree one month earlier than originally anticipated, and, in my free time, network with Italian nonprofits combating human trafficking.

This program does come at a steep financial cost, and, as it is a summer course, there’s no traditional financial aid for it.  I’m applying for scholarships as often as I can, and am eating as little as possible (just kidding, Mom) to save up for this trip.  This is why I’m writing to you: I need your help, I need your financial backing. I need you to help me finance this trip . Anything you can spare.  The program costs $4266, not including food or airfare, and takes place in June.  I need to raise as much money as I can to be able to participate in this class. 

The good news for you: while I’m abroad, I won’t be incessantly clogging up your Facebook feeds with far-left thinkpieces like “Is Murder Actually Good?” or arguing about guns.  As entertaining (read: not entertaining) as my seemingly drunken Facebook banter is, I’m sure we can all agree that just plain old silence is probably better for your Facebook environment.  How much is a “Kvin” free Facebook feed worth to you?  Hopefully, something!

The good news for the world: there's a reasonable chance that I can raise more money than I need. In this case,  if the collective sum of my crowdfunding endeavor exceeds the cost of the program and airfare, I will donate the remainder to an anti-trafficking nonprofit in Italy.  I know I have some amazing friends and contacts reading this, so I think this is a more reachable goal than it appears to be.  Furthermore, if I don't raise enough and can't go, I'll donate what I have raised to a stateside anti-trafficking organization. Together, we can bring aid to organizations that help in the most dire circumstances, and I’ll simply be the vessel that drops off the money.  Do what you can, if you can.  Only if you can.  

I debated the merits of posting an “I Want Your Money to Help Me” Facebook post, and have deleted about eight drafts of this message.  If this comes across the wrong way, I hope it’ll dissolve in the forever nothingness that is the Internet.  But, on the off-chance that I can raise enough money for people to be helped, I decided some personal embarrassment was worth that reward.  Friends that know me best know that I call you “The Bat Signal”.  I’ll throw something up on Facebook if a friend needs something, and I can count on you guys to deliver.  Whether it be a ride from an airport, a place to crash for a night, or an officiant for a wedding, you guys never seem to fail me.  I know this is asking a lot, but I am asking your help one last time. Send me to Italy, and help some survivors along the way.


Kvin Lppin
Atlanta, GA

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