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Lost Boy Author and Lost Boys of Sudan Speaker Reviews :

Chappaqua New York

Dear Joan and Kuek,

No words could adequately express my gratitude to you for your presentation at Temple Beth El last week. It was simply one of the most moving and most important I can recall. I hope you could tell that all those present were deeply appreciative of your words and your heroic efforts. Joan, truly you are a light in the darkness, and an inspiration to us all who seek to make a difference…

Rabbi Joshua Davidson

University of North Florida

Many people around the world have by now heard something about Sudan, but still do not know the depth of hate, atrocities, and death that is being brought about by human beings to other human beings. Sudan has been embroiled in one of Africa’s cruelest civil wars. What is happening in Sudan is completely inhumane. The recent Lost Boys of Sudan presentation at our University, headed by Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan founder, Joan Hecht, was one of the most academically enlightening programs ever to hit our campus. The program so eloquently placed a face on the civil war that our world should never have allowed to happen. Because of this event many on our campus, including some of my colleagues, are now taking action. We sincerely thank Joan Hecht and” the Lost Boys,” for this wonderful and enlightening presentation.

Kamele “Oupa” Seane
University of North Florida
Director, Intercultural Center for PEACE
Executive Director, FLAWI

Rotary Club of South Jacksonville

Joan Hecht has been one of our most compelling speakers at the Rotary Club of South Jacksonville’s weekly luncheon meetings! With her fluent knowledge of Sudan and her passion for mission, our audience was captivated by her dedication in helping the Lost Boys. Joan’s extensive insight was very helpful in opening discussion about the political strife in Sudan and certainly moved many at the meeting.

Odette Struys
Rotary Club of South Jacksonville

Fruit Cove Middle School


Again, thanks for the visit to Fruit Cove Middle School. The students all came back to the classrooms raving about your visit.  John’s life and words are powerful and inspiring!  And you must be commended for setting up an organization that has changed so many lives for the better!  You are both heros!

Thanks again and I hope we can do this again next year!

Richard Villadoniga

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida

This was such a wonderful topic. I really enjoyed myself. I laughed, I cried and I was amazed by all the things these boys went through and their determination to survive. The boys are truly Hero’s. In our country we are so blessed to have so many opportunities and I am ashamed that we don’t even realize it. I wish we could have them back for the entire Blue Cross Blue Shield to experience…

This was an incredible story, amazing to actually see boys that escaped the Muslim’s ruthless genocide.

This was the best diversity event I have ever attended. Bar none!

I enjoyed the combination of professional video & personal appearance. Meeting even one of the young men would have been okay, but to see each of them interact in the group, to witness their humor, support, personal ideas, goals, etc was “frosting on the cake”… The spokesperson (Joan Hecht) also summarized their story most effectively…personalized it to motivate me to get involved…. and reminded me to be aware of daily safety, health care, education, family etc. that I too often take for granted.

Nothing could have improved this presentation. This is the best one that I have ever attended here at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida!
Florida Dept of Health and Refugee Services

Interesting, excellent! One of those life-changing experiences. One person can really make a difference. Revitalizing!

Although their story is heartbreaking, it is terrifically uplifting. Awesome! A very moving sentimental presentation!

Horace Greeley High School, Chappaqua, New York

Dear Ms. Hecht,

If we judge your message by the tears in the eyes of the students or the words they spoke throughout the day, it was clear that you and Lost Boy, Kuek Biar, made a lasting impression on our student body. For me personally, I was most struck by your question, “And how many of you have heard about the genocide of Southern Sudan?” A biting answer about our mass media. And of course about the absence of bitterness and the genuine plea of Kuek.
The first assembly was especially moving.

Frankly, I hope this results in action…and perhaps contributions to the Alliance as well. In the words of William Sloan Coffin, there is a difference between sentimentality and love. Love calls us to action.
Many thanks for your efforts. I hope we can keep in touch.

Peg Breen, Teacher


Jennifer Hollingsworth

Flemming Island High School
Orange Park, Fl.

The students at our school really enjoyed the presentation by Joan Hecht and the Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan. Before the presentation, many had not heard the story of the Lost Boys. They were filled with amazement over what the boys had seen and experienced. They made comments like “I can’t believe that goes on in the world” and “I am so thankful for what I have and where I live”. I feel it really opened their eyes to the world beyond Fleming Island High School. It was wonderful to be able to have Ms. Hecht and these young men speak at our school. Thank you for allowing all of us to hear their story!!


On behalf of myself and my students, thank you to Joan Hecht and the Lost Boys (now gentlemen) who presented to our school two weeks ago. My students are studying language and persuasive communication; awareness of world issues is a critical part of the curriculum. As you know, there is nothing more persuasive than first-hand experience. I think the presentation helped provide a sense of reality to the human suffering my students read about in the newspapers and Internet.

More importantly from my perspective, the gentlemen provided two important life lessons to my rather-privileged students. First, they helped my students realize how blessed they are to live in a country as prosperous, secure and open as America in the 21st century. It is my hope that this recognition will encourage my students to take responsibility to share their blessings with others, rather than arrogantly hoard their gifts. The second lesson was a promise that people can survive and even triumph over horror. While I sincerely hope that none of students will encounter suffering on the scale of Sudan, should the worst occur, maybe they will gain strength from the brave examples set by our visitors from that war-torn country.

Please thank the Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan for their time, honesty, and bravery. It must be a difficult trial to take on the role of model and spokesman, while simply trying to heal and grow as a person. I would imagine there is a temptation to try to forget the whole tragedy. So thank them for opening themselves to us. May the Lord bless and keep them.

Jason Merritt


Flemming Island High School
Orange Park, Fl.


Florida State Community College

Jacksonville, FL

The presentation at FCCJ North Campus regarding the sojourn, trials, tribulations, and triumph of the Lost Boys of Sudan was one of the most captivating stories my wife and I have ever heard or experienced. Children are true gifts from God and we seldom, if ever picture them living through the pain, suffering, death, loneliness, and despair these had to endure. I know that we experienced the whole gamut of emotions during the presentation. The true blessing of the presentation was to actually see some of the young men who lived through this ordeal.

The next time I hear anyone, be they young or old, tell me about their ‘bad hair day’ or how frustrated they are with their situation in the ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave’—I plan to tell them what my wife and I learned about the Lost Boys and what they experienced… that will definitely serve as a wake up call to them and the rest of us to be grateful and thankful for the blessings we take for granted.

Inspiring…emotional…unsettling…the Lost Boys of Sudan presentation reminded us of the cruelty and inhumane behavior we can unleash upon each other as well as the difference that one committed soul can make to improve the lives of those who are less fortunate than we are.
Thank you, again, for the reality check.

Bill Davis

South Campus Dean for Student Success


Mayo Clinic
Jacksonville, Florida

This was an incredible presentation by Joan Hecht and the Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan. I feel as if I am the one that is truly blessed to have the opportunity to meet some of these amazing young men.  Even though what they have gone through was terrifying, their spirit, drive to excel, and never ending smiles were such an inspiration to me and for other attendees.

Linda Gibson

University of West Virginia Parkersburg

This was one of the most inspirational and moving presentations I have ever been to.

Truman Long
Psychology & Sociology Instructor/Chair of the Social Justice Committee

University of West Virginia Parkersburg

I found the presentation to be a transformational experience, one that greatly increased my appreciation for the struggle that has been going on for generations in Sudan.  I also found myself with a whole new perspective on what a hardship really is.  Those that we face here in the US pale in comparison to the life experiences of the Lost Boys of Sudan.   I left the speech feeling that I too could make a difference for those less fortunate than myself.

Chris Clifford
Interim Chief Financial Officer


Field Stone Middle School

Dear Atem, Ajok and Ms. Hecht,

Thank you! Thank
you! I did not expect a presentation that changed my life, but instead I
got an awesome presentation and a life changing one. You may get a
million thank you cards yet none of them cover my, our complete and
utter thanks for your presense at Field Stone Middle School. I sat in my
warm new clothes, well fed after lunch and stared at the screen with
bored eyes. But what met my half-closed eyes was as far from boredom as
it gets! I was intrigued by the height of your appearance and your
story. You amazed me, but what Joan said could have knocked me over
without even seeing you guys. I was amazed by your preserverance. I need
not mention bravery and courage. You both had enough to give to
everyone at Fieldstione Middle School.


Dear Atem and Ajok,

Your story touched my heart, it was truly amazing. Also it is wonderful that you have someone like Joan Hecht to support both of you(and other Lost Boys) through everything. You both showed me how important it is to be thankful for what I have, and now I have learned to be happy with who I am and what I have. You also taught me to dream big and then anything can happen. I congratulate you for delivering your messages so beautifully and again, I thank both of you very much for giving me the opportunity to meet you. I appreciate that you took time to come to our school and talk to us about an extremely difficult issue. I hope the best for both of you.


Dear Joan Hecht,

Your presentation was amazing! It is so nice of you to help so many people learn about the people of Sudan. You are a great example on how to make a difference. You taught me about something I wasn’t aware of and am now fascinated about. Thank you for taking time to teach my school about The Journey of the Lost Boys. I am so thankful you came.