When I was in ninth grade, I realized that cancer kills more people in Africa than HIV and other diseases put together. That is when I established a childhood cancer awareness foundation, The RS&I Foundation with a friend of mine. We realized that once the children start their treatment, their education comes to a complete stop. That is when we started fundraising and soon we, with other cancer organizations had opened a library at one of the public hospitals in Nairobi. We are now starting the project in Ethiopia. That is how I'm using my VOICE!
I use my VOICE in helping pediatric patients. In 2012, I shaved my head for cancer patients. Since then, community service has been a huge part of my life. I have made over 500 cards for cancer patients, have raised over $1000 for research and have spoken about my community service at numerous events. I've done many other small projects as well. I have hundreds of community service hours. Currently, I am working on my biggest project yet - The Give Love Hope Project which I hope to make into an organization. The project brings activity bags to children in the hospital, I've given gifts to over 100 patients and plan on extending to other hospitals. My dream is to run an organization and be remembered as someone who made a difference.
I use my VOICE in Kenya and Africa at large to help the girl child against discrimination, early and forced marriages, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and gender inequality. I was raised in a humble family and having lost my mother at a tender age of 9 years, I have been able to look at life from diverse angles. I have fought for my education and that is why I just want to see girls succeed too because nothing is more important than investing in a girl child. I have been able to rescue several girls from FGM and early marriages and spearheaded fundraisers to get young girls back to class through Girl Rising Organization. I am a girls' activist, that is my second name because I am girl and I know what it is to be a girl.
I'm using my VOICE to help kids with cancer. Ever since my cousin passed away from cancer at a young age I knew there was something I had to do. Due to my own medical condition I am unable to look at blood without fainting so I was really limited in ways to help. Thankfully, I found a place called Sunrise Day Camp. A camp for kids with cancer and their siblings. I have volunteered there for 5 summers now and couldn't be happier. These kids have inspired me so much and I now have hopes of combining my passions of volunteering and dancing to open a dance studio for kids with cancer and their siblings as well. Like Sunrise, the studio would be free of charge and run mostly by volunteers. As much as I want to make a difference in their lives, they have made more a difference in mine.
Ever since I was a little girl, Shaun Robinson has shown me the power we hold in our lives and the positive difference we can make in this world. This belief led me to take part in creating LEV Generation, an offshoot of The LEV Foundation where I raise awareness about drunk and/or distracted driving through empowering our youth to lead productive and balanced lifestyles. Shaun used her voice to inspire me and I am using my voice to empower others. As the ambassador of One Girl One Voice, my goal is to celebrate other socially responsible girls who take the pledge to use their own voice for positive change. Be the change YOU wish to see in the world. Everyone has a story. Let your voice be heard and share how you are giving back!
For as long as I can remember the state of Israel has always been near and dear to my heart. My love of Judaism became intertwined with my love for the State of Israel this past summer when I was visiting Israel with a friend during the Israel Gaza conflict. When I arrived back home from my trip, I noticed a rapid spread of anti-semitism worldwide. I wanted to promote Jewish pride and help raise funds for my brothers in Israel. I created a clothing company by the name "Homies of Israel" and began spreading my pro-Peace movement as fast as I could. I donated portions of the proceeds to the Friends of the IDF, Israeli Red Cross, and an orphanage based in Jerusalem. I am proud to say that I used my VOICE to make a difference in the world!
I use my VOICE to help girls in Tanzania have access to a valuable and essential education. By assisting in building a school for orphans, I hope to better the lives of these girls by paving the way for them to take hold of their right to an education. I also use my VOICE to speak out for the girls in Qatar who feel subjected to and oppressed by the stereotypical gender roles their society enforces, and I try to empower them to be strong women. I have recently become involved with Girl Up and look forward to starting the first club in Qatar, where I can get people involved in helping girls in third world countries pursue leadership positions, make them count, help them get an education, and work torwards solving a variety of other issues.
I am using my VOICE to empower girls to raise their voices, as I raise mine. I run a blog called www.teenfeminist.com, which is about feminism from a teenage perspective. I use this blog to give other girls the confidence to speak out about issues that affect them and those around them. From this experience, I have learned that people want to hear from teens, because they are new voices with unique, innovative perspectives. Teens shouldn't be afraid to speak up, as people will listen.
I'm using my VOICE as an advocate against bullying. Bullying is an international issue among society and the community. A lot of individuals are brought down because of the negative words they're given. Many people don't know how others feel and what their story is. I have been bullied in the past, thus I know how it feels like and it isn't a good feeling. In my 8th grade school year, I volunteered to speak at the Anti-Bullying assemblies to get the word out about it. I wasn't the only one standing. I had a couple others who felt the same. Bullying isn't okay. My goal was to help at least one person. To inspire that one person to speak up and do the right thing. You may not be able to help everyone, but everyone could help someone.
I use my VOICE to read to elementary school students. Either through my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., or my own initiatives I enjoy reading and assisting elementary school students in my community. I also participate in community canned food, book and clothing drives to donate to non profit organizations. It is so important to connect with young girls and be a mentor and role model--someone who they can aspire to be.
I am using my VOICE to help literacy. I started 'Rescue a Book' where I accept donations of used or new books and I donate them to schools, libraries and hospitals in the area. My project reaches out to non-profit organizations. Once books are donated, they are sorted out and boxed together. They then go to a charity in need. The goal is to reach out to as many organizations as possible. I have collected, sorted and donated over 3000 books to 20 wonderful organizations. You can read more about my project at www.rescueabook.org.
I am using my VOICE to help educate people about the benefits of kidney donation. I am a junior ambassador for The National Kidney Foundation's Donor Awareness Program. My dad has had a kidney transplant so I am helping people learn about what he has been through and why they should become organ donors. Organ donation is one of the greatest gifts you can give! Every day I have with my dad is a blessing and I am so grateful and now I am educating others!
My VOICE is being used to help women and girls in Africa. I have always been challenged by the reality of the plight of the African women and girls since I matured. After graduating from Kampala University, together with my friends decided to start a Charity called "Women And Children's Empowerment Network in Africa" in the year 2008. The problems of the rural women and children are quite invisible to the outside world and media. So, through our programs like reproductive health, women and children' rights, education, livelihood development, legal aid, and others, we have been able to make a huge difference. I believe that the women and girls are the prime custodians of their success! Indeed, we can change the world for better! May we raise our voices together! www.wacenauganda.wordpress.com
Keeping an eye to the future, Addy has done multiple things to use her VOICE and make her community better. During a festival that drew over 50,000 people to her community in Nebraska, Addy organized and executed a project that collected over two tons of plastic recyclable material. She is currently working on implementing a weekend food program for youth in need in her community through the school and ministerial association. Addy has also written two books, an anti-bullying book, "Silly Sally and the Bad Hair Day," and a book helping children with siblings with autism called, "What's Wrong with Eli?" Proceeds from the book will benefit the Nebraska Autism Spectrum Network. Addy always has new ideas to help, entertain and inform.