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.
Over the holiday season, I dedicated 12 Days of giving back to my community. I've sent holiday mail to soldiers, donated 12 inches of my hair, Christmas caroled to seniors at a nursing home, donated gifts to children at a local hospital and much more. My goal was to make a difference in today's society for the better and to inspire those around me to join in on becoming the change. 110% of passion is all it takes to complete your goal and that satisfaction is guaranteed!
I am using my VOICE to help people all over the world. Since the age of 7, I have raised $140 for the Youth World Evangelism Action (YWEA), an international youth-led fundraising campaign and over $300 dollars baking cupcakes for the relief efforts in Haiti after the devastating earthquake. 'Nat's Sweet Treats' was born in the summer of 2011. My greatest inspiration is my faith in God and my parents. I am a motivational speaker and also the 2012 EPNET Young Entrepreneur Rising Star and the recent author of 'Nat's Inspirational Treats'. My goals are to become a best-selling author and to use my philanthropy to help others, locally and overseas. My motto is: You're never to YOUNG to expand your ideas!
Without passion, I believe, nothing can be achieved. I was 10 when I first got involved in the conservation world. It started when a teacher at my school took me birding - that was when I first fell in love with birds. With the support of my family I did fundraising for a local, endangered bird - the bearded vulture - and my passion for conservation grew! Now I not only focus on birds but many other animals as well. I have been able to make a difference through my non-profit organisation, Four Elements Conservation (www.fourelementsconservation.org). This experience has taught me that there is no age limit on following your dreams and that with a little bit of passion (determination and hard work) you can achieve anything.
After learning how children across seas have no VOICE, I became infatuated with freeing them and allowing them to be seen as people, not inanimate objects. I started by making and selling bracelets in return for a donation. After just one year, I managed to raise a couple thousand dollars! Today, I have become aware of the under privileged families within the gta. Things like diapers, clothes, and strollers are luxuries to these families; therefore, I organize movie nights, drop offs, and community events to raise money or items that can be distributed to centres or to individual families. I take pride in collecting the money, and shopping for the items myself. I also help with Eco groups, charities with my school, cancer societies and more.
After facing bullying over the years & after finding the inner strength to overcome it, I came to a conclusion that it helps you so much to have self-confidence at a younger age. I spend my time volunteering for many organizations where I get to interact with children like the Vancouver Children's Festival & another event, The Cloverdale Rodeo, where I worked in the Kid Zone. For them, seeing a teenage girl my age doing more than what the media portrays gave a lot of kids hope in being involved in their community, whereas before, they thought their voices were small and unheard. As for bullying, I specifically work as a Red Cross Youth Facilitator to redefine respect and re-installed confidence where it always should be: in their heart.
This past summer, my best friend and I were privileged enough to go on a mission trip with our church for a week. On the trip we stayed in a chapel, met tons of other teenagers similar to us from across the United States, learned more about our religion, and had about 40 hours worth of volunteering with different organizations. My favorite experience from the trip was when I was serving food at a food pantry. I met a 6 year old boy who was the happiest kid I have ever met- he had the cutest little dimples. No matter how rough his life at home was, he was able to look past that and value the little things in life.