A Teen With a Big Heart


Where do kids find the impulse to start and achieve things that adults think impossible or are afraid to tackle?

Take Carly Zalenski from Canton, OH. At age 12 she decided she wanted to build a school in Vietnam. Nothing less. She put together a powerpoint presentation and started to pitch her vision at Rotary meetings around Canton. Her idea was not welcomed. Can you imagine? Building a school in Vietnam, the former communist country where so many Americans died? And pitched by a 12-year-old.

As unbelievable as it might seems, despite a lot of frustrations, Carly managed to raise half of the money for that school in 18 months, the other half being matched by the Vietnam Children’s Fund. She didn’t stop there and raised additional funds to buy and donate 500 backpacks full of school supplies.

Think about that school again. Whatever is your age and situation right now, would you take up the challenge? How come Carly could start such a thrilling (and scary)  project and not you? No excuses please. There are none. Plenty others could do it.

You may say, “oh, I am not into schools.” Nobody cares. It’s just about you. Research, pick a place and start, that’s all it takes. Along the way people will give a hand, like they did for  Carly. But it all starts from you. If you are sincere, people will join and help your cause, even if it is not for a school. ;)

Via dosomething.org

Feed the Kids and Teach Them


Dominican Milan Tapia had struggled for many years through tough and low income jobs. But Milan never forgot that her parents, even though  poor, taught her to read. Her dream was to create a school for kids in her city, San Pedro de Macoris. Through  Esperanza, a non-profit created by former baseball player David Valle, which funded the building, Milan’s school teaches now as many as 400 hundred students who get a free lunch. Often it is their only meal of the day. Via rd.com

Where You Come From Doesn’t Matter


Priti, a young woman from India ranked 92th in a national exam. Well that’s about it. It wouldn’t even  make  the news in some parts of the world but in India, it is big news. First, this exam is the Union Public Service Commission examination, a very difficult test with a lot of hopefuls and very few chosen to join what is called the elite IAS (Indian Administrative Service.)

Second, Priti is from a small village,  near the unfortunate city of Bhopal, where her father is a daily wage labourer. But Priti, even though the odds of succeeding where stacked against her, soldiered on, tutoring kids to earn money for school and having relatives chip in.  You can guess now that the whole village of Sehore is proud of her. She is also a role model for other girls. See, everything is about perspective. Via hindustantimes.com and ndtv.com

Jeremy Hockenstein (Canadian Social Entrepreneur)


He visited Cambodia as a tourist and thought he could help local people who were learning computer skills but couldn’t find a job. He founded there a non-profit company that works like a business and helps the poorest Cambodians find better jobs and upgrade their skills. The company, Digital Divide Data has now expanded to Laos and Vietnam. Via montrealgazette.com

Dinah Adonis (UK Nurse)


Newly arrived in Pretoria, South Africa, it didn’t take long for her to understand the needs of poor children. She quickly set up a self financed soup kitchen with aftercare and homework assistance for 300 children. Via The Times

Balthazar Pineda (US Marine & Penpal)

by on February 16, 2009
in Education, USA


In Iraq, he received a letter from Jacob Poehls, an 8-year-old from Colorado who has a learning disability. He motivated him in becoming his penpal. Since then, Jacob ability to read and write has tremendously improved. Via msnbc.com

Francis Kigobe (Ugandan Librarian)


Far in the countryside in Malongwe, he wanted to create a library. People told him he was nuts and nobody would come. He went ahead because he knew how important reading was to get better opportunities in life. Via New Vision

Abdul Lutaaya (Ugandan Student)

by on February 3, 2009
in Education, Teens, Uganda


He loved to play music and was saved by it. He decided to take kods out of the streets by having play in a band. Not only do they perfom well but also quit drugs and graduate from school. Via New Vision

Randy Wilt (US Senior Student)

by on January 28, 2009
in Education, Seniors


At 79, he finally got his High School diploma in North Canton, Ohio. It took 6 years and even a heart attack couldn’t stop him. Via CantonRep.com

Dustin Carter (US High School Student)

by on January 26, 2009
in Education, Sports, USA


A rare blood desease claimed his four limbs. In Ohio, this didn’t stopped him to become a Top 16 wrestler in his age category. Via 3news.co.nz

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