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What Can We Do?

         A few weeks ago, humanitarian Hugh Evans inspired FA students and staff with his empowering presentation about world poverty. As co-founder and CEO of the Global Poverty Project, Hugh also founded the Oaktree Foundation and was a leader in the Australian Make Poverty History campaign. In honor of his extensive international work and commitment to the betterment of global society, he was named 2004 Young Australian of the Year and 2005 Junior Chambers Young Person of the World. Hugh discovered his passion for service early in life, thanks in part to his visiting several slums in India and Thailand at the age of fifteen. He describes this experience as “having turned my world upside down;” it opened his eyes to the issue of extreme poverty and affected him profoundly. With determination, perseverance and dedication to the problems facing our world, Hugh managed to start several organizations that have gone on to impact millions of lives on a global stage, and he is hoping to impact billions more.

The Global Poverty Project aims to end world poverty in our generation by motivating as many people as possible to join the cause. There are 1.4 billion people in the world living in extreme poverty, and therefore the project stresses 1.4 billion reasons to act. One of the main themes of their traveling presentation is “What can we do?” It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the size of this issue, and, especially as high school students, it seems that we individually are insignificant. However, Hugh Evans was once our age, and did not have any more connections or resources than we do. He simply took the initiative, and started small. Here is a list of a few things that we can do in our community to make a difference. They don’t require volunteer applications, have no age requirements, and do not take up hours of your already limited free time.

1) If you are ever writing an essay or doing research on the computer and happen to feel like a few minutes of procrastination is necessary, go on freerice.com (instead of playing Temple Run or Angry Birds). This website donates 10 grains of rice to hungry people in third world countries for every question you answer correctly in their interactive games. It takes about 10 seconds to rack up 100 grains of rice, so imagine what 2 minutes can do!

2) As students, Google is often our best friend, providing the answers for just about everything we need to know. Next time you need information, try goodsearch.com. It’s a search engine powered by Yahoo that donates money to your favorite charity every time you look something up or online shop. Requiring minimal effort, it’s a very convenient way to give.

3) We all have TONS of old clothing that either doesn’t fit or is out of style. Instead of letting it just sit in the back of the closet, consider taking it to those huge clothing drop bins that are often in the parking lots of supermarkets. Better yet, Big Brother Big Sister comes to you, and collects much more than clothing to distribute to needy people in the community.

4) The holidays are a cheerful and festive time for those of us who are lucky enough to be able to fully enjoy them, but many children on Long Island go without gifts year after year. Around Christmastime, religious or social centers usually have programs in place where a family is paired with a child’s holiday wish list that cannot be fulfilled without outside help. These kids ask for simple gifts that are easy to add to the cart when you holiday shop for all of your other friends. It’s an awesome feeling to have made the holidays brighter for a needy boy or girl by simply buying one more toy.

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