Kids These Days! (Part 1)

Posted by Monique Dubos on June 23rd 2009 in Organizations, Volunteers Edit

2009 Rock Stars of Social Change. Photo Courtesy | DoSomething.org

DoSomething.org was founded to dispel the myth that teenagers are apathetic, using “the power of the internet to help young people change the world,” and for 16 years has been empowering them with money and tools to do good work. Each week the organization gives two $500 grants, one for seed projects and one for disaster relief. Each year, it gives $10,000 grants to several young finalists whose vision and effort have really made a difference. A grand prize is awarded to one of those finalists to continue their work. On June 4, 2009, Maggie Doyne won $100,000 for her Kopila Valley Children's Home in Nepal, which she built using babysitting money. The other 2009 finalists — the rock stars of social change — are Marvelyn Brown, David Burstein, Eric Glustrom, and Darius Weems. Read on to learn the awesome stories of these young people.

Maggie Doyne ― Kopila Valley Children's Home

Maggie with residents of Kopila Valley Children's Home. Photo | Kayla Sponza.

A vision, a shovel and a stash of babysitting money was all Maggie needed to build a children’s home in Nepal. At the end of her senior year in high school, Maggie says, she took what was supposed to be a year off to travel to learn her purpose in the world. She stopped at an orphanage in India where she had been told volunteers were needed. From there she traveled to Nepal, where she met hundreds more street children without the most basic necessities. “I’d seen orphanages that were causing more problems than helping,” Maggie said, where kids are more susceptible to disease than they are on the streets. “They come out with no skills and end up right back on the streets.” She resolved to build a children’s home, and talked to everyone who would listen about how to make that happen. She then identified a piece of land in a valley beside a stream. When she found out the asking price ― $5,000, exactly the amount she had in the bank — she knew it was meant to be. Twenty-six orphans, aged 3 to 10, now live at the Kopila Home. They learn sewing, gardening and husbandry, skills they will need in their region of Nepal, where subsistence farming is the norm.

Marvelyn Brown — Marvelous Connections

At 19, Marvelyn and her friends didn’t have a care in the world. She had a good time dating a guy from work. That is, until he infected her with HIV. When HIV had been discussed in high school, Marvelyn had shrugged off the information, thinking that it was an infection reserved for drug users and prostitutes. So when an unrelated hospital visit prompted tests that came up positive for HIV, she was shocked. Marvelyn met others who were infected and realized she “wasn’t the only one who had missed the information” about HIV. As word of her diagnosis spread quickly from friends out into the community, she understood the impact her story could have on other young people. “I realized the power of my voice,” she says. These days, as the head of her own consulting agency, Marvelous Connections, she goes into “high schools, colleges, universities, churches, sweet 16 parties, anywhere I can get the word out” because, she says, young people need an example. “They need to see someone who has it, how easily they can get it, that it’s not the image that you think.” The Marvelous Connections tour aims to reduce the stigma of HIV and influencing 5,000 students to get informed and tested.

Marvelyn with fans after speaking on HIV/AIDS awareness to a public open forum in Charleston, SC. Photo Courtesy | Marvelyn Brown/Do Something.org

Kopila Valley Children's Home
Marvelous Connections

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