2012 DO SOMETHING AWARD FINALISTS
Each year, Do Something honors an elite group of young would-changers. This year, we will be awarding four Finalists with $10,000 grants and one Grand Prize Winner with $100,000 for their community project or organization. We're thrilled to announce our five finalists below.
Katia Gomez, 24
San Leandro, CAEducate2Envision
Katia grew up in a single parent home where her mother always found time and money for Katia’s education. While on a volunteer trip to Honduras, the third poorest country in Latin America, Katia saw the effects of a young population in extreme poverty, where almost half of the population is 16 years and younger and over half of all Honduras survive on only $2 a day. Katia took her own passion for education and created Educate2Envision to provide education for youth of Honduras, and show the opportunities that education can bring. Educate2Envision is working in three remote communities in Honduras where she has brought secondary education to over 450 students.
Manyang Reath Kher, 23
Manyang’s earliest memories are of war, dead bodies, and of his own uncle trying to save his life. At age 3 Manyang became a refugee of the Sudanese civil war. He is one of The Lost Boys, a group of 20,000 boys who were displaced and orphaned. Manyang’s father was one of the two and a half million people killed and he was separated from his mother and sister. For 13 years he lived in refugee camps along the Sudanese and Ethiopian border, where homelessness, hunger, fear, and abuse were part of his everyday life. At age 17 Manyang was brought to American where he learned English and eventually enrolled in college. He started Humanity Helping Sudan to improve the lives of Sudanese refugees and attempt to battle the problems of an entire displaced population. Humanity Helping Sudan runs on the ground programs at refugee camps where they provide fishing nets, agricultural programs, and community gardens, reaching 40,000 displaced people.
Meg Bourne, 22
At age 19, Meg created Art Feeds to promote creative healing and encourage development in children who were disabled or had experienced trauma. On May 22nd of 2011 Meg’s life changed forever, when at 5:41 pm one of the largest tornadoes in America’s history ripped through Meg’s hometown of Joplin, Missouri. The EF-4 tornado left a six-mile path of devastation with 162 people dead and 7,500 homes destroyed. Two children from Meg’s art classes were killed and Meg lost her own home, as well as the Art Feeds van from where she worked. The Art Feeds programs were needed in Joplin more than ever before and Meg has now worked with over 800 volunteers and 8,000 children.
Danny Mendoza, 23
Chino, CATogether We Rise
While in college, Danny learned that his 9 year old cousin, Roger, was living in a car. After lots of maneuvering Danny helped him move from the Honda to a house, but was deeply disturbed by the little control Roger had over his own situation. Danny took action and created Together We Rise, a youth led organization dedicated to running programs that not only bring a sense of normalcy and stability to children in foster care, but also allow foster children to make their own choices. Through programs like music lessons, mentoring, sports and athletics, resume building, and job-readiness, Together We Rise provides the resources for foster kids to prepare for success at age 18 when they are kicked out of the foster care system, and left to fend for themselves. With the help of Danny and Together We Rise they have reached 3,000 foster care youth through these programs, providing a better opportunity for long-term success.
Seth Maxwell, 24
Los Angeles, CAThe Thirst Project
Seth was a 19-year-old acting student in Los Angeles when a brief meeting with a friend who’d just returned from Africa changed the course of his life forever. Upon learning that almost one billion people lack access to clean water and that water-borne illnesses account for more than 80% of all global disease, he gave up acting to focus on water education. The Thirst Project is a movement of young people who are raising awareness of and bringing solutions to the global water crisis. Combining outreach and water well implementation, The Thirst Project has completed 788 freshwater development projects across the globe and reached 250,000 American students with its eye-opening educational programs.
Amie Sider, 25
Amie was born in a remote fishing village in rural Guatemala to a mother of 18 children who turned to a life of drugs, crime, and prostitution in order to survive. At 6 months, Amie was saved from a life of extreme poverty when she was adopted by a Canadian family. Overwhelmed with her own luck, Amie started Nationwares, to provide employment opportunities to populations who had previously been deemed unemployable because of physical or mental disabilities, HIV/AIDS, and extreme poverty. Amie not only provides opportunities to artisans and craftsmen, but ensures they use local resources to create sustainable products. Nationwares currently has operations in 10 countries and employs over 850 local artisans, many of whom were previously social outcasts and have now become respected leaders in their communities.
Sasha Fisher, 24
New York, NYSpark Microgrants
In 2008 Sasha was in South Sudan helping to build a specialized secondary school for girls, when she witnessed refugees repatriated from refugee camps. She was frustrated with aid-organizations creating a situation of dependency rather than focusing on self-sustaining community improvement. Sasha started Spark MicroGrants to pioneer a new approach to aid through proactive community organizing and granting. Spark MicroGrants works with and in impoverished rural villages to assist community members in the design, implementation and management of their own social impact projects such as schools and water wells. In only a year and a half, Spark MicorGrants has partnered with 21 communities in Rwanda and Uganda impacting over 11,000 people.
Mark Arnoldy, 25
South Boston, MANyaya Health
While visiting Nepal, Mark had a near death experience due to his severe peanut allergy. This gave him a personal look into a common situation for all too many Nepali people who lack sufficient healthcare. Mark joined Nyaya Health with the goal of providing adequate healthcare to the people of far-west Nepal. Nyaya Health partnered with the Nepali government and community and hire, train, and support an all-Nepali hospital and health center staff to create a new standard of health care delivery in Nepal through innovative tools of transparency. Nyaya has treated over 85,000 patients to date through their 25 bed hospital, while employing 125 local Nepali people.
Jaclyn Murphy, 17
Hopewell Jct, NYFriends of Jaclyn
Jaclyn was an active lacrosse-loving 9 year old when she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. During intensive treatment for her tumor, Jaclyn was exhausted, she missed playing lacrosse and her connection with her team. Her coach contacted the Northwestern Women’s Lacrosse Team, asking them to mail Jaclyn a package to brighten her day. The team not only sent Jaclyn a video and package, but also started texting with her during her long days of treatment. The team began dedicating their games to Jaclyn, which lead to their first NCAA championship in 64 years. Jaclyn went on to create Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, with the goal of pairing collegiate sports teams with children who have brain tumors. Friends of Jaclyn has paired 300 children with teams and has a waiting list over 1,000 teams waiting to be paired with a child.
Tyree Dumas, 23
Philadelphia, PADollarBoyz Academy
Growing up in a low-income at-risk community in Philadelphia, Tyree saw most of his peers incarcerated or killed at a young age. Tyree was at risk of becoming a statistic as well when he dropped out of high school in 11th grade because he was bored, wasn’t being challenged, and felt he was capable of so much more beyond school. Tyree started the YNOT Foundation to teach dance classes to kids to keep them safe and off the streets. This grew into the DollarBoyz Dance Crew, creating a new type of local celebrity for other young people to aspire to and admire. Tyree is taking young kids off the streets and helping them realize the importance of using their talents to make a difference in their communities. With the support of local officials, Tyree created a program where at risk youth continue their education while receiving mentoring and job-training. Tyree has worked with over 7,000 young people from Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware.
Scott Warren, 25
Boston, MAGeneration Citizen
Scott was a 10th grader living in Kenya when he witnessed lines of hundreds of people waiting to vote, participating in the democratic system for the country’s first democratic elections. Scott wanted to bring back this desire to participate and be involved in the government to the US, where two-thirds of the population can’t name the three branches of the US government. Scott created Generation Citizen to make civics the most interesting part of a child’s school day by focusing on action, and sharing ideas to help their own community’s most pressing problems. Generation Citizen currently works in Boston, Providence, and New York City working with 3,750 students per year.
Ryland King, 22
Goleta, CAEnvironmental Education for the Next Generation
Growing up, Ryland spent most of his time outdoors, passionate about the environment. As he matured he saw natural sanctuaries threatened by pollution and overdevelopment. Ryland was the first in his family to enroll in college, and determined to make the most of this opportunity he founded Environmental Education for the Next Generation (EENG). EENG links teams of college student-instructors with 1st and 2nd grade classrooms for weekly activities, experiments and discussions that provide real world examples of how to help the environment now. EENG not only provides positive role models but also provides the environmental education that budget cuts often rid of. In the past year, EENG programs were in 95 classrooms working with over 2,300 students.