Have you ever had a cause you
care about, whether it’s ending cyber-bullying or saving endangered species,
but not known how to get involved? Have
you ever wanted to help those less fortunate, in your community or worldwide,
but felt helpless about how to do it?
Sami Kerker, a 17-year-old
from Delray Beach, Fla., knows that many teens would love to help those in
need, if only given the information and opportunity. That’s why she started Students for the
Students for the Poor is “a
club that I created with the Palm Beach County school district and the
organization Food For The Poor to raise awareness of poverty on a local,
national, and international level,” Sami explains. Currently, there are 28 clubs – one in each
high school in Palm Beach County.
So, how did it all
start? Tie-dye. Well, kind of.
For a school project, Sami
decided to start a tie-dye business, which became a huge success – Sami made $7,000! With the money, she took a trip to Nicaragua
with her mom to help build a home for a family there.
When she got back, one friend
asked if she had added the family she helped on Facebook. In her words, Sami’s first thought was,
“Facebook friends? They don’t even have
running water or electricity!” That’s
when she got inspired to start a club to educate teens about poverty and get
them involved in the cause.
Putting it together
Sami spent her summer creating
a plan for the club, and then presented her idea to a meeting of the high
school principals in her district. They
all signed up to have the club at their school.
Getting their support was a great start, but she still needed to get
She promoted Students for the
Poor at her school’s club rush. Sami explains,
“I was the new club on campus, so I was stuck in the corner with my little
posters. And I was really nervous
because I did all of this hard work. What happens if no one signs up?”
Turns out, Sami had nothing
to worry about. The first meeting was originally scheduled in a classroom. But
when over 250 kids showed up, they had to move to a much larger space to accommodate
everyone who was interested in taking part.
Hitting the big time
The students have done all
kinds of projects this year, including working at a soup kitchen and painting
homes for Habitat for Humanity. But their
biggest event was a benefit concert, which ended up having over 1,000
guests. From the concert, Sami explains,
“We raised money to sponsor 60 students to actually travel to Nicaragua and
live, breath and sleep in a third-world country next year over spring
Next year’s goal? To work
even harder so she can send more students abroad. “It’s nowhere near the end of
my project,” she says. “It’s only the beginning.”
“I’m only 5’2”,” Sami says, “and
I know I’m not very tall, I’m not very big in this world, but helping one
family, one neighborhood and one community at a time, I know that one day I
will impact the world.”
Sami has been recognized for
the impact she’s making. She was named a
National Honoree at the Prudential Spirit of Community awards, a yearly program
that recognizes middle level and high school students for outstanding community
service. Being recognized as a National
Honoree makes her one of America’s Top 10 Youth Volunteers for 2012. Awesome!
If you want to start a
Students for the Poor club at your school, Sami says you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
and she will help ya get the ball rollin’.
For more information on the
Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and how to apply, click here.
BY MARIE HANSEN ON 7/22/2012 12:00:00 AM
POSTED IN Get Inspired, do gooder