Wednesday, April 13, 2011

If They Can Do It, You Can Do It Too!

Meet Jenny Ly standing in the middle of the picture. She is a 20-year old full-time nursing student and a manager at a women's shoe store from Long Beach, California. In her free time, she also fights global poverty by working as a volunteer coordinator at Poly High School for The Borgen Project. The young activist got involved with the organization on a trip to Washington last summer and decided to start a club at her high school in January to promote the cause of downsizing poverty. Like The Borgen Project that works to fight global poverty and hunger through advocacy, the club works to mobilize teens to support the cause through various initiatives.

So, what does Ly's club at Poly usually do? Ly and a few student volunteers meet on campus each Monday for about an hour to figure out what they can do to fight poverty. They usually start their weekly session by making a few calls to state lawmakers including Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Rep. Laura Richardson. Then they write letters to editors, make informational YouTube videos and plan fundraisers.

Although the students get school credit for community service hours, for them this volunteering has become more than just performing community service. As Chris Korkos said, "It's a pretty noble cause because it fights poverty," and Andrew Reker added, "And you're cutting out the middle man by calling (lawmakers) yourself. You're getting off your butt and doing something," we can surely see how important this volunteering has become for these teens.

Right now Ly's club has few members, but she is hoping that the club will branch out to other high school and college students soon. The Borgen Project has volunteer programs in colleges, but according to Ly, the club at Poly is the only of its kind to reach out to high school students. So, if any of you are interested in joining Ly's club or starting a new one to spread The Borgen Project's message, you should do it right now. "I want them to know that just because they're not old enough to vote yet doesn't mean they can't make a difference," said Ly. I have to admit I totally agree with her.

-Nisha Noor