If you want to learn more about my cause, check out the following...
Click here to watch a video I made about my cause at age eleven.
Click here to hear a news story from News Channel 9's Pay it Forward 2015.
Click here to watch a video I made about the solar USB device charging stations I installed at my school and a partner school in Haiti.
Or Google 'Erin Manuel for Haiti' for more articles.
When I was seven, a devastating earthquake struck the country of Haiti. Viewing images of the destruction over my mom’s shoulder on our computer, I was heartbroken. I ran to my room, dumped my piggy bank out onto my bed, and handed its entire contents of $3.08 to my mom with the instruction to “give this to Haiti.” That was the beginning of a story I’ve been telling for years.
I began raising money by selling my artwork at the local farmers market every Saturday, determined to help out two educational and medical organizations working in Haiti: Partners in Health and the What If? Foundation. I spent six years of Saturdays at that farmers market, raising over $18,000 in total. Since then, I've been able to visit Haiti twice, experiment with renewable energy, and branch out to working with PEG Partners, an education program working in Guatemala.
If I’ve learned one thing from doing this work, it’s that everyone can make a difference. If a seven-year-old with three dollars can, so can you.
Into the Future
Apathy towards issues of social justice usually stems from a lack of education about the world or a feeling of powerlessness. It’s everywhere: schools, workplaces, and in our relationships with others.
I’m addressing this issue by writing a children’s book that features underrepresented characters and stories—telling a side of the story that we don’t often hear. This book will be in the form of I-Statements: “When you said _____, it made me feel_____” in both positive and negative connotations from a wide variety of people. For example, “when you use ‘gay’ as an insult, it makes me feel like I don’t exist,” or “it makes me feel so happy when people speak to me and not to my disability.” To accomplish this, I want to share the stories of real people: my friends from a leadership program; my family; myself; anyone who would be willing to share their experiences. Click here to share your story.
"You are changing the world whether you like it or not.
So which changes will you make?"
David LaMotte, author of World Changing 101 and founder of PEG Partners
Where there is poverty, there is also great hope.
It is my hope that my projects inspire others to take the plunge and take action. Everyone has a passion, and everyone has the power to make a difference. Although the first step is the scariest, it doesn't have to be hard. What do you want to accomplish?
No child should have to grow up in poverty. Children are our future, and they need to be valued as such. Every child has the right to learn, grow, and have fun, no matter what race, religion, or ethnicity they are. It is time to put our differences aside, and push for this equal opportunity for all.