Changing Lives A World Away

 

Kimberly Miranda and the Interact Club (above) watch a video about the third-world children they are helping to nourish through the Peanut Butter Project. PHOTO: Courtesy of Kimberly Miranda


 

By Kimberly Miranda, Coachella Unincorporated

 

A few years ago, my friends and I decided to help nourish children in Africa – and we were able to do so without leaving the Eastern Coachella Valley.

That’s because I am a part of the Interact Club at Indio High School, Rotary International’s youth service club. Our club’s mission is to raise a thousand dollars each year for our Peanut Butter Project. According to Rotary, Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) kills more than 3.5 million children worldwide each year. More children die of SAM each year than of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.

For every $25 our club raises, we are able to provide a child suffering from SAM with a special type of nutrient-rich peanut butter that is used as medicine to treat this disease.

Last year, our fundraisers consisted of car washes and coin drives, but unfortunately we still fell $300 short of our goal. Although we were very happy to have nourished 28 children, we have decided to step up our efforts this school year so we can help more.

We will continue to do the same types of fundraisers, but we also plan to organize food carts, sell club t-shirts, and seek donations.

I’ve been a part of this club for three years now, but I’ve decided to devote more time to it during my senior year, especially now that I am co-treasurer.

I aim to raise more than $1000 this year because we did fall short last year. I didn’t join this club so it would look good on my college applications, but to make a difference in other people’s lives and as well as my own. Although it doesn’t seem like the youth of today cares much at all, in actuality there are those who do. I am proud to say that I am one of them.

During my high school years, I have also been a part of the cross country team and the French Club. Now, I’m beginning a new adventure with Coachella Unincorporated, thanks to a recommendation by Esperanza Navarro, who work for Building Health Communities, another group in which I have participated. My first piece was participating in New America Media’s Diary of Teen Diet project, documenting everything I ate and drank for a 24-hour period.

After doing this project, I found this could be another opportunity for me – a great one, I might add! This is my chance to do something that I greatly enjoy doing – writing — although I haven’t done anything like this since taking a journalism class in middle school.

As I enter my last year in high school, it is gratifying to see all the accomplishments that the Interact Club has made in far-off places like Malawi, Sierra Leone, Mali, Somalia and the Philippines.

I look forward to continuing to help others; and now, as a youth reporter, I can now help by telling the stories of my community.

 

Kimberly Miranda, 17, recently joined the staff of Coachella Unincorporated. She is a senior at Indio High School and lives in Coachella.

 

 

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