"Giving money is not the only way to help."
Karl Roosevelt Smith, 19, of Liberia, volunteers for Educational Youth Empowerment, which helps to educate young people in Liberia.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work did/do you do?
Karl: I am involved with Educational Youth Empowerment, where youth from various communities learn things that they do not normally have the opportunity to learn because their parents cannot afford to send them to school.
What is the name and location of the organization?
Karl: Educational Youth Empowerment (EYE) located in Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa.
Tell us about the project, especially who benefits from this work.
Karl: The project is for youths between the ages of 5 and 21, whose parents cannot afford to send them to school.
What inspired you to get involved?
Karl: I was inspired upon my return from Ghana after the 14 years of civil war in my country Liberia. Youths between the age of 5 - 21 are involved in things that are not acceptable, like stealing, smoking, grambling, etc., due to the 14 years of war that exposed them to such things.
How did you first get involved? Give us some details.
Karl: I first got involved because my friends had money to help me assist those who will go on to teach, and also by the Catholic church.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Karl: Through my influence, many Liberians can boost their education. For that, I feel proud and happy.
What is/was the hardest part?
Karl: Getting the youth together to learn. They are proud to learn, and we are trying our best.
What was the biggest surprise?
Karl: Those that we taught can now teach others, too. For example, to find a 10th grade student you once taught, who is now teaching a 6th grade student, is very surprising.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
Karl: I've had the opportunity to help less fortunate people who haven't had the opportunity to get a formal education. I've also had the opportunity to socialize with them because there is a saying that work without play makes a kid dull!
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Karl: I would like to welcome them, and to let them know that giving money is not the only way to help. If they volunteer in one way or another, that's also a good way you can help your community. I started in my community, and now I'm helping the whole city with this program.
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