Not many thirteen year olds convince their parents to let them take a mission trip to the African interior and not many fourteen year olds start global nonprofit organizations.
“Our second week in Kenya was at an orphanage that also had a school. So our job, my Dad and my job was to go around the classroom and help the kids just spell out a small word that had been written up on the blackboard.”
“The very first student I went to help had a really stubby pencil, and it was dull and had a hard time writing. So I was looking for another pencil or pen or even just a pencil sharpener, but nobody had one in the classroom. So and I was looking through my bag, and I didn’t have one either. So we just worked with what we had.”
“Once we finished, I moved on to the next kid, and the kid I had just helped passed their pencil to the kid I was getting ready to help. Every single kid around the table used the same little pencil. I just kept thinking – they’re finally getting to come to school. Their parents are able to get the funds to be able to send them to school, but they don’t have the necessary equipment that they need to learn.”
Amidst the at times staggering needs in Kenya, here was one place where Riley had the sense that she could really do something to make a lasting difference.
“I was thirteen, and so I remember – I have to say – in high school just dragging my feet through that door to go to school. I know I probably complained about everything and these kids are just so thankful and grateful to be sitting in that classroom every day, that they get the opportunity to learn new things, and that they aren’t having to sell fruit or vegetables, or not having to go get water every day.”
“It’s just not always an opportunity over there, and so I thought I can definitely do school supplies. “
Riley Banks-Snyder is the founder of Generation Next, a global nonprofit serving Kenyan kids in need through education opportunities, food ministry, an expansive community center, and more. Her new book is calledOn the Road with Riley Banks-Snyder