Former Student wins Prudential Spirit of Community

 

Carly Button

State Honoree

Carly Button, 14, of Waialua, Hawaii, an eighth-grader at Hawaii Technology Academy in Waipahu, co-founded a nonprofit organization in 2008 that has raised more than $35,000 to help disadvantaged children around the world. The impetus for Carly’s “Dream of a Better World” was her mother’s diagnosis of breast cancer. “We were motivated because of how hard it was for us to get through the cancer with my mom, so we wanted to help people who were going through a tough time,” she said. Carly, with the help of her siblings, first created and sold cookbooks to raise money to fight breast cancer, and then sold baked goods, set up lemonade stands, and conducted a garage sale. As word of her fund-raising spread, people started sending Carly checks in the mail. Some of the money has been used to provide a scholarship to a girl who lost a parent to cancer, buy backpacks full of school supplies for homeless children in Hawaii, and give horseback lessons to children of deployed military personnel.

Carly’s eyes were opened to needs outside the U.S. during a trip with her father to Uganda. Since then, she and her team members have raised $10,000 to buy a van for a Ugandan orphanage that cares for children with HIV/AIDS, and helped an orphanage in Mexico with the donation of books and money to install a solar water heating system. Carly said her current goal is to raise $100,000 by the time her fifth- grade sister graduates from high school. “You’re never too young, or too old, to dream of a better world,” she said.

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