While trekking through Nepal, 23-year-old Jim Ziolkowski witnessed a small village celebrating the opening of its first school. Fundamentally moved, Ziolkowski returned to the United States and founded buildOn, a nonprofit dedicated to building schools in developing countries. Here's the twist: buildOn's volunteer team is made up almost entirely of American inner-city youths. In a two-part program, the organization seeks not only to increase global literacy but also to introduce disadvantaged teens to civic engagement. American students participate in after-school service programs and travel to developing nations to aid the school-building effort.
Volunteers for buildOn boast a graduation rate of 95 percent, even in cities like Chicago where only half of all students graduate high school. And, in nations like Haiti, where 80 percent of the population live below the poverty line, more than 400 schools have been built. buildOn has already helped more than 60,000 students attend school.
Tags: 2011-december and do-good
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