The world is a big place. It can be awe inspiring, scary, big, exciting and complex. There are a lot of places, people, groups, and communities outside of our families that need compassion, time, creativity and energy. As a parent, how can you help your kid become an active citizen of the world? With all the conflicts and trouble, how can we show our kids they can make a difference?
In this podcast, we hear from Divya Prakash, a teen from Fremont, California who organized her fellow book lovers to get books in the hands of Kenyan students. Divya Prakash is a high school sophomore from Fremont. A six-time book drive organizer, she is a passionate writer and reader. Divya enjoys long books, practicing sleight-of-hand magic, and learning new languages and information.
From the beginning of our interview, it was clear Divya was an avid reader, a self-described bookworm. Stereotypical bookworms stay inside and read, and get lost in the worlds, in her case the science fiction worlds, created by writers. Not so, this book worm. Divya worked with other book lovers from her high school to run a book drive ,collecting books to be sent to school children in Kenya.
As part of the African Library Project (ALP) (Chaired by Deborah Freedman Lustig, sister of Six Seconds CEO, Josh Freedman), Divya has run six book drives and collected books to be shipped over to Africa to populate libraries there (six time book drive organizer= 6 libraries of 1,000 books each!) So far, ALP has donated 2,033,395 gently used children’s books to 1,942 libraries in Africa.
So, what is the secret to raising humans who see themselves as part of a greater world? Divya says it was her parents’ willingness to discuss issues anytime, anywhere at home. She felt the support from her parents to see herself as a leader and to do something about a problem that was very close to her heart. She also has advice for other young people wanting to step out of their family and immediate social circle and do something bigger: “Find something you’re passionate about, and do that!”
Here is a video of Divya speaking about her project and what it takes to be a leader: