The Do Something! Awards honor celebrities for their honorable, charitable work, but the grand prize of the evening, the actual “Do Something Award” goes to one of five young people under the age of 25 that you may not have heard of before. These five finalists have worked their butts off to create a better world around them, and we’d like to show you exactly what they’ve done in their young lives. In our DSA profiles, check out the amazing work of Katia Gomez (above) and her cause, Educate2Envision, and after the jump, you can see the accomplishments of Manyang Reath Kher, Seth Maxwell, Meg Bourne, and Danny Mendoza. Then go to the Do Something! Awards homepage to place your vote, or simply follow our instructions below to text in your vote for your favorite do-gooder before polls close on Sunday night. Tune in on August 21st at 9pm EST, to see which one will win a $100,000 grant for their work.
Katia Gomez: Educate2Envision
Text KATIA to 38383 To Vote For Katia’s Cause
Katia grew up in a single parent home where her mother always found time and money for Katia’s education. While on a volunteer trip to Honduras, the third poorest country in Latin America, Katia saw the effects of a young population in extreme poverty, where almost half of the population is 16 years and younger and over half of all Honduras survive on only $2 a day. Katia took her own passion for education and created Educate2Envision to provide education for youth of Honduras, and show the opportunities that education can bring. Educate2Envision is working in three remote communities in Honduras where she has brought secondary education to over 450 students.
Seth Maxwell: The Thirst Project
Text SETH to 38383 To Vote For Seth’s Cause
Seth was a 19-year-old acting student in Los Angeles when a brief meeting with a friend who’d just returned from Africa changed the course of his life forever. Upon learning that almost one billion people lack access to clean water and that water-borne illnesses account for more than 80% of all global disease, he gave up acting to focus on water education. The Thirst Project is a movement of young people who are raising awareness of and bringing solutions to the global water crisis. Combining outreach and water well implementation, The Thirst Project has completed 788 freshwater development projects across the globe and reached 250,000 American students with its eye-opening educational programs.
Manyang Reath Kher: Humanity Helping Sudan
Text MANYANG to 38383 To Vote For Manyang’s Cause
Manyang’s earliest memories are of war, dead bodies, and of his own uncle trying to save his life. At age 3 Manyang became a refugee of the Sudanese civil war. He is one of The Lost Boys, a group of 20,000 boys who were displaced and orphaned. Manyang’s father was one of the two and a half million people killed and he was separated from his mother and sister. For 13 years he lived in refugee camps along the Sudanese and Ethiopian border, where homelessness, hunger, fear, and abuse were part of his everyday life. At age 17 Manyang was brought to American where he learned English and eventually enrolled in college. He started Humanity Helping Sudan to improve the lives of Sudanese refugees and attempt to battle the problems of an entire displaced population. Humanity Helping Sudan runs on the ground programs at refugee camps where they provide fishing nets, agricultural programs, and community gardens, reaching 40,000 displaced people.
Meg Bourne: Art Feeds
Text MEG to 38383 To Vote For Meg’s Cause
At age 19, Meg created Art Feeds to promote creative healing and encourage development in children who were disabled or had experienced trauma. On May 22nd of 2011 Meg’s life changed forever, when at 5:41 pm one of the largest tornadoes in America’s history ripped through Meg’s hometown of Joplin, Missouri. The EF-4 tornado left a six-mile path of devastation with 162 people dead and 7,500 homes destroyed. Two children from Meg’s art classes were killed and Meg lost her own home, as well as the Art Feeds van from where she worked. The Art Feeds programs were needed in Joplin more than ever before and Meg has now worked with over 800 volunteers and 8,000 children.
Danny Mendoza: Together We Rise
Text DANNY to 38383 To Vote For Danny’s Cause
While in college, Danny learned that his 9 year old cousin, Roger, was living in a car. After lots of maneuvering Danny helped him move from the Honda to a house, but was deeply disturbed by the little control Roger had over his own situation. Danny took action and created Together We Rise, a youth led organization dedicated to running programs that not only bring a sense of normalcy and stability to children in foster care, but also allow foster children to make their own choices. Through programs like music lessons, mentoring, sports and athletics, resume building, and job-readiness, Together We Rise provides the resources for foster kids to prepare for success at age 18 when they are kicked out of the foster care system, and left to fend for themselves. With the help of Danny and Together We Rise they have reached 3,000 foster care youth through these programs, providing a better opportunity for long-term success.