A couple weeks ago I posted about Riley Banks, a young lady (today just 17, and still in high school) who is making a profound impact in Kenya. I had a chance to ask her how she got her start.
You’re 17 years old, and you’ve kept pretty busy. How did you come to get so involved with serving in Kenya?
When I was 13 my Uncle Logan and Aunt Julie were serving in Kenya on a medical mission at Tenwek hospital. I thought it would be fun to go for a visit, to my surprise my parents thought it would be a great idea too. I gave up Christmas that year and did some fundraising and off we went! While I was in Kenya I worked in the neo natal unit of the hospital taking care of the newborns and sick babies. I got to spend a week at MOSOP Orphanage where I fell in love with the kids and the people of Kenya. I found a true need just in a pencil as they all shared about a 2 inch pencil to do all their work. When I go back home I knew I could at least find some pencils. That’s when Generation Next was started. To date we have taken over 550 backpacks with school supplies, 1000 hygiene kits for young girls so that they may stay in school. In June of 2013 I opened my first school called Pamoja where I 50 students that I support and in May of 2014 I will be opening a 60 bed orphanage.
What do you think of the “irresponsible teenager” stereotype?
I think that there are a lot of teenagers making a difference. Since starting Generation Next I have met some pretty amazing teens! I feel like everyone is called to serve, but not everyone may be called in their teen years.
You’re graduating high school soon. What comes next?
Well that is a funny one! When my parents helped me start my non profit the deal was I had to go to college. I would love to move to Africa in May after I graduate but I have to hold up my end of the deal 🙂 I have tried every way possible to persuade them differently but they are not budging 🙂
Thanks for chatting with us, Riley.
By the way, college isn’t the end of the world. I hear there’s an interesting book about how to make the most of it.