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At Chapman, almost everything is branded. The university’s campus is decked in cardinal and grey, flags bearing the seal are masted, even the bleachers are clearly stated: we are Chapman. Greek life walks around with their letters proudly visible, athletes have their practice clothes as second skin, art students carry around portfolios and boxes filled with their medium of choice.

We are Greek life. We are athletes. We are artists.

I didn’t have much. Actually, I had nothing. I was an English major, I didn’t get involved, I stopped playing sports. Nothing really defined me.

Spring semester of freshman year, my friend Leanna had convinced me to come to a club meeting for a non-profit she was a part of in Aspen that joined with communities in Uganda to meet their local needs. Action in Africa helps to improve schools and libraries in the community by helping to establish a sustainable education and healthcare system. They also work to sponsor children of various ages and are in the process of buying land for landscaping projects.

Patrick, one of the original students sponsored through Action in Africa. Proud head boy at St. Johnson’s Primary School with a smile that puts all stress to a complete stop.

After a first few meetings I was hooked. I knew I wanted to be a part of this because even though we are a small group, we are passionate. Cut to two years later and Action in Africa is hosting an event with Modify Watches and People Water as our first fundraiser of 2012. The Chapman chapter of Action in Africa has become an important part of my life and has influenced my involvement and support of other non-profits. Through the stress and chaos of turning in paperwork to organizing tabling and fundraising, I’ve made some of my best friends and have been able to meet some of the most inspiring people.

The backbone to Action in Africa is to educate, inspire, and empower. I’m a firm believer in the saying “May the works I’ve done speak for me.” I want to be defined not only by what I learn about myself but how I impact other’s lives. I am excited to finally be able to sponsor a child this year and start saving for my trip to Uganda in 2014. I can finally cross off number 26 from the bucket list and work on 32.

Here’s to the jar of money housing my future.

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