Rachael Lambin, 18, of Gardnerville, Nev., a high school junior at the JRJ Homeschool in Minden, raised and donated more than $30,000 to purchase land and help build a new school for orphans in one of the largest slums in Kenya, and also organized an effort to collect 2,500 pounds of books for the school. Rachael has been an avid volunteer since she was 6 years old, spearheading community service projects ranging from a river cleanup to awareness campaigns about asthma and obesity. Her most recent endeavor began after she heard a man from Kenya speak at her church about a school in the slums of the Mathare Valley outside of Nairobi that lacked adequate space and resources. "I saw a need and began to act on it," said Rachael. "I was going to find a way to purchase land, build a school, and provide it with books and supplies."
Rachael organized garage sales, sought donations from local businesses and churches, applied for matching funds from other organizations, and donated prize money she won from another volunteer awards program. She then organized a volunteer group to help her collect textbooks, Bibles and school supplies from schools and churches for the Kenyan orphans. Last summer, Rachael traveled to Kenya with her family and church to see the new school building. While there, she helped teach a summer Bible school for 3,000 kids, participated in a symposium for women, and worked in the slums. "I know there are poor people in our own backyard who need help," said Rachael, "but even the poorest of the poor in America are living much better than the average person in Mathare."