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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Samuel Park

Samuel Park

North Carolina

Samuel Park, 12, of Charlotte, N.C., a seventh-grader at Harris Road Middle School, operates a video transfer service to raise funds for orphans in Kenya and Uganda, and delivers e-book libraries Kindles loaded with up to 1,200 titles - to orphanages, schools and youth centers in those countries and South Africa, as well as public schools and youth centers in the United States. Samuel began volunteering when he was in the first grade through his school and church. A few years ago, he met the founder of a ministry that supports orphanages in Kenya and Uganda, and learned how desperate the need is there. I learned how just $40 can support a childs needs for a month, from clothes to daily meals to education, said Samuel.

He wanted to help, but didnt quite know how. Then he discovered how many adults worry about losing precious video footage recorded on degrading VHS tapes, and decided to begin converting them to DVDs and mp4 files to raise money for African children. Two years later, Samuel, an avid reader, was shocked to learn that in many parts of the world, including some areas of the U.S., children do not have ready access to books. He shipped books to Kenya, but to his dismay, many of them were lost or stolen. Samuel then realized I could send thousands of books through an e-reader anywhere around the globe, securely and efficiently, he said. So Samuel loads up to 1,200 titles onto Kindle e-readers, and delivers them through partner organization volunteers, who work with local organizations and provide training on getting the most out of the e-book. Together we can give the gift of literacy to millions of youth around the world, Samuel said.