Give in to Hope Day 7: Gitanjali Rao

When she was only 10, budding scientist Gitanjali Rao heard about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where the entire city’s water supply was so contaminated with lead that none of it was safe to drink or cook with.  Even though Gitanjali does not live in Flint and was not directly affected by this, she knows that water is a requirement for life, and she wanted to help. Already quite accomplished in different areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Gitanjali was able to develop a tool that could measure lead levels in water and communicate that to people via Bluetooth, letting not only individuals, but entire communities know whether their water was safe to drink. Gitanjali was able to work with 3M to produce this product on a large scale, and because of her work, was named Time Magazine’s first ever Kid of the Year. Gitanjali has also created an app that can detect and warn parents and teachers of early stages of cyberbullying that their kids may be engaging in or victims of. Gitanjali is using her skills and talents to impact change in multiple ways!

To learn more about Gitanjali:

Gitanjali has used her skills and resources to create solutions for multiple problems! If you could be a part of solving 2 problems in the world, what would you want to work on?

Gitanjali is lucky to have access to lots of cool adults who believe in her and helped her ideas become reality. Who are some adults you know who could help you solve problems?

Closing prayer: Dear God, help us to always look for ways to make changes in the world, whether they impact us or not, for we are ALL connected. Amen.


Give in to Hope Day 6: Louis Braille

At only 3 years old, Louis Braille was accidentally blinded when a tool he was playing with poked him in the eye. This was over 200 years ago, and there were not very many resources for a blind person, but he managed to get accepted into a special school for blind children. While he was there, he learned about a special code that the military used to send messages back and forth, and figured out how to turn it into a series of raised dots that represented letters. By “reading” these raised dots with fingers, and understanding the code, blind people could read! With that, the Braille language was born!

To learn more about Louis Braille:

What would you miss most if you lost your sight? How do you think blind people felt once they learned Braille and were able to read?

Closing prayer: Dear God, Even if there are times where it feels like we are sightless, help us find ways to see. Amen

Give in to Hope Day 5: Jaylen Arnold

At only 8 years old, Jaylen Arnold set out to end bullying. Jaylen has Tourette’s Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is on the Autism Spectrum–diagnoses that cause him to act differently than his peers on occasion, have difficulty socializing, and be a target for bullies. Rather than let the bullies get to him, Jaylen stood up, spoke out, and formed his own organization, Jaylen’s Challenge, that travels around the country educating kids on how to stand up to bullies, how to not become a bully, and how to respect and celebrate the differences in one another. Now in college, Jaylen continues to educate thousands of kids each year, and is determined to end bullying in schools.

To learn more about Jaylen:

Have you ever seen anyone treated poorly because of how they looked or talked? At the time, did you do anything to help? What would you do now, if you could go back to that situation?

Closing prayer: Dear God, help us stand up for one another, and include people, rather than exclude them. Amen.

Give in to Hope Day 4: Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg

On February 14, 2018, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Highschool in Parkland, Florida was the site of a horrendous tragedy–17 students were shot and killed, with 17 more injured, all victims of gun violence. Out of this horrific event, students from the school, including Seniors Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, became outspoken activitists and proponents of gun control reform. These brave students, in the face of incredible terror and grief, founded March for Our Lives, and their first demonstration, which took place in Washington D.C. only 5 weeks after the tragedy, drew 800,000 participants, and became the blueprint for other modern-day demonstrations including the Women’s March.

To learn more about Emma Gonzalez David Hogg and the other teen founders of the March for Our Lives: (content warning: does mention the school shooting and the large death toll).

Can you imagine talking in front of 800,000 people? That is a really huge number! What is something that you care about so much that you’d use all your bravery to talk about?

Closing prayer: Dear God, help us make our country safer for children and teenagers in schools. Amen.


Give in to Hope Day 3: Xiutezcatl Martinez

Now 20, Xiutezcatl (pronounced Shoe-TEZ-cat) has been passionate about protecting the environment since he was just 6 years old! With the encouragement of his activist mother, he gave talks in his home state of Colorado, before moving on to speaking to young people across the country and the globe about the dangers of climate change, and the role of young people in making the world cleaner and greener. Xiutezcatl also spreads his message as the leader of an environmental non-profit Earth Guardians, and writes and performs hip hop with a social justice theme!

To learn more about Xiutezcatl:

Xiutezcatl uses one of his talents, writing song lyrics, to help share information with young people about climate change. What are some of your talents that you could use to let people know about things you care about?

Closing prayer: Dear God, help us use our talents to fight for things we care about. Amen

Give in to Hope Day 2: Malala Yousafzai

When Malala Yousafzai was just 11 years old, a group of extremists took over her community in Pakistan, and enforced extremely strict rules, particularly on women, including that girls were no longer allowed to attend school. Malala, daughter of a life-long educator and activist, refused to go along with what was happening. She shared stories of life in her village under Taliban rule, and was not shy about talking about how the rights of girls were being taken away. Malala was shot in an attempt to keep her quiet, but she refused, and worked harder than ever to ensure that girls not only in Pakistan, but all over the world have a right to learn, and a right to be heard.

To learn more about Malala:

All over the world, there are children that don’t get to go to school, because it is too expensive, or because they need to work to help their families, or it is too far, or because they are a girl, or so many other reasons. Why do you think school is so important? What about school are you grateful for?

Closing prayer: Dear God, help us be the people who use our voice to speak up for others. Amen