17-year-old Boise girl to go to Africa to give back
Jennifer Auh sat down with a Boise high school student, embarking on a trip to Africa, all to make a difference. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
We want to introduce you to a local high school student, who has a dream that's a bit different from most teenagers’ dreams.
Haley Gardner, 17, is a senior at Capital High School in Boise. Haley said her dream is to travel to the hardest hit areas around the world and make a difference.
Now, she's making it happen sooner than anyone ever expected.
It all started with a high school volunteer project. While other students plan to volunteer locally, Haley is going to leave for Africa in a few weeks.
She recalled the first memory that put her life into perspective. "A picture of little boy sitting in trash, and he's just smiling,” said Haley, "They are so grateful, for the smallest things. A notebook for school would make their year."
According to Haley, her parents didn't take her seriously at first, but then Haley saved up money from her part-time jobs and collected donations from others who heard about her journey.
"I will be feeding the kids, getting them ready for school, for the younger children who don’t go to school, teach English,” said Haley, “some nights, we’ll be staying in the orphanage with them."
Eventually, she and her mom decided to go together. "I had also been emailing, talking to permanent residents about the actual orphanage where we'll be staying, asking a lot of questions," said Lisa Gardner, Haley’s mother.
In Kenya, thousands of boys and girls, especially orphans live in poverty without basic necessities, such as clothes, food and medical treatment. “It’s just so sad, it’s heartbreaking," said Haley.
Haley said she wants to give back closer to home as well, but her passion for helping children in need is as big as the ocean and crosses several continents.
She also wants to do more humanitarian work, when she gets out of school and adopt children as well. Haley said she hopes others are inspired by her journey to find their own passions in life.
IHOP also donated 1,500 Crayons for Haley to take Kenya for the children in the orphanage.