Think high school field trips don’t change lives? Think again. Back in 2005, Arielle Wisotsky visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. with her high school class. There she learned of the genocide going on in Darfur for the first time. It deeply affected her and realized she couldn’t just stand there letting another tragedy happen (her grandmother is a Holocaust survivor). So, Arielle decided to take action. Educating herself on Darfur, she then started to educate others by forming the non-profit Help Darfur Now with two of her friends, David and Eric Messinger.
"I had done some community service before, but nothing to this extent,” says Arielle. ‘Help Darfur Now is basically an organization of high school and middle school students. Our main goal is to raise awareness of what's going on in Darfur and raise money. When we started out, we thought we'd raise $1,000. We sent fundraising letters to family members and family friends, but then we started getting press, because people thought it was interesting that we were so young.”
Now, three years later, Arielle is a student at Tufts University, and Help Darfur Now has raised over $400,000 aiding the relief of Darfur, giving its money to organizations like Doctors Without Borders and the International Rescue Committee.
“I know it sounds cliche,” she admits, "but one person can make a difference, three people can make a difference. People think you can't, but you can.”