With her 16th birthday fast approaching, plans for a night of celebration for Beth Wilder were in full swing. However, her plans began to quickly change after she watched a documentary on child slavery in Ghana.
Ghanaian children were being sold for a mere $20 and forced to work on fishing boats for 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. Often the children endured severe beatings and survived on a single meal a day. Beth was so inspired, she decided she wanted to make a difference.
“I was really looking forward to my sweet 16 birthday party,” Wilder said. “But as I watched a documentary on slavery in Ghana, I knew I had to do something to help.”
In an act of kindness, Wilder decided to forgo plans for her birthday party and instead asked her parents to donate all the party funds to the Touch A Life Foundation, an organization that rescues children from slavery, knowing that her donation could change a life forever.
“I felt my heart fill with compassion as I watched these precious children endure such terrible hardships,” Wilder said. “The reality of their suffering gave my party plans a different perspective.”
Already sponsoring a young teen named Patience, Wilder wanted to keep helping children in need. When she heard that Touch A Life was holding a walk-a-thon in Texas, she began to organize a walk of her own in her home town of Stony Brook, New York. After weeks of planning, Wilder had successfully sponsored a 3k walk, with more than 90 people attending—raising more than $2,000 in donations.
“When I sponsored my first walk-a-thon to end child slavery, I was overwhelmed by the love and support from my family, friends and wonderful teachers from Ward Melville,” Wilder said. “I will always be grateful for their donations and helping me follow my dreams.”
With her first walk being a success, Wilder already has hopes of planning another walk-a-thon and bringing forth more awareness for the Touch A Life Foundation and its goals.
“I hope to continue to end child slavery in Ghana,” Wilder said. “I hope to always inspire others and that we can all be a positive change in the world.”
Ward Melville High School
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