The Young Philanthropists Of Johns Creek

The Young Philanthropists Of Johns Creek

Johns Creek holds several people who strive to help make their community a better place.
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Philanthropy has become more popular as the world becomes more integrated and connected. We see several renowned philanthropists who work to help other people in several causes, like Bill Gates with basic necessities aid in third-world countries and Malala Yousafzai with girl's education advocacy. Johns Creek also holds several people who strive to help make their community a better place, but they aren't billionaires or world leaders; they are regular high school and college students with a vision to accomplish. Here are some of the young philanthropists of Johns Creek.

Will To Live Foundation

Tommy Trautwein is one of the founders and leading youth figures of the Will To Live Foundation, an organization dedicated to prevent teen suicide by improving the lives of teenagers through mental health education and emphasis of love and hope, and Club Will-to-Live at Northview High School. The Trautwein family formed the Will To Live Foundation after the suicide death of Tommy Trautwein’s brother Will Trautwein in 2010, when the Trautweins decided to turn the otherwise devastating situation into something positive.

That positivity pervades Will To Live’s regularly hosted events benefiting those needing support. Last month, Northview High School’s Club Will To Live teamed up with another Northview club, Make-A-Wish, to host “Wish Night,” raising the money needed to “Grant a Wish” of a local girl to send her and her family on a Hawaii getaway. The club also hosted a “Rock for Ramzy” event after a friend of the foundation’s, Ramzy Stripling, began having trouble with his colon but was having financial trouble with his medication due to the passing of his father the past year. The concert, featuring live music from local acts, raised ten thousand dollars for the cause, helping Stripling pay for his medication. Outside of its many specifically designated events, any money the foundation receives funds the education of teachers and counselors to learn to recognize the signs of potential suicide and what to look for.

“We realized that the subject of suicide was really not talked about that much, so we really wanted to let everyone know that it’s really a problem that does need to be talked about,” Tommy Trautwein explains. “My dad, the founder, just figured, what better way to spread the message of love and hope than through the kids and for the kids throughout your schools, throughout your fellow friends and loved ones?”

He poses a valid question. “Life Teammates” believing in the cause live up to the foundation’s motto, “For the kids, Through the kids, By the kids,” by being able to relate to others just like them.

“Nobody knows the high schooler struggle better than a high schooler, you know?” Trautwein himself seems impressed by the efficacy. “The kids handle it so well, and they’re so passionate about it that there’s really not that many problems,” he muses. “It’s for such a good cause, and it’s so easy to do it and be passionate about it.”

He hopes that infectious passion can take Will To Live even further than the incredible bounds the cause has already taken. The foundation has been featured across numerous major news sources like CBS and CNN News and even a TEDTalk by founder John Trautwein, but Tommy Trautwein is looking to begin Will To Live involvement at the University of Georgia, where he will be attending school in the fall.

“I’m sure that people would grasp onto it,” he asserts. “Just to keep this message getting bigger and bigger, just to help in any way, if any fraction we can save lives, that’s more than enough.”

CRY America

Aarushi Jain is the founder and Student Lead of CRY (Child Rights and You) Atlanta Action Center, a student-led chapter of CRY America dedicated to ensuring child rights in third-world countries, especially India. Aarushi started CRY Atlanta back in 2014 in hopes to get every child around the word to have the same privileges that she is given. Since then, she has been advocating for child rights for all in her community through the chapter.

“I’ve always been so blessed, and we live in Johns Creek. We have so many opportunities; we have so many things around us. And I always go to India every year, so whenever I do go, I see always people on the roads; I see little children not being able to school and not having an education, and it’s really sad,” Aarushi explains. “Like we get such an awesome education. I feel like I should give back to the community, and do something.”


CRY Atlanta has hosted many events in order to raise money for several small villages in such countries like India and spread awareness in order to support the fight for child rights. A couple months back, CRY Atlanta hosted their second annual CRY Holi, where many people celebrate the Indian festival of colors by and throwing colored powder at each other and having fun. The organization has also hosted its CRY Walk for Child Rights, the most notable event for CRY. The event, consisting primarily of a mile walk, music and food, has brought about a couple hundred people to help the cause. Overall, the organization has raised about fifteen thousand dollars from the events to help support the cause.

To start an organization from scratch is very difficult unless you give the effort to nurture and develop it, even when people leave in the beginning. “I think getting this organization started, making it big, was kind of a conflict. I was going to do this organization with a couple of my friends, but then they backed out, and then they thought that we wouldn’t be able to do it; but through perseverance and patience, we worked through it,” Aarushi recalled. “In the end, it took two years to get [CRY Atlanta] going. We are pretty much a well-known organization.”

CRY Atlanta has been featured frequently on news sources like TV ASIA and Khabar magazine. Aarushi hopes, in the future, to get a hands-on experience at many of the projects for child rights in India. “I just want to make a difference in the world,” she added. “I want everyone else to have an equal chance at living the best life they can live."

First Aid For All

Amal Bhatnagar is the founder of the non-profit First Aid for All (FAFA), a student-led organization driven to alleviate medical inequality globally. He started FAFA during his sophomore year of high school after witnessing a lot of poverty in Georgia and other countries, like Mexico and India.

“I’d always see people [in these regions] who wouldn’t have enough of basic resources, such as food, water, shelter, etc.,” Amal explained. “I felt somewhat responsible for this; we, as humans, how can we allow this to happen?”

As a result, he started the organization to focus on the medical inequality in the world.

First Aid for All has been able to work closer to its goals by utilizing a four-way approach: distributing first aid kits, fundraising, volunteering and spreading awareness. For distributing the first aid kits, FAFA has worked with around 13,000 pounds of medical supplies which have impacted the lives of over 320 people; the organization has also held supply drives, where they, for example, received a large donation from Augusta University.

“We also try to connect with different organizations, so, using that, we get the first aid kits, and then we go around to different places to distribute them, such as Atlanta and Athens,” he explained. “Also over spring break, one of our members went to India…He went to the slums of India, and he gave clothes to the locals there so they could support themselves.”

For fundraising, FAFA partnered with several groups like the Atlanta Braves last summer and the World’s Finest Chocolates now to gain funds through sales to help support the projects.

For volunteering, FAFA works with MedShare, where the members help sort and package thousands of medical supplies to be distributed to several needed areas.

For spreading awareness, FAFA has educational talks with community members, like teens in Athens and the elderly in Sunrise Johns Creek and even the Johns Creek City Council, in order to spread their message.

Amal hopes to makes sure that everyone has better access to medical resources and to spread awareness about poverty, especially medical poverty. He feels that starting young in philanthropy can allow more peers to rise up to help out the community and does impress many adults, but it creates limitations in access to resources to expand the efforts to help others.

“What I’ve learned from that is that age doesn’t necessarily matter if you have the passion and the drive to do something,” Amal asserted. “I’m pretty sure you can do it.”

Jr. Hotshots

Grace Hebermehl is the founder of Jr. Hotshots, a basketball camp for 4th to 8th graders with several instructors, and the revenue gained goes to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She started the camp as a small project, which then continued as she started enjoyed her experience with leading the program. She really wants to let other kids learn what she loves: sports.

Her primary focus is to help give an opportunity for the kids to learn how to play a sport, but Grace uses that opportunity to her advantage by donating the money earned from the camp to a respectable organization, so it goes to good use.

The Jr. Hotshots camp held a diverse groups of kids who have never played before. Although new, it also attracted many eager children who wanted to play basketball.

“These kids have never played basketball before, so we had three kids transfer from soccer…” Grace recalled. “We had a kid who turned down an Olympic woman who was hosting another basketball camp and came to mine. It was great.”

Grace was able to do what she loved and spread that feeling with other kids who were willing to try a new skill.

“I did it and I realized I really love seeing the kids grow and smile and love how to learn to play it,” Grace remarked. “I like to play sports; I like to see other kids learn to play it.”


Philanthropy is not an idea that only billionaires can act upon. Many people start up their ways to improve their communities through passion and motivation, holding the desire to give the opportunities and resources they were given to those that were not so fortunate before. These students are no exception. If you have the desire to help out those in need, even the slightest, don't hesitate to do something. Any steps taken can help make this world a better place


This article has been co-authored by Amy Jiang.

Cover Image Credit: Shreyas Kumar

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Double Standards Are Plaguing Our Society

What and how are double standards hurting our society?
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Why is that when a female has many sexual partners she is considered a slut, but when a male does it he is celebrated as a king? Why is it when a male wears makeup or paints his nails his shunned by the world, but when a girl does it she looks bomb? How can the pope support ending the gender gap, but refuse to allow women to hold spiritual leadership roles? It’s because we live in a world filled with double standards.

What is a double standard? Merriam-Webster states it’s “a rule or principle that is unfairly applied in different ways to different people or groups.” We see in our society that there are many double standards between races, religions, sexualities, and genders.

Many double standards are hurting our country and even our world. Many people are blind to the double standards that plague our community especially if isn’t affecting them, while some just accept these as okay in our society, but they aren't okay. Here a few double standards that are seen in today's society.

Gender.

  • Women are paid less than men for doing the same exact job.
  • If a man cries he is considered weak, while it’s alright for a woman to do so.
  • When a male is sexually harassed by a woman he is lucky, while it happens to women it’s considered rape (I’m not denouncing rape that happens to women)
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Religion.

  • If someone of Muslim faith kills someone the headlines are “Muslim Terrorist Strikes Again!”, but they never announce if the killer was a Christian. They say he was a “lone wolf”
  • If a Christian teacher tried to make the class pray it would be okay, and millions would support them, but if a Muslim teacher tried that the world would go crazy.
  • the KKK (who are “Christians”) is okay, they can recruit through their website which isn’t blocked in any way and even endorsed our current president

Race.

  • If a black person does anything they seem suspicious, but when white people do it, it’s okay.
  • When NFL teams win big games their fans destroy cities, but if any peaceful protest happens it’s a riot and police decide to throw tear gas.
  • If a white person uses weed their considered a stoner, but if a black person does it they’re a criminal.

Sexuality.

  • if a straight couple does anything it’s normal. If a gay couple does it, it’s an abomination.
  • Straight couples can mistreat their own kids and it be okay, but if a gay couple wants to adopt a kid all hell breaks loose.

Weight.

  • If some bigger over eats their considered fat, and unhealthy, but if a thinner person over eats no one says a word.

Of course, there are so many other double standards that affect other groups of people, but just having these few is too many. We have to do something about this! If we allow one group of people to do something we must allow all other groups to do so as well. This must change to allow everyone to feel equal if we claim to be an equal opportunity country.

It isn't impossible to change these double standards as we have seen double standards in the past be changed. such as a male could be a doctor, but a women couldn't. Or even a white person holding a higher position in work and black person couldn't. Therefore, we see a change can happen, but only if we choose to make it happen.

Cover Image Credit: Ashley8053

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