Natalie (Founder, Hope for Haiyan): I am the founding member of Hope for Haiyan. I’m from Louisville KY, like a lot of our members. I started Hope for Haiyan back in November of 2013 [at 10]. Personally, I supported Hope for Haiyan because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, and to take on a cause that helped people who I felt a connection with. I had grown up hearing about the Philippines from my mom and her family, so I already identified that country as being a part of who I am. To know that I share a culture and history with people halfway around the world is a stronger tie than you’d think. When I heard about the typhoon that struck in November of 2013, I never stopped to think that I might be too young to do anything. I didn’t think about it at all, really. I just knew I wanted to help as many people as possible to recover from such a huge natural disaster. I think sometimes people get too tied up with how they’re going to make something happen, that they never do. There’s always a way, even if it isn’t perfect.
My Advice: It’s important to know exactly what your patrons’ donations will go towards. People want to know that they are actually going to make an impact on people’s lives, and it was something we struggled with in the very beginning.
Once we befriended a young woman, Elsa Thomasma — who survived Typhoon Haiyan and still lives in the Philippines — we had better communication flow. By supporting her efforts to rebuild Cangumbang, we have evidence of our impact from the pictures and updates she posts on her blog.
In addition to all our work in the Philippines, Hope For Haiyan also serves food in a local soup kitchen once a month, to give back to our local community as well as our global one. Being a member of an organization like ours will give you a sense of social responsibility as well as the knowledge that you can make an impact on the rest of the world.
Fun Facts About Me!
- I am currently 17 years old and a senior in highschool
- In my free time, I enjoy playing with my dog, going to my school’s football games, watching true crime documentaries, and being a self-taught nail technician
- My favorite T.V. show is Criminal Minds
- My favorite book is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
- I look up to my mom, who inspired me to create this organization
- One thing I cannot live without is a hair tie 🙂
Here are some pictures of me, my friends, and my dog!