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Local HS Student Helps Ugandan School

A local teenager is being recognized for bringing the chance for a good education to young children in Africa.

Ariane Drake started her own non-profit called Hands4Uganda, and has raised tens of thousands of dollars to help save a destitute school in small African village.

It started when Drake went with a charity group to Uganda.

“You can see the pictures of the babies in the dirt, covered and crying for their mom who isn’t there anymore because she died. But you can’t understand the hurt and the actual life that they live until you see it firsthand,? Drake said.

Drake met a couple trying to run a small, overcrowded and underfunded school, hoping to give the children of an impoverished village a better chance.

“In hopes of providing a free education for the children there so they could break the cycle of poverty so they could go on to live a better life,? Drake said.

Drake decided she needed to help those who ran the school achieve their dream of building a new school and teaching more and more kids. So she started her own non-profit, Hands4Uganda.

“I can honestly say that my drive and my ambition comes from the love for those kids,? Drake said.

Through setting up fundraisers, concerts, hot-dog eating contests and visiting local churches, Drake has helped pay for the education of about half the students at the Ugandan school.

In recognition, she’s won the Prudential Spirit of Community award and other honors for her service.

Staff at her high school nominated her for the award.

“The recognition that will come to her is so deeply deserved,? Century High School Principal Sheryl Brockett said.

Drake said she appreciates the awards, but mostly, she hopes it provides a small example for others dreaming of doing something good.

“It’s better for others to kind of see that you don’t have to be older to make a difference in somebody’s life. And whether that difference is serving in a soup kitchen or giving cookies to someone in an elderly home, making a difference can come from anywhere in anyone’s life,? Drake said.

Just this week, Drake also received a personal letter from President Barack Obama thanking her for the work she’s doing.

You can go to to donate to the charity.

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