Beth Wilder, a sophomore at Ward Melville High School, has learned a thing or two – or maybe 16 – about the meaning of compassion.
In the midst of planning her Sweet 16 birthday party, Wilder watched a documentary on child slavery, and knew she had to do something. She took the money that was being used for her party and held sponsored a 3K walk that raised over $2,000 for the nonprofit group Touch of Life, which helps children escape the hardships of child slavery.
"It gave my party plans a different perspective. I knew I had to follow my heart and make a tough decision," she said at a recent school board meeting. "... Helping a child live in freedom was the best birthday gift that I could ever receive."
Teacher Mrs. Morrison called her "a gift" and said, "Beth Wilder truly embodies the power of kindness."
Wilder said she intends to continue helping end child slavery in Ghana.
"We are all connected," she said. "We can all be a positive change in the world."