Dear Interact,

I want to thank you for your lasting support of my ambitions and those of Compassionate Journeys during this past semester.  I also want to express my appreciation to the entire RMHS community for their hard work and encouragement of these efforts.  It is truly inspiring to see how much faith you and the rest of the school have in what we are doing.  Raising over $10,000 in less than a week is absolutely incredible!  Here in Madison, I am apart of a global health organization called Globe Med, and even over the past 6 months we have only raised $8,500 for our partner project in Cambodia.  The fact that a high school can outperform is beyond amazing.  I was having a conversation with the president of Amnesty International on campus just last night, and she could not believe what was raise in less that a week by a high school.  I had to explain all the events that were put on during the week to convince her!

I think it is important to recognize and reflect on all you have accomplished.  It can be easy to think that us student we are unable to create tangible change: we are not engineers, public health experts, economists or doctors, but as students, we have a unique position and passion that allows us to create change.  Surely, you would not have been able to accomplish such a large goal if each or you did not have some unique skill or talent.  So the idea of students being unskilled is something clearly its students are not your average teenagers.  Hearing how much this has impacted everyone involved has given me more joy that I can express.  I wish I could have been there when the final number was calculated. 

To give you a brief update, the land in Tafi, alone, has been cleared and we have employed local villagers to begin pouring the cement blocks for Melor Vinyewo.  We currently have two doctors working in the village, and plans have been drawn by the International School of Paris to construct a playground and library near the school in Tafi Atome.  Needless to say, things have been going very well!  It was been life changing for both the Tafi people, and numerous volunteers that have come through the village. 

Gaining that personal connection was pivotal for me in broadening my perspectives, pushing me out of complacency, and driving me to action.  It is inspiring to see you rally behind a village you have never visited, and children you have never met hopefully you can one day meet these people that have impacted my life so greatly.  I also have a special gift to present to you and the Interact Club on behalf of Compassionate Journeys to show the appreciation for our pragmatic solidarity.  Once I finalize a day I can come in town, Ms. Hart should let you know when we will meet.  Until then, best of luck! Thank you again, you should be immensely proud of all you have accomplished.  I have never been prouder to call myself a Mustang.

Best, Jake Roble

P.S.- If you are looking for a thought provoking read, Nicholas Kristof’s Half The Sky will change your life!  Mr. Kristof is a columnist for the New York Times who writes on various humanitarian issues around the world.  The book provides a glimpse into the world of gender inequality and human slavery that is a call to arms for social justice. I am sure you will find in as moving as I did.  If you find the first portion of the book hard to read, I recommend reading the last chapter first, surely, a fitting read as today is the World Day for Social Justice (Feb, 20th).

 “You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.” –Winston Churchill