Sondra is the author of You Can Change Your World!,
You've Got What It Takes!, Sondra's Tips For Making Your Dreams Come True, Wearable Art With Sondra, and
Craft Fun With Sondra. When she is not busy with high school classes, Sondra enjoys soccer, acting, crafts, and participating in activities with her church. Visit her Web site.
Teen Takes on the World
By Silvana Clark
When Sondra Clark visits a mall, it’s not your typical shopping trip.
“Mom, can I get this sweatshirt?” she asks.
“We really don’t have the room” replies her mother. “That sweatshirt is so bulky.”
Later on, Sondra asks, “Dad, these two books are great…and they are on sale!”
“Sondra,” her Dad answers, “You know they weigh too much.”
Why would it matter how much books weigh? For Sondra, the weight and space of items was a daily concern. Sondra and her family spent a year traveling around the United States in a motor home. Space was limited, and they needed to be aware of how much weight their truck must pull. “If I wanted to buy some new books, I would first take the books I’ve read to a used book store. Then I bought new ones”, said Sondra.
In spite of living in cramped quarters, Sondra enjoyed being on the road. Each Sunday, she presented a slide show at various churches around the country, showing pictures of her trip to Africa. Sondra is a spokesperson for Childcare Worldwide, a non-denominational relief organization. When she was 11 years old, Childcare Worldwide asked Sondra to be their spokeschild and sent her to visit their programs in Kenya and Uganda.
“I thought I’d seen poor people in my own community,” said Sondra, “but nothing could match what I saw in Africa. Children slept on broken wooden slats with filthy mattresses. Many kids were lucky to get one meal a day.”
In Uganda, Sondra took a float plane piloted by Missionary Aviation Fellowship to reach a remote island on Lake Victoria. She brought craft supplies to share with the children she met. To her surprise, children didn’t know what to do with the items.
“Many kids didn’t know how to take caps off markers to draw a picture. They didn’t understand how to cut string with a pair of scissors.” said Sondra.
Visiting schools in Africa gave Sondra a new appreciation for her own school in Nashville Tennessee. Several African schools she saw had no running water or electricity. The floors were dirt with rough cement walls.
“I saw how few books the schools had, so when I got home, I collected 300 books to send back to the schools I visited,” said Sondra.
Because of Sondra’s volunteer efforts to help the children she met in Africa, she’s raised over $85,000 for Childcare Worldwide. This summer, Sondra started a program called FUN with a FUTURE. She wanted to bring “fun” to the children she met in the slums of Africa, so she collected 1,000 Frisbee-type discs. Then, to help children with “the future” she collected 10,000 pencils and 5,000 toothbrushes.
“I spoke at camps, schools, and Vacation Bible Schools, asking kids to donate pencils and Frisbees. People are willing to help; they jut need to be asked,” she said.
Sondra frequently appears on television shows such as The 700 Club, Discovery Channel, and PAX TV. In addition, Sondra has published six books, found at major book stores around the country. Her book, You Can Change Your World! (Baker Publishing) gives kids over 150 ideas on how they can get involved in volunteer activities at their school, church, and community.
“You may not be able to travel to Africa, but you volunteer in other ways,” said Sondra. “How about getting your friends to plant some colorful flowers around your church entrance? You could volunteer to walk dogs at the local humane society. If you have a musical talent, sing or play an instrument at a nearby nursing home.”
She’s frequently asked to speak to adults and youth across the country about the importance of volunteering. Students enjoy asking Sondra questions about her trip to Africa, as well as her experiences writing books.
“I always tell kids anything is possible, if they give it hard work and effort. When I write my books, I set a goal of writing a certain number of pages a day. Pretty soon, my book is ready to send off to the publisher!” Sondra said.
“People tell me I have an unusual life,” said Sondra. “But I think God has given me wonderful opportunities, and I’ve taken advantage of those opportunities. It would be easy to say I don’t want to wake up at 4 a.m. to be on a TV show or decide I‘m scared to speak to a church with 2,000 members. Instead, I look at each situation as a chance for a new opportunity to serve God.”
Purchase your copy of You Can Change Your World! by Sondra Clark.
Learn more about Sondra at her Web site.
Read about other teens on CBN.com.
Copyright © 2007, by Silvana Clark. Used with permission.
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