Happening Kid: Alyssa Sanchez Founder of “A Mere Student”

Non-Profit founder, mission-based traveler, and community service focused are things you would not typically use to describe a high school junior. Then again, Alyssa Sanchez is not your typical teenager. After meeting Alyssa, a junior at Leesville Road High School, it was a no-brainer why she is a happening kid! Through the encouragement of her mother, Ingrid, Alyssa decided to start her own non-profit organization called A Mere Student; aimed at helping local charities and those in need in any way she can.

Raleigh Happening was warmly welcomed into the Sanchez home and sat with Alyssa and Ingrid to talk about A Mere Student, what this amazing teenager has accomplished and what she thinks every young person should know.

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Alyssa getting ready to drop off her Thanksgiving feast to a family of 7!

When asked to describe what Alyssa’s goal is with A Mere Student she replied, “What I do is help other non-profits in our community. I’ve helped out with [and donated to] the Women and Children’s Center at the Durham Rescue Mission, I’m currently working on a project to collect toys, coats and shoes for a family of 7 for Christmas. Originally they would not have been able to provide these presents.” At Thanksgiving, Alyssa also collected canned foods, a large turkey and other goods for this same family. She explained, “Their faces lit up like Christmas morning, it was really cool!”

She is modest about her accomplishments giving continuous credit to her mother for support and developing A Mere Student sharing, “I typically do community service and things like that. My mom helps me out a lot! Especially with the business portion of it … I do, of course, have people donate materials and goods to me [including] family members and friends.”

Along with being an honor roll student, Alyssa finds the time to give back across the United States participating in several mission trips through her church going to places such as Kentucky and Georgia. Prior to a family vacation in the Dominican Republic 2 years ago, the entire family asked friends and their community to donate clothes and items to give away to families in need during their trip. Packing only 1 personal bag per person, the rest of the luggage they had packed were filled with clothes and around 100 pairs of shoes – it was enough to fill up the back of an SUV!

While giving away the donated goods a family member shared that in that town, if a family could not afford shoes for their children then those children could not go to school. “You would see a group of boys walking and they would have shoes on, they would be in their uniform and then off to the side you’d see girls and boys barefoot and pulling on barrels of water and doing house chores” she goes on, “It just kind of shocked me the difference between not having a pair of shoes and having a pair of shoes.”

Alyssa during the Guatemalan Mission

Alyssa during the Guatemalan Mission

This past year she participated in her first mission trip to Guatemala, which she describes as “an experience I will never forget”. She and Ingrid spoke candidly about the trip and are hopeful that one of the young ladies Alyssa had developed a friendship with in the will be part of the delegation planning to visit the United States in 2014. Alyssa shares, “Poverty in the United States is like being wealthy in other places. If a person in poverty here (in the US) lived over in Guatemala they would be considered Bill Gates, its crazy.”

This truly astonishing young lady is one of the most focused, friendly and motivated people you will meet. She works hard in school, often foregoing hanging out with friends so she can finish her homework. Spending lunch or free time during her school day in the classroom working on projects or in the library studying. When she does get time out of school she enjoys hanging out with her friends, having sleepovers and going to her youth group every Sunday.

After a great conversation we asked Alyssa what she would say if she could give one piece of advice to the youth of Raleigh, her response was, “Its kind of a cliche: A small act of kindness can go very far.” When a girl of 16 says, “I’m doing these things because I want to and its a good thing. There is always some way you can help out the world. I just think its a good idea!” you cannot really disagree! 

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