Alexa Rubin, a senior at Palmetto High School, is passionate about helping others, especially children. This summer, when she and her family visited Cambodia, she talked to a child who could not go to school because he had to help the family obtain food and water each day.
“We originally went for a recreational family vacation,” she says. “It became more; we wanted to go to the villages and get to know the people.”
They learned that the child’s situation was not unusual.
“I would say that out of 75 kids I came across and talked to, there were probably five or six that went to school,” Rubin says. “That’s because other people in wealthy areas were paying for them to go to school. These kids don’t have the opportunity unless someone else assists them.”
They found out that children in Cambodia not only have to cart the water to the village, they have to help filter the water to make sure it’s safe to drink.
“They use sand filtration which takes a very long time and takes hours from the day, not allowing them to go to school,” Rubin says. “For every couple of villages, there is a school.
There are a lot of schools available, just not many students available to go to them.”
When Rubin returned, she began work on her new community project, H20 for Cambo.
The proceeds will be used to provide water and filtration.
“That frees up the children to go to school at least a couple of days a week,” she says.
To fund the new non-profit, Rubin buys reusable water bottles online and has them outfitted with the H20 for Cambodia labels.
“I would say our starting goal right now is roughly $3,000. The water bottles sell for $10,” she says. “We send over $4.96 from each water bottle sold. We don’t pocket any money.”
Rubin is using her own money to buy the water bottles and she is planning fundraisers for H2O for Cambo, adding that the first will likely be a car wash. She says they are considering a fashion show in the fall, using recycled clothing. A website is under development.
Along with her commitment to the children of Cambodia, Rubin is also a student ambassador for GivingBackPacks. She says it’s a company based on the one-for-one model, similar to the Toms shoe brand.
“With every book bag sold, the company provides underprivileged children with the same book bag filled with school supplies and the confidence needed to succeed in the classroom,” Rubin says. “As an ambassador, with every bag I sell I give the buyer a promotion code so they receive 10 percent off their purchase as an extra incentive to help the children. The world is full of brilliant minds. For all we know, the cure to cancer could be trapped inside the mind of a child who cannot afford a proper education. With both H2O for Cambo and GivingBackPacks, we are one step closer to giving each child what they deserve.”
Rubin’s community service started early – in the seventh grade. For many years, she helped raise money for the Sandy Muller Breast Cancer Foundation. At Palmetto, Rubin is on the Lacrosse team and she is president of the Equal Access Club. She also has worked on the school paper as the online copy editor.
Rubin is interested in going into medicine and hopes to go into a pre-med track in college. This month, she’s interning with an endocrinologist to see if that’s the area she would like to specialize in.