Local Teens Inspire Change, Help Those With Healthcare Needs

By Melanie Chapman | mchapman@kolr10.com

Published 05/14 2014 09:13PM

Updated 05/14 2014 09:16PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A group of teenagers are on a mission is to inspire change and to help those with healthcare needs.

They've raised thousands of dollars for patients here in the Ozarks and have even helped transform lives globally.

Crowdfund Health is a national advocacy campaign that is part of Possible Health and people here in the Ozarks are getting involved.

“Possible is a non-governmental organization that works in Nepal and believes that everything they do that is possible to provide quality low cost health care to the worlds poorest,” says Riley De Leon.

A Greenwood High School senior, Riley interned for Possible in New York and wanted to find a way to help support the efforts locally. He and fellow Greenwood student Nikki Shaw put together a benefit to raise funds to pay for the medical treatments of some patients in Nepal.

They raised nearly $10,000 dollars.

“We fully funded nine patients who all had different stories,” says Nikki. “These range from mothers who are giving birth to children, to a girl who may need surgery on her hand or an older man who may need cataract surgery. There is a wide variety of patients we have to help.”

Riley and Nikki are exceptional youth out to help others. They're founders of a local non profit called ETHIC, for Every Teen Helps Inspire Change.

“Our mission to provide other teens in the community chances to volunteer and put service into the community,” says Nikki.

The team has more than a dozen local members from Catholic, Greenwood, Glendale and Central High Schools. And, the organization is growing.

Not only have the teens helped the sick in Nepal, ETHIC raised funds and donated an ICEE machine to Mercy Hospital in Springfield to help ease the pain of kids with cancer undergoing chemotherapy.

Riley and Nikki are inspirations and they are only just beginning.

“Whether it’s with possible or what ever organization or cause we are trying to support we can get they to spread as organically as possible,” says Riley.

“Community service is something that I am very passionate about,” says Nikki. “I absolutely love helping people. It’s one of my favorite things to do and being able to see teens my age getting out, getting involved and really understanding the needs of our community is probably the best part of our organization.”

The group is looking for more members and planning more fundraisers.

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