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Draper teen wants to make impact as ambassador for World Literacy Foundation

Aug 29, 2017 10:58AM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

Summer Soller joined the World Literacy Foundation as a youth ambassador. (Harini Srinivasan/youth ambassador)

By Lexi Peery | l.peery@mycityjournals.com

Summer Soller has always had a deep love for reading and writing, so when she heard from her International Baccalaureate coordinator that the World Literacy Foundation was looking for youth ambassadors, Soller quickly sent in her application, and three days later, got accepted.

“It says on [the World Literacy Foundation] website that 20 percent of people can’t read in the whole population and that was so surprising since I’ve known how to read since I was in kindergarten. I didn’t know that it was such a blessing to read all of the stories I wanted to, so I can’t even imagine not being able to read,” Soller, a Draper resident, said. “I read through their mission about how it can improve health, lower crime, and increase gender equality and employment, and I thought, ‘This is great, why wouldn’t I want to do this?’”

Since joining the youth ambassador program in May, Soller — a senior at Hillcrest High School — has been able to talk to other youth ambassadors and coordinators around the world. With over 200 ambassadors from 30 different countries, there’s plenty of people for Soller to get to know, though it’s mostly through social media. 

“Everyone is so responsive and so nice and really passionate about what they’re doing for the organization,” Soller said. “If I need help with something, or we’re just talking, or I’m Facebooking someone I don’t know, it’s just a really positive environment. You can tell it’s a bunch of kids who are passionate about reading and literacy and want to help, instead of kids who just want to put it on their resume.”

Besides promoting the foundation, Soller has been tasked with raising $1,000 for the foundation. The funds she and other youth ambassadors raise will be sent to Uganda to build schools, buy books and pay teachers. 

“We’ve donated over 120,000 books to Uganda and other places. We’ve helped with over 200 million people with this program, mostly building schools for places in need,” Soller said. “There’s been thousands of grants given throughout the world. All the money has strictly gone to education and schools to give everyone a chance to have an education.”

Soller is raising the money by doing a walk-a-thon, an idea she got from participating in many of them when she was younger at an international school she attended in Germany. Soller said she hopes the walk-a-thon will happen on Sept. 23, but she’s still in the early stages of planning.

Soller has reached out to various businesses and restaurants in the area soliciting for monetary donations or food for those who participate in the walk-a-thon. Overall, Soller said that local businesses have been very supportive and willing to help in her fundraising endeavors. 

“I’m hoping to show up and have sponsors that will give money to people for every lap they walk, and we’ll just all walk together,” Soller said.

Although Soller won’t be able to travel to Uganda herself to help build the schools and donate the educational resources, she plans to stay involved with the World Literacy Foundation as long as she can. Since her term as youth ambassador expires when she turns 18, she plans to help once she’s in college, and potentially become an adult ambassador for the foundation.

“The whole mission for this foundation is really amazing … I don’t want to just do it for a year,” Soller said. “I want to keep doing it and when I’m older I’ll be able to do more things and I think I’ll be able to make a bigger impact.”   

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