Texas High School Group Gets School Credit for Making a Difference at the Houston Walk
Karim Farishta, an 11th grader at the W.P. Clements High School in Sugar Land, Texas saw an opportunity that would help him and 70 other students in the school’s Global Studies Academy take part in the Partnership Walk in Houston, about 25 miles away. As a bonus, they would all get community service credit by participating.
Partnership Walk, as Karim knew, is an initiative of the Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. and its national network of volunteers, which raises funds and public awareness for the Foundation’s work in developing countries in Asia and Africa. This year marked the 17th anniversary for Partnership Walk.
So Karim, 16, approached the school’s principal with a proposal. As a result, on the day of the Walk, two busloads of students made the trip from Sugar Land to contribute to the global effort to reduce poverty, brandishing blue and orange banners and a strong humanitarian ethic. They helped make the Houston Walk the largest of the nine Walks across the country. More than 10,000 people of all ages and backgrounds came out to help improve the lives of people a world away, by supporting projects in education, health, agriculture and the environment.
According to Dr. Ethan Crowell, assistant principal at Clements, students in the Global Studies Academy within the high school study international topics including a global language, global poverty, environmental change, and world economics. Students in the program also have to complete 35 service hours a year, including one major event each semester.
“So this opportunity ties right in with the themes of our program,” said Crowell. “That’s why this was such a good event for us to be a part of.”
“Karim came to us five or six weeks ago and said this would be a good event for us to do,” Crowell continued. “We provide buses, bring the kids, and all that. So this is the event for the fall. We brought as many kids as wanted to come and be part of what’s going on.”
Besides walking the Walk, the Clements students visited Village In Action exhibits about the Aga Khan Foundation’s work building resilient communities. That afternoon before returning to Sugar Land, the students were honored on stage for their contributions. One hundred percent of the funds they raised go directly to projects supported by Aga Khan Foundation USA. That made Karim happy, and made his father proud.