Abdeslam, 18, Canada
Rising Against Poverty (RAP)
In his four years of scholastic track competition, Abdi has always run toward his problems and the problems of others, never away from them. During his freshman year in high school he was invited to attend a screening of a documentary that would change his life. The film, a harrowing depiction of the growing plague of orphans in India, tapped into his innate desire to help. “The teenagers were only in India for a few weeks, but their actions made a lasting and profound difference to the children.” These images coupled with his return to his native homeland of Algeria where he witnessed poverty first-hand led to the creation of “Rising Against Poverty” (RAP), an organization dedicated to aiding orphans around the world. RAP relies heavily on teenagers as well as the assistance of Abdi’s high school, Lord Byng Secondary School in Vancouver. Abdi has raised $1,800, nine times his original goal, which has been used to purchase sports equipment, toys and clothing. Abdi’s unwavering positive attitude and devotion to serving those who are unserved has inspired his friends to start their own charities and associations.