Jim Luce once chased the “almighty dollar” on Wall Street. He still chases it today around the globe in countries such as Haiti, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
But this time it’s for the kids.
Luce, who adopted a son from Indonesia 14 years ago, said he was inspired to start Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW) in 1999 when he was shocked by disadvantaged children he saw while traveling around the world, some of whom used mud and grease to make cookies.
OIWW, an international nonprofit organization, builds 40-acre campuses in underdeveloped countries consisting of facilities such as schools, playgrounds and medical clinics.
At a dinner discussion in Forbes College on Feb. 18, Luce said he intends to release plans in the near future for a foster-care model that utilizes the resources of extended family members, which would reduce operational costs by 75 percent compared to the full-care model, which is currently used.
The new model would be a guide to other organizations and communities who would be able to implement the system themselves. According to UNICEF, the total number of orphans around the world in 2006 was 73 million.
“It’s so overwhelming; what can you do to impact that? Not only by sending the best and brightest to top American universities but [also by] raising global citizens [in their home country]. It’s part of the global solution for the next century,” Luce said.
In addition to discussing possibilities of partnership with a community abroad, he said a summer internship has been reserved for a University student this summer in OIWW’s New York office. Other internships are available in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Haiti.
Some students have already contributed to the OIWW Global Youth Advisory Board. Virginia Maloney ’10 and Phoebe White ’10 joined the board last summer, and along with Mackenzie Luzzi ’10, they began organizing the first OIWW college team.
“Their creative input and ideas were a great burst of energy, and it was inspiring to hear that. The group wanted to get active immediately,” Luce said. “We realized that there’s huge potential in the youth. We wanted to embrace that leadership.”
Maloney and White hope to spend a portion of this summer in Sri Lanka gaining a better understanding of the situation by seeing OIWW’s work on the ground. They then plan to bring back what they learned to the campus community by organizing dinner discussions, planning future fundraisers and recruiting members.
Maloney, White and Luzzi said they hope their efforts will be duplicated at other campuses involved on the Global Youth Advisory Board, such as Harvard, Brown and Wellesley.
“Princeton is like a lot of college campuses — a distinct bubble. We feel like a lot of groups aren’t globally active. We would be working with a lot of international organizations and trying to bring the global community and global outreach to Princeton,” Luzzi said.
“I think that service and activism are really underdeveloped components of life on campus,” Tim Lanni ’09 said. “Being a Princeton student does not necessarily make it easy to become active in the community, so anytime a group like OIWW comes on campus and is run by people like Virginia, Phoebe and Mackenzie, it is really a great thing.”
“A group like OIWW will give students a very valuable way of helping and learning about others,” he added.
Other students said they believed that the group’s mission matched the University’s informal motto.
“I think specifically Princeton is an excellent place to start with the student body as passionate, interested and smart as we are,” Brooks Hosfield ’10 said. “[We’d] really create a sustainable club and outline for other schools to follow. I think we couldn’t have better leaders and it fits perfectly with ‘Princeton in the nation’s service.’ ”
In April, the team said it hopes to have a larger gathering.
“We’re hoping to reach a wider group of students. Help motivate and get everybody interested in coming to hear Jim and start working and help the team that’s already in place,” said Margo LaZaro, OIWW’s U.N. representative.
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