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Laura Riggs – buildOn

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Laura Riggs in KTGY’s Oakland Office is helping to break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy through education and service in the U.S. and abroad.

Laura Riggs has been selected as one of the four individuals for KTGY’s 2015 “Making a Difference” program for her commitment to the non-profit organization buildOn. With her teenage daughter, Isabelle, she is helping to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through education and service in the United States and abroad. Laura and Isabelle have been involved in multiple local service projects, as well as fundraising to build schools in Nepal, Nicaragua and Haiti through the local buildOn chapter at Isabelle’s school, Albany High School (AHS). Their fundraising efforts have involved baking and selling homemade treats, selling coffee, collecting cell phones and small electronics, as well as outreach to community members and the local business community.

In 2013, the AHS chapter raised approximately $60,000 for the construction of a school in Nepal. In 2014, they raised more than $46,000 to build a school in Nicaragua; and this year, they raised $73,000, which included a donation from KTGY, to fund the building of a school in rural Haiti. The school in Haiti, which is located in a small village in the mountains north of Les Cayes, was recently completed by volunteer labor from the village.

Laura reports that in the U.S., 1.2 million high school students drop out before graduating. That’s a student dropping out of school every 26 seconds. Worldwide, nearly 900 million people cannot read or write and 57 million children of primary school age have no classroom access at all.

“As a single mother, I have strived to instill in my daughter a sense of engagement and optimism,” said Laura. “I have actively volunteered in Isabelle’s public school classroom and as a Girl Scout leader. We have cleaned up beaches, passed out food to the elderly and disabled poor, volunteered in an orphanage and worked with programs for younger children. I have valued her education most of all and she has become an excellent student with a bright future, poised now to leave for college. I followed her lead in our involvement with her buildOn chapter, an organization which has continued to inspire her to do her very best for others and for herself. I hope that others will be inspired to assist in their local communities, too.”

buildOn’s service learning programs engage students in 62 high schools in seven challenging urban areas: Boston, Chicago, Connecticut, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area.