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Volunteen of the Month: Harris Pervaiz

Chicago student Haaris Pervaiz became frustrated his sophomore year of high school. While Haaris was an active volunteer in his community, doing everything from charity runs to working in a soup kitchen, he didn’t notice any other teens volunteering at these events. This, along with his desire to devote himself to one volunteer organization, inspired Haaris to become involved with Project ARC.

Project ARC is a Chicago-based, youth-led organization that works to help those in third world countries. Sixteen-year-old Haaris is now entering his senior year of high school and is the Executive Director of Project ARC.

“Before I got involved with Project ARC, I was working with a bunch of little organizations,” Haaris said. “I really wanted something I could help with all the time. We can see the impact of our organization.”

Currently, Haaris is working on a campaign called Threads of Hope. Project ARC distributes bracelets to teen volunteers throughout the greater Chicago area. The volunteers then work to sell these bracelets for $5 each. For each bracelet sold, $1 goes to buying more bracelets, and $4 goes to building an orphanage in Cameroon, Africa for HIV positive orphans.

“It’s a lot of kids working together. It’s a great way to give back, and it’s a lot of fun,” Haaris said. “It’s just a great way to spend your time.”

While Haaris devotes most of his time to Project ARC, last summer he spent three weeks in Cambodia doing a variety of volunteer projects, including teaching English, planting trees and building houses.

“I think it really changed me and made me a better person,” Haaris said. “It really made me want to help on an international level.”

Even after he finishes his senior year of high school, Haaris plans to continue volunteering. He is going to volunteer in Guatemala the summer after his freshman year of college, and in eight years, Haaris hopes to be a brain surgeon volunteering for Doctors Without Borders.

“I want to give back and help people that are really desperately in need,” Haaris said. “We can’t change the world by ourselves, but all of us can do a little part to help.”