Alissa StrubleThe queen of activism at Ames High School

“Poverty and hunger are problems that are not being adequately addressed by nations like the United States. The statistics are absolutely shocking, and they’re just getting worse,” senior Alissa Struble said, who has spent her years at Ames High dedicated to raising awareness and aiding those who suffer. She feels poverty is at the core of many of the concerns facing the world today. “Problems such as terrorism and war could be alleviated if only the issue of hunger and poverty was resolved.” Struble went on to say that it is easy to forget that so much suffering exists while living in Ames. She often has to remind herself that not all places in the world are as fortunate. “There is hunger, there is suffering, and I have the ability to help in small ways that make huge impacts,” she said. “I would be wasting my life if I didn’t use all my available resources to assist those who aren’t as fortunate as me.” Determined not to “waste life,” Struble is involved in many student activist groups around the community. In the past, she has taken part in Key Club, Mayor’s Youth Committee, and individual volunteer projects. This year, she’s focusing mainly on her duties as co-president of SHEF (Students Helping to Eliminate Famine). “SHEF is a group of concerned and motivated members that use their time and effort to accomplish goals. Each semester, we have a different monetary goal. We also spend time volunteering at local activities, such as the Bethesda Food Pantry and the Food at First Soup Kitchen,” Struble said. “I coordinate activities within the meetings and in the community to raise awareness of hunger problems locally and internationally,” Last year, SHEF raised $5000 for an organization in the Dominican Republic that works with homeless orphans. Struble thinks that teenage involvement in global issues is of utmost importance. “Teenage activism is an incredible blessing to a community,” she said. “Some teenagers are heavily aware and involved in attempting to address [poverty and hunger]. However, others seem more worried about what they wear than world issues.” Struble blames teenage ignorance, in part, on the media. “[The media] puts value on material possessions and ignores the terrible statistics of those dying from hunger each day,” she said. To raise awareness among teenagers, Struble suggests students put themselves in the place of people who suffer. “Activities that require the students to empathize with others are the most effective in raising awareness.” After high school, Struble plans on attending Iowa State University and majoring in Spanish. She then hopes to become a high school Spanish teacher. Struble will continue work in groups like SHEF. “I hope to travel and participate in community service projects in other countries, such as building schools or helping non-profit organizations. Also, wherever I end up teaching, I hope to create a new or become involved in an existing hunger awareness club like SHEF,” she said. “That way, I can motivate other teenagers to get involved in world issues like hunger and poverty.”