Sheboygan’s Hope Schmidt, 18, a December graduate of IDEAS Academy, recently returned from three weeks of public service work in Thailand.
Schmidt worked with the Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities (DEPDC), whose founder, Sompap Jantraka, twice has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. DEPDC is a non-governmental organization that strives to prevent child exploitation and defends vulnerable minors and their rights, according to a news release.
Schmidt also worked with the Pavena Hongsakul Foundation for Children and Women, a non-profit organization that cares for victims of the sex industry.
“Human trafficking is continually growing, and in my opinion it’s because so many of us are unaware and uneducated on what sex slavery really is,” Schmidt said.
“Children are being misused, abused and killed in ways that are unimaginable to most. It’s not just growing in other countries but in America, too. As the youth of America, together we have the power to influence and create the future we want to see.”
Schmidt’s work overseas was part of Generation Peace Academy, a character education project of the Unification Church and Lovin’ Life Ministries.
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Schmidt, a high school valedictorian, plans to attend The Art Institute of Chicago for fashion design.