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    Sheridan teen awarded for buying women out of slavery

    6:14 PM, Apr 24, 2013   |    comments
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    Sheridan student Tiffany Easter sold these bracelets to free women and children from slavery in Ghana. (Photo: Meredith Mitchell/THV 11 News)

    SHERIDAN, Ark. (KTHV) -A High School Senior is getting national attention for her volunteering.

    Tiffany Easter, 18, who is just weeks away from graduating high school, has made quite an impact on her peers at Sheridan High School.

    Easter has been named "Arkansas' Top Youth Volunteer" for her efforts to raise money to free young girls from slavery in Africa. The summer after her Freshman year, Tiffany and her sister decided to help a mentor of theirs with her mission in Africa. Three years later, that work is paying off in a big way.

    In fifth grade , Tiffany Easter said she was inspired to help others while on a mission to Mexico with her parents.

    "I was able to get really connected with the kids, and that's kind of where it all started," she said.

    That inspiration has carried on through her teen years.

    In 2010, Tiffany learned about Trokosi slavery from a mentor who works with the young women in Africa. The women are sold to priests as sex slaves in Ghana. Moved by the plight of these women, Tiffany said she and her sister decided to raise money for their mentor's mission.

    "Every slave is worth about $200, and that $200 saves the slave and all of her children, which is about 3 to 5 people on average. Since the first fundraiser went so well, we decided to keep doing it, and so far, we've raised $7,000," she said proudly.

    That money has liberated 60 women, and it was raised by selling silicone bracelets with the inscription "Beauty for Ashes" -- a phrase from the biblical book of Isaiah. Tiffany said they even sent a bracelet to their mentor in Africa.

    "We ended up getting to send a bracelet to her, and she was able to show it to the women and say someone cares about you," she said.

    Tiffany said what motivates her to volunteer is seeing the satisfaction on other people's faces.

    "I'm so blessed. I have a house. I'm fed every night. I have good clothes and to be able to help someone else have that same thing is a really good feeling to have," she explained.

    As the state's top youth volunteer, Tiffany encourages other teens to give back.

    "In our society, we're so wrapped up in ourselves. What we want and I always want the next best thing, but there's people in the world that don't even have a meal," she said.

    Tiffany is also an active member of her Schools Student Council and National Honor Society.

    She will head to D.C. On May 4 to be recognized for her honor and have the chance to compete for the nation's top youth volunteer. Tiffany will attend Louisiana Tech University next Fall and has already made plans to continue her service work on campus.

    She received a $1,000 for becoming the state's top youth volunteer.

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