Dec 30, 1899 12:00 AM by Kristi Tedesco
TUCSON - We found one Kristi's Kid who is a little older than we typically feature.
He's a college kid at the UA who started a company to help younger kids worldwide.
Ryan Westberg is Paying it Forward.
Ryan spent a Semester at Sea in 2011. Within months, he'd stepped into 13 countries in Africa, Asia and Central America.
"While in these countries, we were able to see how diverse and how amazing each one is individually. But also the extreme poverty and problems that still persist."
So while traveling, Ryan teamed-up with other students. They toured even more countries and started collecting fabric from each location.
"And every fabric is connected to a charity within the region."
The fabric is used for pockets on T-shirts and sold at serengetee.com where you will find information and videos about every shirt's charity.
A group in Ghana rescues children from impoverishment. Another one in Madagascar assists abandoned and orphaned children with education; other organizations support hospitals and schools.
13% of the sales from the shirts go to the charities.
Ryan considers himself a social entrepreneur. Instead of operating as a non-profit, his company is making money.
"We're not relying on people's donations," he explains. "We have a product that people like and we're able to give back in a sustainable way, becoming a fully sustainable business for the future. Something that can be around forever."
That way Ryan and his team can Pay it Forward for years to come.
"Having the opportunity to give back is just like a great feeling. And I feel like I'd be doing something wrong if I wasn't."
In just over a year, they've sold over 10,000 shirts. You can also Like their Facebook page.