Alex Hill

You must BE the change you wish to see in the world.
Father of Zain Verjee, Anchor, CNN International
Alex Hill at the 2004 Global Action Awards
Alex Hill at the 2004 Global Action Awards

Contemplating a Leadership Service Project, Alex Hill, a compassionate Eagle Scout from Michigan, decided to venture beyond the borders of his community to a small village in Uganda in desperate need of life-saving medical supplies and an ambulance. A special visitor to his church planted the seeds for Alex's project when he talked about the urgent health care needs in Uganda. Inspired to take action, Alex began a series of fund-raising efforts to raise money to buy medical supplies and an ambulance. He named his project S.C.O.U.T. B.A.N.A.N.A. Alex came up with the idea to collect medical supplies and raise money by rallying his hometown, fellow students, parishioners, family and Boy Scouts to host cardboard cut-outs of Father Joseph Birungi. Groups that hosted Father Joseph received informational materials about medical needs in Uganda and a yard sign reading, "I hosted Father Joseph!" In 2002 Alex was able to personally deliver a check to a small Ugandan village so the people could buy a much-needed ambulance. He is a young man committed to helping people around the world gain access to resources that many people take for granted in the United States.

When MY HERO asked Alex to describe what inspired him to spearhead a project to collect and deliver medical supplies to a health center in Uganda, East Africa, he replied:

I first learned about the need of the Ugandan people when I met a priest named Father Joseph. He visited my parish and he offered African drum lessons, so I thought that would be interesting to learn. But he taught me more than just drum lessons. He taught me about the great need of the people in Uganda and the lack of basic health care and transportation.

Since health care is a big issue, MY HERO asked Alex how the need for health care manifests itself to the people in Uganda. He explained:

There is extreme poverty over there. I did travel over there and the people, even though they had so little, wanted to share that little with us.

Alex with cut-out of Father Joseph<br>Photo from
Alex with cut-out of Father Joseph
Photo from

In response to a question about what he had learned from the Ugandans and in what way they have inspired him, Alex explained:

Since I went over there and I met the people and I lived with them and ate with them, I feel even more compelled to continue to tell their story and ask for help for them.

Alex talked about the success of his project and described some of the ways his project has helped the people in Uganda:

Father Joseph…we keep in contact and he has told me of many hundreds of people who have gotten help from the health center and also the ambulance. They just recently got approval to get blood for blood transfusions at the health center because they met their requirement of having an ambulance.

Recognizing the challenges in trying to raise money and get a project of this magnitude going, MY HERO wanted to know where the Ugandan people and Alex get their strength from. Alex responded:

I’m not sure exactly where they get their strength, but I think I get my strength from them, because I realize that this was the only way that these people would get this need met that they have, this life-saving service.

Ugandan children learned about the ambulance with miniature Matchbox ambulances.<br>Photo from
Ugandan children learned about the ambulance with miniature Matchbox ambulances.
Photo from

Alex responded with conviction when My HERO invited him to share what he would tell other kids about getting involved and trying to make a difference in the world:

First, you have to believe in yourself before you can get others to believe in you and your cause, and you need to believe that you have the potential to make a difference in the world. You just need to decide what kind of a difference you want to make in the world.

Father Joseph and the healthcare center surprised Alex by naming a ward after his patron saint.<br>Photo from
Father Joseph and the healthcare center surprised Alex by naming a ward after his patron saint.
Photo from

From the picture, it is apparent who the health center in Uganda considers a hero. When asked to tell us about his hero, Alex answered that he has many heroes, but one in particular stands out:

Father Joseph, the priest I met from Uganda, is my hero, because it was first his dream to build the health center and provide medical care for his people. He is working really hard to get that done.

Page created on 3/13/2013 4:10:24 PM

Last edited 1/4/2017 11:03:33 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Mercy Corps - is a non-profit organization that mobilizes young people in developed countries to make ending extreme poverty a global priority. Find out how to get involved.
Alex B. Hill - About Alex Hill today (2015)
UN Millennium Development Goals - By the year 2015, all 191 UN member states have pledged to meet these goals, the first of which is to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty.
S.C.O.U.T. B.A.N.A.N.A. Project - Visit Alex Hill's Web site and read more about his Eage Leadership Service Project to obtain an ambulance and provide life-saving medical supplies for the people of Bukuumi, Uganda.

Author Info

One out of every six people around the world lives on less than $1 a day. This kind of poverty robs people of their fundamental human rights, and contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS, political instability and environmental damage. Winning the long-term fight against global poverty requires a new generation of leaders who understand the complexities and responsibilities of living in an interconnected world.

Mercy Corps(formerly NetAid), a non-profit organization committed to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals for 2015 to end extreme poverty, identified four young people whose innovative efforts to fight poverty have made a difference in the lives of impoverished children around the world. Mercy Corps honored these global citizens at the inaugural Global Action Awards event on December 2, 2004 in New York City. MY HERO was privileged to attend this event and interview the honorees who shared their commitment to building a global community in which all people can live in dignity and realize their basic human rights.