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Why I’m Living Below the Line

By Allison Kooser

Allison manages Young Ambassadors for Opportunity at Opportunity International and is Living Below the Line for Opportunity from April 29-May 3.

At my desk at the Opportunity International office, I have surrounded myself with words and images that inspire me. There are photos of my friends and family—people who have provided for me, supported me, and challenged me to become the person I am today. There is a very large calendar full of all of the activities of Young Ambassadors for Opportunity chapters across the country—a constant reminder that there are hundreds of young people like me who care deeply about people working their way out of poverty and are willing to give their time and talent to make a difference in alleviating some of the world’s most challenging issues. There are images of Opportunity International clients—smiling faces of determination, hope, and possibility.

Allison Kooser Live Below The Line Allison Kooser Live Below The LineAllison Kooser Live Below The Line

Then, there are words. Words like Mark Twain’s: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

And Helen Keller’s: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

And those of one of the best adventurers I know, my dear friend Scott, who reminds me time and again to “Go Big.”

These words encourage me to tackle challenges, take risks, and stand up for the causes in which I believe, even when it isn’t easy. They remind me that life doesn’t have to be boring or predictable—it can be surprising, exciting, and a constant series of adventures.

Taking the Live Below the Line Challenge is one such adventure. It is a commitment to eat and drink on $1.50 a day for five days—stepping outside of my normal routine and getting a glimpse into how the 1.4 billion people surviving under the extreme poverty line live each day. It is much more than a week of no Diet Coke and lots of rice and beans. It is a chance to “Go Big” in honor of the billions of people who aren’t living on $1.50 voluntarily. It is a chance to join a team of Young Ambassadors, Opportunity International employees, and Opportunity supporters in raising awareness for our amazing clients. It is a chance to Live Below the Line so that others can rise above it.

Sign up to Live Below the Line with Allison at https://www.livebelowtheline.com/us-opportunity, or support Allison’s Live Below the Line fundraiser at https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/alkooser.

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