We’re shining the light on 23-year-old Brittany Bergquist who started a successful non-profit organization with her brother when they were only 11 and 12 years old. Cell Phones for Soldiers collects old cell phones and recycles them, using the money raised from the recycling to purchase calling cards to send to US troops serving overseas. What’s the big deal? To date, soldiers have received more than 200 million minutes of free talk time to contact loved ones while they’re serving our country! See for yourself why we’re so inspired by Brittany! And pick up a copy of our Feb/March issue to see how you can support this awesome organization.
My brother and I saw a story about a soldier from Massachusetts who had an $8,000 cell phone bill for calling home. We ran up to our bedrooms, without even saying a word to each other, grabbed all the money in our piggy banks, took it and dropped it on the table and said to our parents, “We want to help him. We need to find him. We need to figure something out”. It started with $14 and now we’ve recycled more than 11 million phones.
Probably the self confidence. Especially in the beginning we weren’t sure that we could really handle taking on such a big organization…It was just something we overcame. We started to understand that if we had a passion and we committed ourselves to it, that it was worth doing, The most important thing is that it doesn’t matter if you’re one young person or if it’s your entire school, you can definitely accomplish something that’s really great.
At one point my family and I were invited to Walter Reed Hospital and Bethesda Hospital and we got to visit some of the troops who were there recovering who had been very seriously wounded overseas. We had an opportunity to speak with a young man who had had to have both legs amputated and all he wanted to talk about was the fact that he had gotten a Cell Phones for Soldiers calling card when he was overseas. It was so moving!
There were issues with friends, grades, school, getting cut from sports teams and things like that. Some days we would go to school and we dealt with bullying, absolutely. It was horrible. I particularly did, but at the end of the day, when you come home and then you have a letter from a soldier from overseas saying thank you for the calling cards, it made it a little bit easier.
My parents and older sister. Even when things get hard or we’re exhausted, they’ve always been there to cheer us on and be a confidence behind us to make us really want to continue on and feel good about ourselves.