Melissa looks beyond building homes locally. She is also tackling the problems of world hunger, poverty and disease. In order for her to tackle all of those issues, she reaches out to her peers.
"In terms of what kept me going was this idea that it just needs to be done. You can empower teens and it's possible for teenagers to do this," says Melissa.
The 17-year-old senior at Santa Monica High School is looking forward to the near future, when she can truly be involved in her vocation.
"Hopefully, doing field work ... Either going there for however long and working with the people, learning about their culture and learning about the root causes of global poverty and ways to end it," says Melissa.
Driven to help in any way she can, Melissa truly sees the big picture.
"We're all interconnected globally. Why think of ourselves just as Americans ... but, instead, as global citizens. That's how I've been thinking. Just what can we do. Everyone needs help," says Melissa.
Melissa Etehad is building homes and hope. She is our "Cool Kid."
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