Meet Abigail: full-time college student and impassioned education advocate

Pencils of Promise
January 17, 2018

Abigail Mendel is a current sophomore at the University of Colorado—Boulder whose passion and advocacy for quality education around the world reach well beyond her years.

While writing her final thesis on the implications of apartheid in South Africa on quality education, Abigail came across Pencils of Promise Founder Adam Braun’s book, The Promise of a Pencil. She was instantly inspired by his story—particularly his initiative to bring quality education to kids who need it most around the world—enough so to know that she too wanted to begin to fundraise to help build a school in one of PoP’s partner countries, Ghana.

Soon after writing her thesis, Abigail traveled to South Africa for a three week trip to volunteer at orphanages and primary schools, and was immediately blown away by the extreme lack of access to education in the world’s most rural and vulnerable communities. This newfound perspective fueled her desire to advocate for PoP and its mission of quality education even more.

And the rest is history.

Abigail’s incredible PoP journey began on her 18th birthday when she returned from her travels—which she generously decided to donate, asking friends and family to support her campaign “Changing Lives, One Pencil at a Time” instead of asking for gifts. She made it her ultimate mission to spread the word about PoP and our work overseas any way that she could, and told everyone she knew about her involvement.

And she’s made incredible progress. To date, Abigail has raised over $25,000 with the support of her family and friends—and still counting.

She’s someone who not only recognizes the urgency and importance of quality education, but dedicates her life to ensuring that more children have the opportunity that she did as a kid. She firmly believes that education is the most vital tool individuals can use in order to achieve their dreams—and that it must be considered a basic right for all children, no matter their race, gender or socioeconomic status.

And we’re right there with her!

PoP is inspired every day by individuals like Abigail, and we’re so grateful she’s with us every step of the way as we reach more kids around the world with quality education.

A quote Abigail lives by, and one we certainly stand behind: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” — Nelson Mandela


Our PoP family is always growing. We’d love for you to join us.

Visit Abigail’s campaign page here.