International humanitarian Linda Cruse inspired the Punahou community as this year’s Spirit and Service Speaker in January. The K – 12 speaker series, hosted by the Punahou Chapel and the Luke Center for Public Service, featured Cruse sharing stories from her two decades of humanitarian work, which began when she sold her possessions to live a life of service.
Cruse travels solo to help in the aftermath of natural disasters, from the Himalayas to the Sahara, where she organizes a local team and seeks out “forgotten people” who live far from roads and resources. She empowers communities by helping create sustainable income solutions, such as purchasing goats for families to make cheese to sell.
During an evening TeamUp! event for families, Cruse presented to on how to support children in becoming global citizens and change-makers. Additionally, Cruse runs Race4Good, a platform that brings together international students, educators, and business leaders to generate ideas for people in need. Punahou students have participated in two “races” to help families in rural Nepal and Greenland. Plans are also in the works for Greenland students to visit Hawai‘i and Punahou.
Cruse left audiences with the message that anyone can be a humanitarian, and to “be one” instead of looking for heroes.