Mary-Pat Hector’s “sparks” are servant-minded leadership and disruptive innovation. She is a hands down a disruptivator; using her spark to be Powered by Service and create change. She started her first nonprofit at the age of ten. By the time she joined UNL at age 13, she was already a well-known activist and change agent in her hometown of Atlanta. When she was 15, she won the Peace First Prize, a $50,000 grant to do her own Powered by Service project called ‘Think Twice’, which sought to end gun violence amongst teens and young adults by putting up billboards featuring disruptive images. She is the youth spokesperson for Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) and travels around the country speaking out against social injustice and inspiring her peers to recognize their power to create change at any age. On top of it all, she is in her first year at Spelman College where she is president of her class. Given her background, it didn’t surprise us when she reached out to see if we could help her with a project to get water to the residents of Flint, MI, who have been exposed to poisonous levels of lead in their water since 2014. The exposure is now causing sickness, rashes and even irreversible brain damage and developmental issues in children.
MARY-PAT is a mover and shaker. She gets things done. She called up her contacts and found a connection through Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry, one of the largest direct social movements in the U.S. They heard her call and provided 17 pallets of water, that’s over 12,000 bottles, and baby wipes for Flint residents. Next, she had to figure out how to get it there. She found a truck driver willing to drive the pallets all the way from Atlanta to Flint free of change. Now, all she needed was to get the donated water to the donated truck. She identified a company called ShipInPax, but needed help covering the fee. That’s when she called her Usher’s New Look family, who she says, “she knows she can always rely on.” Of course we wanted to help!
Mary-Pat spent the whole weekend going door to door with her fellow NAN members, not just providing water and wipes, but also listening and capturing the stories of the people, which she shared on her social media to spread awareness. “Flint is worse than we think it is,” she told us. “Immigrants are being denied water and health care because they cannot show proper ID.” She spoke to mothers, grandmothers, children and adults. Her actions received praise by her supporter Rev. Al Sharpton.
Mary-Pat’s outstanding work even picked up the attention of local Atlanta news station 11alive. And now, she has another idea. She’s been trying to get the attention of Tide to send their ‘Loads of Hope’ travelling wash station to Flint to wash baby clothing since, “No baby should have to wear lead soaked clothes.”
There’s no doubt in our minds that someday Mary-Pat Hector will hold a high political office someday. With the track record she already has at age 17, she’ll likely be the first black female President of the United States.
Thanks to UNL Board Member, Cammie Rice, Mary Pat Hector was able to send a second truck load of water to Flint, MI! 24 thousand bottles =1000 cases= 35,000.00 pounds of fresh water. This will take care one neighborhood in Flint.
If you are in Atlanta, below is how you can help MARY-PAT. If you are elsewhere, please help by following her on Facebook and twitter and sharing her posts to spread awareness.