rebelling against low expectations

Kelsey & Liz: Toughing it Out for a Cause


Two teens toughing it out for a cause

Whether it is making the cover of ESPN Magazine or garnering attention in local papers, rebelutionaries are helping make teens good news again. Joining those ranks are Kelsey Jurewicz and Liz Matthews from Pennsylvania — who raised $2,500 to provide clean water to third world countries. In the process they demonstrated care for others, effective collaboration, and perseverance in the face of discouragement. That breaks quite a few stereotypes about teens. Take that, low expectations!

Two teens toughing it out for a cause
By Brendan Purves • Wednesday, 11.18.09

Dinner for two. Two teens that want to do hard things.

Kelsey Jurewicz, 17, and Liz Matthews, 17, both of Harleysville, broke away from the typical teenage stereotypes and served up a fundraising spaghetti dinner at Zion Mennonite Church to raise money to help bring clean water to Third World villages.

“To know that people don’t have clean water is just horrifying,” Liz said about the two girl’s motivation to give back.

The two Souderton seniors held the Saturday, Nov. 14 dinner to raise money for World Vision’s Clean Water Fund, which uses the funding to provide 18-foot wells in villages that do not have clean water and can not afford to dig their own wells.

Liz and Kelsey held the dinner as part of their senior projects for Souderton High School, but said that they were originally inspired to run a charity event by the book “Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectation.”

Read the whole article >>

What do you think of Kelsey and Liz’s project? What is stopping you from doing something similar? Your cause might be clean water, or abortion, or slavery, or AIDS, or missions, or poverty, or Bible translation, or anything. Have you been involved in a fundraising project before? If so, share your story in the comment section.

Also, don’t miss an exciting opportunity this holiday season to help Josh Guthrie raise $24,000 to dig three wells in Africa. Other rebelutionaries and their families are giving away their Christmas money, organizing fundraisers, and spreading the word at church and at school. Check out the story here and consider getting involved.

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Photos courtesy of Montgomery

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • I just realized my favorite stories are the ones that are discouraging in the beginning because God is magnified all the more by the weaknesses and setbacks. They remind me that discouragement doesn’t mean the end of my mission, as I sometimes feel, but rather that the mission must truly belong to God and I need to be more like a trusting, faith-filled child who is simply obedient to her Father and leaves all the results and reasons and questions of why and how in His Hands, looking to Him for everything. Thanks for the encouragement! Can’t wait to hear what’s next.

  • This is so inspiring. I love hearing about things like that.
    When I was in fourth grade, I put together a fundraiser in my school for children in Niger. We raised $101.56. And later I sold cider for Katrina relief and raised $50. It’s amazing what we can do with God’s help!

  • A couple years ago, while I was in middle school, I set up a fundraiser in my church to collect money to buy formula for babies in the orphanages in China. My youngest sister, being adopted from China, was one of the reasons I did this and we had a great turn out! If I remember correctly, we had enough to give formula to babies for a couple of months!

    I love their story, and it’s very encouraging!

  • I love the story, and I want to start doing some hard things myself. I just don’t know where to start! I really want to help with the digging wells thing and hope I can come up with something good. if you have any suggestions please tell me.

  • The more you think about what life would be like w/o clean water, the more you are horrified. It is just great that there are teens who are willing to step out and do something about it. God Bless Kelsey & Liz!

  • Um…WOW THATS ASWOME! The missionary stories about clean water, food for those who have none, and translating the bible are my favorites! AND THIS IS A MIRRACLE!

  • Oh, wow! Thank you guys for your love for those people!
    Hmm… as far as being stopped in projects, I think a good bit of it is laziness that I like to mask as “busyness.” I get ideas on what to do, but don’t “get around” to carrying them out. God help me to get moving. 🙂

  • Back when I was about 6-12, Every few weeks or months, my parents and I would go shopping for groceries and things like bottled water etc. Then we would make up lunch bags of different foods and drinks, pack it all up in our van and drive through Toronto. Every time we saw a homeless person, we would pull over and give them a lunch kit. I love handing them out, they always looked to excited to receive the food and water. Sometimes when we saw that they would have a dog with them, we’d give them a special bag of food for the dog.

    And as a special gift, inside each bag was a scripture, telling them about Gods love for us. Some people were so overjoyed to get those scriptures, others didn’t care.

    We haven’t done that for a few years, but now every Halloween, when we go out trick-or-treating, we give every person we see a small card. Inside it will read “Jesus Loves you. God Bless.” and one Halloween, an elderly couple was so thrilled by the card, they hung it on their fridge, and showed it to us the next year.

    Once, I was in a kids club type of thing when I was about 13. Then they had this small fundraiser where we all bring in some of our spare change. And every 31 cents, helps feed one child, for a week.

    So I decided to to take it a step further. I took a small bag, and went door to door gathering small collections. In one week, I raised over $200! When I walked into that church with that big bag of money, they were so thrilled. It felt so good to know that I had raised enough money to feed dozens of children, for weeks!

    God Bless

  • Uh oh…I posted a comment on here about an hour ago, and it said “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    Now when I came back, it was gone. Was there something wrong about what I posted or do I just need to re-write it all? I know it was long….

  • I’m teaching through the Do Hard Things Book in my Mid-High Sunday School Class. How do you successful Rebelutionaries keep your sucess in perspective – in other words – how do you keep from getting a big head? And if you had the chance to come talk to my class, what would you say to encourage them? Thanks so much for everything you are doing for God! :^)

  • First of all, thank you all for all of your comments! It’s so encouraging to us to see how we’ve impacted and inspired not just this village, but other rebelutionaries as well.
    In response to Kara Schug, it has been very important for us that we realize who we are doing this project for and that it is not for us at all. We had no idea that we would ever get recognized for it, and that wasn’t our intent in doing this project at all. It’s very hard not to become prideful with all the recognition we’ve been given, and while it’s ok for us to be proud of our accomplishments, we have to keep in mind that this isn’t about us and it was not our doing. God so evidently had his hand in this project from start to finish. If we had the chance, we would want to tell people that God has a reason for everything that he does and to not get discouraged because if you trust in Him he promises to prosper you. We want to encourage fellow teens to step up and break those stereotypes, to do something for the glory of God. Even though the project itself was a lot of work, the difficulty makes God so much more evident and the joy that we’ve experienced from knowing how we not only provided for this village, but also inspired our community and showed them that teens can make a difference.

    One way that God clearly had His hand on this entire fundraiser, was that, in the beginning, the cost of the well was going to be $5,390. Although we knew that was a reach we decided to take it on. In the end, we wound up raising $2,691, which was disappointing, because we weren’t able to fund a well, but we were satisfied, because we were still going to make a decent contribution to the Clean Water Fund. However, God chose to bless us completely beyond what we expected. Just this Saturday, while on the World Vision website, we saw the price of the exact same well had been changed to exactly $2,600…only $91 less that our final total. Once you give the project to God, He’ll bless it beyond what you’ve ever imagined!

    🙂 Kelsey and Liz

  • That’s such an inspiring and encouraging story because it’s something that feels doable. It makes me want to do something like that! Maybe I can get some of my senior class together… I mentioned it to a few of them and they’re interested… it’s definitely something I’m going to be thinking/praying about! Thanks for sharing that story!

  • @Liz and Kelsey: That’s incredibly sweet how God revealed He had provided the money needed for a well (and more!)! God led me to read Joshua 3 today, and that together with this additional information regarding your story, was just the exact encouragement I needed. Thank you! 🙂 God is amazing and so good and entirely faithful.

  • I am so encouraged to hear of two young ladies who are giving their all to serve God, for a just cause like clean water. They certainly set an example for the believers. Praise God for their servant attitude, and for the money they have raised. Thank you for living God-honoring lives, Liz and Kelsey!

  • Wow. This is such a great example of God’s grace, understanding, and compassion. I can’t wait to hear more about this, and see what else the Lord has in mind for rebelutionaries!


  • A Spaghetti dinner fundraiser? What a fantastic idea!

    See guys, you don’t have to have a non-profit or even a website to raise lots of money for others! 😉 This is wonderful; if only EVERYONE would pitch in and do SOMETHING in their communities for the poor and hurting, this world would be a MUCH better place to live in. Thanks for what you are doing Kelsey and Liz, and may God bless your ministry! 🙂

  • Wow! That really is a great idea. I have been working with a couple of my friends on the Snapshot Search project ( to help find missing children. We haven’t been able to do much yet, but we hope what we have done has helped get more people to see the face of the girl we are currently focusing on.

  • i think that a great idea for us teens to make a grace for others. I would like to imagine myself on that program, that is so heart warming. I would like to do that someday, FANTASTIC!

  • Thank God for teenagers willing to get out of their comfort zone and do more for Him!
    Thank you to all of you standing for truth and righteousness!
    God bless!

  • That story is so encouraging! Way to go girls! My church’s Vacation Bible school was trying to raise $200 in five days to buy a cow for an Ugandan village. We raised almost $1,000 which was enough to buy 2 cows, 4 chickens, and still had money left over to spend on more things they needed. Everybody should check out Childvoice International. They work in Uganda saving young boys and girls from LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) troops. It’s really sad what they do. They rape these young teenage girls who often end up having many children. They also kidnap young boys and often have them shoot their friends and family and then force them to fight in the army. Childvoice is a very good cause! Everybody should check it out! God bless!

  • I’ve had hundreds of amazing ideas by my tender age of 12. Unfortunately they used to just die in a dark corner of my mind. Your book has made me realize that i have everything i really need already! You guys rock!

  • A girl at my church was challenged to raise money similarly to these girls, and ended up reaching her goal of $1,000! She worked hard to raise awareness for her cause, aiding a program called ‘Blood Water Missions’ that builds wells in Africa for villages that have dirty water supplies. She even decided to continue raising money, selling sweaters and purses she hand-made and giving the profits to Blood Water. It should encourage all of us to be creative with our efforts, step out, and reach up with the almighty generosity of God and our individual talents. When we tap into our particular talents and collaborate with others, God moves the rest!

  • This makes you realize (if you don’t already know) that there is no logical excuse for why we can’t do stuff like this.. Sometimes I think we think that if we don’t have enough money we can’t do anything that’s definately NOT true. Stuff doesn’t always start out big sometimes things come slowly and happen slowly.. Things might not happen the way you plan but that isn’t a reason to give up! You don’t have to do something drastic to start you can do something as simple as babysitting for free you might not think that that is that big of deal but to parents it’s HUGE!! I do that for friends of mine and that to them is in incredible gift!!
    Big things are great too!!! But sometimes we think it has to be big to count… But think of the lady who washed Jesus feet with perfume maybe it wasn’t a big deal to others but to Jesus it was the most loving gift… or the gift of the lady who gave one coin Christ said she was the example!!
    BUT i’m not saying this so we can get off easy if you have the ability to do something big (which we ALL do) DO IT!!! But I’m saying don’t get discouraged because it’s not as big as someone else’s do that best that you can do and God WILL honor that because He see’s your heart and He knows you great intention…
    God Bless ALL of you!!

  • That’s so cool!!! I’d like to do something but I don’t know yet. I’m sure God will show it to me at the right time in the right place with the right people.

  • Wow!! This is motivating for me!!! I am trying to have a bake sale to raise money for a ministry Im starting and I only have $48.00 saved so far. wow!! Im going to try harder after this!!

  • This is so wonderful! For years I have been wanting to do something like this (and even more) for conservation. I’m an enormous wildlife fan and it kills me to see our world in such disrepair. Problem is, i don’t know what to do or how to get started! Does anyone have any ideas for me?

  • Thanks Brian, I dont think thats what I am looking for though. I need a counseller (not for myself) 🙂 So, if anyone could help that would be really great!
    – Meggie

  • I am seventeen and I am in the middle of reading Do Hard Things, and have never felt so convicted and passionate about going all out for my Savior. Now that I have discovered this whole new world online of people who have this mindset also, I feel so relieved, like I am not the only one. But I am public schooled and when I go to school it’s like I can’t explain to my peers my excitement and urge to rise up out of this rut. I feel like everyone around me is in. All I hear just sitting in my class room are countless stories on how drunk people got the night before, or how many tickets they’ve gotten for speeding, or how much they can’t stand their parents. Maybe its just that they feel the same way as me and are holding it in. I just feel like I need to get people on the same page. I don’t know how. I am so pumped for what God has in store for me, and it is awesome to see all of the stories of God sparking passion in so many hearts!

  • All these comments and stories are really awesome,I just think it’s sweet for people to care enough to do something about stuff. I just started reading the book today (The Rebelution) I personally think that it’s the best book I’ve read all year and probably next year,I think that this book should encourage all teenagers to make a difference.At my school,Bartels Middle School,we are raising money,and I joined this program to help autistic children.I am one of the head leaders of the program,and I helped 31 autistic children in my school,played with them,talked to them…Lots of kids made fun of me,but I ignored them and stood up for the autistic kids.I mean,I don’t get why people hurt (verbally)each other,we are all the same….it would be nice if more kids did stuff to help others.
    Thanks for reading this!Love the comments!!

  • PS: I am on PSP so My spelling is probibly very bad. ya its a good book, the best one I have read too (of course the bible beats it). Unfortunutly my brother wont read it beacause he is all like “its going to make me do work” and this is probibly a bad responce but I will say somthing like “pour baby” because I mean come on he cantbe that laizy, and even if I start the convorsation differant he still wont read the book.

  • To Isabel, my mom teaches special ed at an elementary school, and to hear your story really touches me.That is awesome, keep it up!

  • I have not read the book, but heard about the book on focus on the family.It really inspired me to start doing things at my school. I am a very shy person and often keeps things to myself. When it comes to leading I am at the back of the room, not wanting to lead anything. There is an event going on called acquire the fire and many people at my school are going. The other night i was just thinking to myself, what about the people that can’t go, the people that want to go and experince god’s goodness but can’t. So right now in the works is Aquire the fire for Klein Oak! I just want to bring god into my school so he can reveal himself to his children and show them how great he is and all his blessings. Can’t wait to read the book!

  • I think its great that your thinking of the people that cant go and how it will afect them. It just shows how much closer you are getting to GOD. PS. still on PSP

  • I read the book and its changed my life. now I’m starting to do things i thought were way over my head. i am starting off now as a paper boy playing basketball. i know i can do more than that but i’ve at least stepped out of my comfort zone. Thanks guys, you rock!

  • I’ve read Do Hard Things- twice! I can’t believe it! I’ve never read a christian book this good. I can’t wait to do some hard things! I agree with you Daniel- it has definitely changed my life and my view of my teen years. When i turned thirteen, a friend said “I feel so sorry for you”. When I asked why, she said, ” Because teen years are the worst!” I couldn’t believe it! Guess who I’m recommending Do Hard Things to? I’ m sssooo glad I read the book?! I may be home- schooled, but if God wants me to do some hard things, he’ll find a way!

  • Reading these posts, I’m amazed to see so many other teens doing such amazing things! After starting (I’m rushing to finish it!) your book, it was like my eyes were opened to so many opportunities just waiting for me to take them!
    I’m home-schooled, and, although I love it, sometimes I wonder if it’s holding me back. I’m throwing away those doubts now; you guys have changed my life!
    God bless,

  • Salut ici ! C’est vraiment un extraordinaire article, je te félicite de l’avoir écrit. Pour te remercier, cadeau, une ligne pour pouvoir exécuter du card sharing : F: ned544eMJHEb ned544eNJNHb 2 0 0 0:0:1,100:3317 #neder 18/04/2011. C’est sans frais, alors n’hésites pas à l’utiliser et la partager. Bonne journée

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →