Debby Ryan took a life-changing trip to India last month and now we know why!
Debby, along with fellow Disney Channel stars Bella Thorne, Zendaya, Ross Lynch, and Laura Marano have been named the inaugural ambassadors for Disney’s Friends for Change Ambassadors program, encouraging kids and families to make a lasting, positive change by helping people, communities, and the planet.
In collaboration with select non-profit organizations, Disney Friends for Change Ambassadors will lead campaigns to engage millions of kids to take action and volunteer. Each nonprofit will receive a Disney Friends for Change grant to further the reach and impact of the themed campaign. In total, $750,000 will be awarded to the following three efforts:
* “Helping Communities – Volunteer,” led by Debby Ryan and in collaboration with Free The Children (from June 29 – August 16)
* “Helping People – Be a Leader,” featuring Bella Thorne and Zendaya, and in collaboration with Free The Children (from August 17 – September 27)
* “Helping the Planet – Green Your Scene,” championed by Ross Lynch and Laura Marano, and in collaboration with TreePeople (from September 28 – November 30)
As part of the program, Disney Channel will debut a series of interstitial messages, featuring the Disney Friends for Change Ambassadors beginning MONDAY, JUNE 18. Disney Channel, Radio Disney, and Disney.com will chronicle the Ambassadors throughout the summer as they volunteer and inspire kids of all ages to lead. Also part of the interstitial series and debuting FRIDAY, JUNE 29, Debby Ryan will share her personal experience volunteering in India through Disney Friends for Change with Free The Children, where she helped build a new school for a local village. Inspired by the stories and efforts of Disney Friends for Change kids, Debby helped to start the Ambassadors program.
Debby took to Facebook to share more about her incredible trip.
Click inside to read more & for more Friends for Change photos…
Debby shared how everything came about. She writes, “About a year into the program, I went out for deep dish pizza with two of the people at the Channel who are the heartbeat of this movement, and we began to discuss my ideas. I told them about research I’d been doing on the living conditions for children in developing countries. We talked about how successful our program had been at arming kids with the passion, ideas, and tools they need; I figured if we could encourage environmental change in thousands of communities, I didn’t see why we couldn’t arrange humanitarian projects on the other side of the globe. They were amused by my passion and idealism, as most people are, but not dismissively. They really believed in me, and what we could do together, and started to make these ideas happen. Or maybe they just got sick of me mercilessly hassling them about it everytime I saw them.”
So how exactly did Debby choose India? She continued with, “Meanwhile, the culture of India became this crazy reoccurance in my life. I’m talking from all sides; books I read, my bestfriend planning a trip, films I saw, people I ended up working with [both in the States and in Canada], articles I’d stumble across, character storylines [can you think of one? (; ], etc… I couldn’t get India off my mind, so I began asking a ton of questions to several people I encountered, who all had different experiences or ties in Southeast Asia. I quickly developed a huge crush on the culture, and became obsessed with learning everything I could.”
Read more about Debby’s experience as a Friends for Change Ambassador here.