HOW DID YOU START WINGS OF HOPE?
We started WINGS OF HOPE at the age of 10. Death of our beloved Grandpa, who was our CONFIDANTE, FRIEND and ROLE MODEL due to Pulmonary Fibrosis crumbled our lives.
He was a chain smoker from the age of 14. From that day, we vowed to save young lives caught in trauma due to addictions. This is how WINGS OF HOPE was born.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LAUNCH AMERICAN CHAPTER OF WINGS OF HOPE?
Recently when we immigrated to the United States. We were spending sleepless nights, as we observed our underage peers vaping E-Cigarettes. When we conducted a survey, we were baffled to find that out of 3,000 students, 97% use flavoured E- Cigarettes, 90% vaped Juul, 85% of the ages of 12 – 17 year olds vape.
Our classrooms were transformed into VAPING DENS. My twin sister Renee Mendonca and I, Rhea Mendonca felt that we couldn’t remain silent anymore and watch the youth being robbed of their lives due to this evil addiction of Vaping E- Cigarettes. This inspired us to form the American Chapter of Wings of Hope.
WHAT TRIGGERED YOU TO WRITE TO PRESIDENT TRUMP, GOVERNORS OF 50 STATE IN USA, ?
The death of our 17 year Instagram friend due to VAPING left us devastated. So we took matters into our hands by putting pen to paper and started writing letters to President Donald Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Governors of the 50 States in America demanding to ban E- Cigarettes in whole of USA.
We received letters of appreciation from Governors of the 50 States in America.
Due to the magnitude of our actions, we realised at the age of 16, it created a SNOWBALL EFFECT. New York was the First State to ban Flavoured E-Cigarettes, followed by 10 States in America.
WHAT EFFECT DID YOUR LETTER HAVE ON E-CIGARETTE COMPANY JUUL?
We accidentally came across the advertisement by E-Cigarette Company, JUUL on Social Media “SAVE ROOM FOR TASTY TREATS AND REWARDS”.
We wrote a letter to E-Cigarette Company, JUUL, them expressing our disapproval how they were using social media to target underage teenagers where Middle and High School students live.
We also protested about the sweet dessert flavours they were using such as Gummy Bears, Cotton Candy, Creme, Mango to entice teenagers and hook them to Nicotine. It was a JESUS MOMENT for us.
We felt we were like MISSIONARIES sent to America to save lives of youth due to VAPING. E-Cigarette Company, JUUL withdrew all Social Media Marketing Campaigns and flavored pods targeted at youth.
HOW DID TO TURN INTO STRONG OPINIONATED YOUNG LEADERS?
At the Dinner table, my mom would throw at us different Global issues and each of us had to give our opinion. This developed us into young leaders who were not afraid to voice our opinion and to stand up for injustice in this world.
HOW CAN VAPING ADDICTS CONTACT YOU?
Wings of Hope is a youth led organisation to help youth all over the world. Till date we have helped 1,50,000 youth from USA, UK, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Nicaragua, Haiti, Mexico, Columbia, Cuba, Congo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Australia and India.
HOW DO YOU SPREAD AWARENESS OF DANGERS OF VAPING?
We share our wisdom on QUORA, MEDIUM and write on international teen magazines to caution the youth of dangers of VAPING.
We also utilized the use social media to spread awareness to the youth. We also made youtube videos urging President Donald Trump, E-Cigarette Companies to STOP E- Cigarettes in whole of USA.
I HAVE HEARD YOU HAVE COMPOSED YOUR OWN LYRICS TO SPREAD MESSAGE OF ANTI-VAPING?
WE KNOW YOUTH LOVE MUSIC. SO WE USED OUR TALENT OF WRITING AND SINGING TO COMPOSE OUR OWN LYRICS AND “ BREAK FREE FROM ADDICTIONS” to inspire the youth to choose LIFE and give up VAPING. SING A SONG.
WHAT WAS SPECIAL OF YOUR 17TH BIRTHDAY?
For our 17th birthday we traded our birthday presents to save the lives of the youth addicted to vaping by asking all our friends, relatives and well wishers to donate to our favorite charity ST JUDE HOSPITAL as our BIRTHDAY GIFT.
We felt truly blessed to celebrate our birthday – FOR A WORTHY CAUSE BIGGER THAN OURSELVES. We raised $1,50,000 dollars.
WHAT INVALUABLE GIFT DID U GET FROM YOUR MOM?.
At the beginning of every school year my mom would handover us an EMPTY BUCKET.
My mom said, “Everyday I want you to fill this bucket with a minimum of 10 GOOD DEEDS”
At the end of the day, she would ask us what good deeds we have done towards our peers, teachers, blue-collared staff, strangers and animals. This ritual imbibed in us a practice of being an angel in our community. Doing good came naturally to us.
How do u celebrate THANKSGIVING?
We had a special RITUAL at THANKSGIVING. At the begnining of the year, each of us had a GRATITUDE JAR with our name on it.
Every morning we had to write a minimum of 10 things we are grateful for and drop it in the Gratitude Jar before rushing off to school.
At Thanksgiving we would empty our jar and read aloud what each one is grateful for.
It was a competition. My mom was the judge for the event. The person with most items in the GRATITUDE JAR won a PRIZE.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE NIGHT RITUAL?
From the age of 3 at bedtime, my mom she would always share with us life lessons and stories of great women and men like Mother Theresa, Bill Gates, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela.
We grew up believing we were sent to this world with a MISSION TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THIS WORLD. This is our favourite NIGHT RITUAL TILL DATE. We look forward to this time together. It is a time of bonding, sharing and celebrating the good in this world.
HOW DO U FEEL WINNING THE INTERNATIONAL UN YOUTH SERVICE AWARD FOR EXCEPTIONAL COMMUNITY SERVICE GLOBALLY?
We feel honored and happy to receive the AWARD. We do not do it for the recognition, but do it to save the lives of youth caught in the web of vaping. Our hearts break into a million pieces every time we read that a youth has died due to vaping.
Rhea Mendonca and Renee Mendonca, 17 year old twins are social entrepreneurs, activists, humanitarians, composer and singer of songs.
They are currently Seniors at Susan E Wagner high school. They are Co- Founders of Wings of Hope, a Global Not For Profit Organisation, Co-Founder and President of Model UN Club in their School.
They are advisors on QUORA, writers for the International Teen Magazine, Youtubers, Bloggers at Medium.
They have podcasts about our Wings of Hope, Not For Profit on spotify, apple podcasts, itunes. So far, Wings of Hope has helped 1,50,000 youth from countries like Haiti, Africa, Nicaragua, Srilanka, Pakistan, India addicted to VAPING.
When children of their age were playing with toys, riding bikes, playing video games Renee and Rhea every Sunday used to spend their time visiting ORPHANAGES, HOMES OF DESTITUTE GIRLS AND terminally ill AIDS home giving motivational talks to orphans in destitute and aids home from the age of ten.
Mendonca twins, Renee Mendonca and Rhea Mendonca besides holding Leadership roles in their school are HONOR ROLL STUDENTS and belong to the prestigious NATIONAL HONORS SOCIETY. They are Mathematics and Science National Level Olympiads Champions.
If you liked this article checkout our article about vaping: Is vaping good for teenagers?