In 2001, Marilynn Clark traveled to Kenya to do humanitarian work. She helped build an orphanage and distributed supplies to several schools. In 2007, Marilynn brought a friend named Dana Israelsen to Kenya on another trip. They found the orphanage abandoned. While the intent was sincere, they realized the short term gain of building an orphanage. It would not bring about any significant change unless there were educated people who knew how to run it. Together, Marilynn and Dana developed a methodology called Inside Out Learning (IOL) to implement critical/creative thinking skills and character strengths into the existing curriculum.
In 2017, Dana passed away from lung cancer. Her youngest daughter, Gabi, decided to start a humanitarian organization called SAY International to honor her mother and to keep her memory alive through service. SAY International stands for Strengthen All Youth. Using parts of the IOL methodology we take youth and young adults on service trips around the world to teach others how to reverse their trauma in order to think creatively, critically, and ultimately solve their own problems. We focus on sustainable service and the importance of drawing near unto Jesus Christ. We believe everyone is a child of God and we are His hearts and hands here on the earth.
Do it for Dana
MEET THE TEAM
Gabi Israelsen, Founder & President
Hey there! I am a 23-year-old from Alpine, Utah. I am currently attending UVU as a Social Work major with hopes of becoming a Trauma Therapist. My dream in life is to help those living in poverty learn how to overcome their past negative experiences in order to creatively solve their own problems. As a survivor of childhood abuse and losing my mom to Lung Cancer, I've experienced first hand just how much trauma affects your ability to think. After living in Fiji, Africa, and serving an LDS mission in Ecuador, I've become very passionate about helping those living in poverty learn how to think for themselves, and ultimately solve their own poverty! I believe in order to change the world we have to teach the next generation how to use their minds, instead of what to fill their minds with. I hope you will join me on this journey in changing the world one mind at a time!
Chelsea Kemp, Vice President
Hello! I'm a 26 year old from Orem, Utah. I graduated from UVU in 2017 with a Bachelors in Business Management and Marketing. I caught the travel bug when I was 19 when I went on a study abroad with UVU. I loved it! Since then, I've traveled all over Europe, the Caribbean, Peru, and Mexico. I went on a humanitarian trip to Mexico when I was 16 and LOVED it! When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, I just kept remembering that trip and I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to serving others. I know that "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." Now let's forget ourselves and go to work!
Colemen Wilson, Financial Manager
Hi! I am 28 years old, born and raised in Holladay, Utah. When I was a teenager, I discovered my passion for photography and traveling. When I graduated from high school, I left to serve a two year LDS mission in Los Angeles, California. As soon as I got home, I started studying Finance and Economics at the University of Utah. I finished my degree in three years and when I was done, I felt the need to take a break and see the world. I have now been to over 60 countries. I have learned so much about the world and met so many amazing people. Getting involved with SAY international has been such an amazing experience for me and I can't wait to make a change here.
Allie Stapley, Social Media Manager
Hello! I am 23 years old, born and bread in Salt Lake City. I have lived in Holladay, Utah my entire life. I have a love for art and anything that pushes me to be creative. I also have a passion for working with children. When I was 14, I got my first job teaching little kids how to cook and sew. I have been a nanny, worked as a tutor, and volunteered at elementary schools. I have always loved working with little kids. After high school, I went to BYU Idaho, then dropped out to travel full time with my husband. I have learned so much while seeing the world and I have met so many amazing people. I think here at SAY International, we will be able to make a big difference and I can't wait to see how it all unfolds.
Samantha Hyde, Marketing Manager
Hi there! Most people call me Sam. I was born and raised in Utah and recently graduated from Utah State in Marketing. I love the outdoors and can commonly be found hiking through the mountains when I’m not at work. I have always enjoyed travel and gained a love for humanitarian work when I first visited Africa with my family when I was 10. When I was in high school, I started a board of students that raised money for a library in the same town in Ghana I visited when I was young. When Gabi started SAY, I knew it was something special and that I had to be a part of it. In 2019, I went with Gabi to Tanzania and Kenya to set up the first SAY trip there and it was an experience unlike anything else. I hope you’ll join us so you can see for yourself how special SAY is!