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    David James Archuleta (born December 28, 1990) is an American singer-songwriter and actor. At ten years old, he won the children's division of the Utah Talent Competition leading to other television singing appearances.[6] When he was twelve years old, Archuleta became the Junior Vocal Champion on Star Search 2.[6] In 2007, at sixteen years old, he became one of the youngest contestants on the seventh season of American Idol.[7] In May 2008 he finished as the runner-up, receiving 44 percent of over 97 million votes.

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Archive for January 20th, 2010


Posted by Abrra on Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Photo by Jennifer Barry

A huge snowstorm was looming in the gray skies over Newark as I boarded the train for Providence.  My mood was resigned.  I had made the painful decision to forgo David Archuleta’s last two Christmas concerts in Boston and Westbury.  I stared glumly out the window, cursing the blizzard that had destroyed my plans to connect with David again.  The train was filled to capacity with people heading home for the holidays.  The seat beside me soon became empty and mysteriously remained that way through three more stops of passengers jostling to board.   Suddenly, I looked up to see a tall young man in his early twenties.  He smiled and politely asked, “May I sit here?”  That was the beginning of a remarkable conversation that lasted until John Torrey got off in Norwich, Connecticut.

John Torrey in Bagamoyo, Tanzania

John is a student at Princeton University.  As the train sped onward through the frigid landscape, he talked to me about his life at college and how he spends his time in summer between semesters.  He does volunteer work in Bagamoyo, Tanzania in an AIDS clinic for women and children, teaching healthy lifestyle habits and disease prevention.  No small task in an impoverished village where health care is virtually non-existent but for the works of good Samaritans, like John and other volunteers for UKUN.  As John wrote in a subsequent email I requested since our meeting, “UKUN also provides care to over 5,000 orphaned and vulnerable children through coordinating support services….providing clients with nutritional assistance, counseling and testing, transportation to the hospital, physical therapy, ARV monitoring, income generating opportunities, referrals to social services in the community, AIDS education in schools, and much more.  They serve as the eyes and ears of the Bagamoyo medical community because they actually enter communities and residences. At the moment, UKUN is facing a funding crisis, so I spent most of my time writing letters and grants in an effort to obtain funds.  I also went on numerous home visits and helped to transport clients to the hospital.  Along with other volunteers, I set up what is now a regular support group for HIV-positive women.  Separately from UKUN, I also taught and played with children at a local center for orphaned and vulnerable children called IMUMA every weekday.”

John Torrey and some orphaned children he taught English, Math, and Geography to in Tanzania.

As I listened to his story of the plight of the Tanzanian people, I immediately felt that John was a person David would be proud to know.  Here was someone doing the hands on work close to David’s heart and fund raising efforts.  They are connected in that way, he and David, strangers and brothers at the same time in their mission.  I began to talk about David’s work with various foundations prompting John to exclaim that, “David certainly seems like my kind of person!”  This was my opening to offer John a Christmas Tour CD.  He promised to play it with his family when he got home.  I showed him some of my videos with my IPhone that feature David singing “Save the Day” and “Falling”.  My seatmate was delighted with the songs and the Voice.  Then he told me that he was a songwriter!  Was there nothing this charming young man did not attempt?

Before we parted, I asked John what his goal was in life.  His answer:  “To bring peace to the world by working to improve health care in poor countries.  I want to write grants for funds to help the continuing effort to raise these people out of poverty so they can support themselves.”  John, like David has a deep feeling of responsibility to try his best to make the world a better place.  I am proud to call John Torrey my friend.  I am almost sure David would be too.

The train pulled into Norwich and my companion got off with a wave and a promise to keep in touch.  Strangers on a train, connected for a moment that would last forever.  I sat back in my seat and felt the smile return that he had placed there; felt my spirits rise as the train gathered speed.  I had missed my connection with David, but I had made the connection I was meant to keep.


How am I connected to you?
How are you connected to me?
How are we connected to the small girl who plays
With her doll on a porch in the summer in L. A.?
How is she connected to us?

How were you connected to your husband or wife
Before you first met later on in your life?
How were you bound to her joys or his strife?
How did this matter to you?

How am I connected to you?
How are you connected to me?
How are we connected to the farmer who plows
Out his small field of maize miles north of Callao?
How are his story and ours tied right now?
How are we connected to him?

How are you connected to the small child who dies
Of severe diarrhea in the slums of Mbuji Mayi?
When pennies from your pocket could have kept him alive
‘Till his fifty-first year when his grandchild turns five?
How are you connected to him?

John Torrey 

From the song collection-Child of the 21st Century

To contribute to ensuring the futures of some of the brightest young orphaned children John taught by sending them to secondary school, donate here: or to donate generally to IMUMA’s amazing and empowering activities, donate here: http://friendsofimuma.bbnow To donate to UKUN, contact the project coordinator, Charles Njonjele at

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