Lenay Dunn gets to be with all sorts of awesome celebs on "10 on Top," Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. ET, but she doesn’t spend all her time rubbing shoulders with the stars. She’s also dedicated to giving back to others, and her passion for education led her to Pencils of Promise.
Right now, Pencils of Promise is focusing on its #GiveBacktoSchool campaign, where you can help fund a child’s education by sharing a pic of yourself from school. Seriously! Lenay’s shared a pic, Andrew Jenks has shared a pic, I’ve shared a pic ... what are you waiting for? To learn more about how to get involved with Pencils of Promise — and who’s a super-cool guest on 10 on Top — we spoke to Lenay herself.
ACT: How did you first get involved with Pencils of Promise?
LENAY: I wanted my heart to be 100 percent behind something, and as I was researching things, Pencils of Promise really stuck out to me. It’s about education and it’s really about making a difference in kids’ lives. That hit home for me, because I actually went to college to become a Spanish teacher, even though now I host "10 on Top" on MTV. I understand the importance of education, and I read the founder’s back story about how he went to India and saw a child begging. He asked the child, “If you could have anything in the world right now, what would you want?”
The kid answered: “A pencil!”
And so he gave him his pencil, and the kid was so excited. Learning all that, I knew that’s what I wanted to be involved with.
ACT: How can people join you for the #GiveBackToSchool campaign?
LENAY: All you have to do is post a picture of yourself going back to school on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter — or a video on Vine — with the hashtag #GiveBackToSchool. My picture was super-awkward. Chegg, the online student hub, will donate $10 for the hashtag, up to $75,000. That’s super-awesome because it’s such an easy, fun thing to do and it’s a really good cause. So I uploaded this super-hideous photo of myself. For some reason I thought I was looking awesome on my first day back to eighth grade. I have these Princess Leia buns, but they’re not princess-like at all. I have these glow-in-the-dark star figures on the side of my face ... I don’t know what they’re doing there. And my braces and my shell necklace and my Abercrombie shirt. It’s funny, but it goes to a good cause.
— Lenay Dunn (@LenayDunn) August 15, 2013
If you want to find out more about the campaign, it’s pencilsofpromise.org/backtoschool. Also, an interesting fact I thought was cool is that each year of school increases a person’s lifetime income by 10 percent. I thought that was fascinating. I think it’s a reason in itself to give back and see what you can do to help someone's future.
ACT: What's your favorite back-to-school supply?
LENAY: I love pencils, I love pens and notebooks. I still go get pens and notebooks. I just moved to New York, and they don’t have Target here, which makes me sad, because they have the best notebooks. I always have a notebook with me and probably five to 10 pens of different colors in my purse. I understand why the kid in India was so excited about the possibilities of the pencil. This pencil can create so many things. It can create ideas, you can learn from it, you can draw pictures. I just love a blank piece of paper and a pen.
ACT: We gotta ask: Who’s been your favorite guest on 10 on Top?
LENAY: We just had Ariana Grande. And she was so fun. I really like having Selena Gomez too, and Victoria Justice, and the Jonas Brothers, Adam Lambert. I can’t pick a favorite. Macklemore? Macklemore’s also one of my favorites. I also loved the time when Cody Simpson cohosted with me. And we have Austin Mahone coming up, which I’m super-excited about. It’s a VMA episode.