Children’s Global Alliance benefit takes place in Vail Sunday
If You Go
What: Brunch & Bowl, a benefit for the Children’s Global Alliance
When: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Bol, in Vail’s Solaris
Information: This is the sixth annual event. Bowling is sold out, but general admission tickets are available. You get a live auction, silent auction, lite brunch, and a bloody Mary buffet sponsored by Absolut. The money supports service work in Nicaragua, Nepal, Cambodia and Tanzania.
VAIL — This summer, 42 local teens will travel to four different countries to have their lives changed and their hearts expanded, and they need your help to get there.
The Children’s Global Alliance is sending local kids to in Nicaragua, Nepal, Cambodia and Tanzania because perspective is important.
While they’re in these brutally impoverished areas, they’ll work harder and love more deeply than they thought possible, said Lisa-Marie Howell, the organization’s founder and director.
“Our last day started out similar to all the other days, but something felt different,” said A.J. Davies on the last day in Tanzania last summer. “The kids all knew we were leaving, and it was sad to think that in about five hours we’d be saying goodbye to the kids with whom we’ve made such strong bonds.”
They have traveled to Nicaragua to work with children with disabilities, Cambodia to work at an orphanage and school in the slums, Tanzania to work in a school and this year they are traveling to Nepal to work at a school that services children from the Manahari Bhasti slums.
They get a close-up look at poverty at a time in their lives when they’re the most impressionable, and that is how you acquire perspective, Howell said.
How it started
Children’s Global Alliance is a local non-profit that provides volunteer experiences for kids ages 12 to 16. The kids go to some of the world’s poorest countries, where they volunteer with poor and sometimes orphaned children.
Howell was a mentor at Berry Creek Middle School and saw how frustrating it could be for kids to find service projects, and Berry Creek kids are required to do a service project each semester.
“There are lots of opportunities available for adults, but not for kids 12 to 16,” Howell said.
She had just come back from Cambodia, where she worked with orphans for five weeks, and she came back inspired. She set up the nonprofit and away they went.
They started in 2009 by sending five kids to Cambodia. The Children’s Global Alliance was awarded Travelocity’s 2010 Ambassador of Change Award.
Kevin Nichols’ last day in Tanzania started the same as most of others when his friend Madame Doroth pointed out the heartbreakingly obvious.
“She kindly pointed out to me that I would have a disease that will last a lifetime. And no, it’s not the kind of disease you are thinking of. Madame Doroth called it the disease of missing, and it’s actually a pretty rare thing here in Tanzania,” Nichols said.
Raising their own
Students raise their own travel and accommodation expenses. Money raised at benefits like Sunday’s Brunch & Bowl pays project funds that include planting crops, providing running water, buying school supplies, providing medical care, repairing homes and teaching classes on gardening and woodshop.
“Saying goodbye isn’t the hard part, it’s what we leave behind that’s tough,” said Ava Maslan after last summer’s trip to Tanzania.
Before they go, the kids complete an eight-month leadership development and research program. They raise their own money for travel by doing almost anything — bake sales, shoveling snow, babysitting and doing odd jobs.
“They are not allowed to get a check from Mom and Dad. This trip is earned in every sense of the word,” Howell said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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