Students quick to contribute to project for African kids |

Students quick to contribute to project for African kids

Scott N. Miller
Vail Daily/Coreen Sapp Freshman Danielle Hoffman, left, and sophomore Kelly Lemon are spearheading a fund drive at Battle Mountain High School. Lemon started the drive, which will provide money for school supplies for a village in Ethiopia.

Kelly Lemon took a risk. As a result, Ethiopian school children will receive a load of school supplies this summer.

Lemon, a sophomore at Battle Mountain High School, decided this spring to help the children in the Ethiopian village of Bati where her father, Don, has worked over the past several months. That help has become a fund-raising drive at Battle Mountain that has so far raised about $600 from students, and another $250 contributed at the school’s May 20 awards night. Community contributions are encouraged as well.The fund-raising effort came after a talk Lemon had with her father, Don. Don has been in the country in an effort to get two orphaned children adopted to a relative in this country.”He said he wanted to help the village,” Heather Lemon said. “He talked to the village leaders about what they need, and they said they need school supplies and books.” With her father overseas, the effort fell to Lemon. She first proposed the idea at a student council meeting earlier this year. Once the spring’s big events were over, the council jumped on the idea.First, though, Lemon had to address the school. At a pep rally a few weeks ago, Lemon told fellow students about her idea.”I wasn’t sure how it would go over,” she said. “But people went crazy – they really received it with love.”Art students designed and drew posters, and fund-raising bottles were placed in every third-hour class. Those classes have launched an impromptu competition, with the winner earning a pizza party.While it looks like Lemon’s efforts will net $1,000 or less, that money will go a long way. To save shipping costs on supplies, Lemon will wire the cash to one of her father’s associates in Ethiopia. In addition to pumping a little extra money into an economy that can use every dollar it can get, those dollars will stretch farther if spent there. Lemon said she’s been told schoolbook prices average between $1.50 and $2.The fact there’s no middleman in this effort is one of the things that got freshman Danielle Hoffman excited about the project. Lemon said Hoffman, who also serves on the student council, has been one of her best assistants on the project.

“You always see those corny help a child commercials on late-night TV,” Hoffman said. “Here’s a chance to do something real. You know where the money’s going, and I trust that the money’s going to end up where Kelly says it is.”Asked why she jumped so wholeheartedly into the project, Hoffman said, “She asked me. And I like helping out.”Lemon’s just glad for the help. “Dani’s really good at word of mouth, and that’s really important,” she said.”When people ask,” Hoffman said, “I can say ‘This is what I’m doing – help me out.'”Although Lemon will participate in an exchange student program in Ecuador next year, she wants her classmates to know what their efforts did. “We’re going to take pictures when everything’s delivered, then we’ll make a video to show everyone next fall,” she said. “I want them to know what they did.”

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