Vail Mountain grad off to Africa |

Vail Mountain grad off to Africa

Jennifer Harper
Special to the DailyKaty Lackey will be traveling to Africa in June to educate students about HIV/AIDS prevention.

SUMMIT COUNTY – While many college students may be heading to the beaches or their hometowns for summer jobs, 20-year-old Santa Clara University sophomore Katy Lackey will be off to the impoverished villages of Malawi, a small country in southern Africa.The Summit County local and Vail Mountain School graduate will be spending five weeks – from June 24 to Aug. 1 – with about 20 volunteers in Africa through World Camp Inc., a nonprofit organization that educates children in impoverished communities.

“I think poverty issues are devastating all over the world, and places like Malawi don’t have the means to address them,” Lackey said.Founded in 2000, World Camp sends a team of youth volunteers to Malawi to conduct three-day educational camps in rural primary schools. World Camp teaches HIV/AIDS prevention, nutrition and environmental awareness.”If you’re going to effect change, you have to start while they’re young to have an effect on their ideals,” she said.

A flyer on campus sparked Lackey’s interest in the World Camp program, but her passion for helping the poverty stricken began in high school at Vail Mountain School in East Vail, where she studied poverty and homelessness and volunteered at soup kitchens in Denver.

Her senior project was on homelessness in Colorado. “I was really focused on just Denver and Colorado. I had the idea that if I was going to effect change anywhere in world, I had to help local problems first,” Lackey said. “But after going to college, I realized I can’t separate the issues affecting people all over the world.”In college, Lackey got involved in the Santa Clara Community Action Program, volunteering with homeless children and delivering food to people with terminal illnesses.”I have come to view myself not just as a Colorado resident or an American but as a member of the human family,” Lackey said. “I need to help those near to me and those farther away as well.”The total cost for Lackey’s trip is $4,500. She has raised $3,000 so far with the help of her friends, family and community members. Lackey hopes to find the remaining $1,500 in donations soon.Lackey said World Camp is about taking the initiative to make change.”It’s not just providing food or a meal for a child; it’s providing them with tools to make choices in life to attack these issues,” she said.Vail Colorado

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