Balancing school, future, global service
Kristen Kapps, Carrie Casey and Jessica Christjans have a lot on their plates these days. The Park City High School seniors have the usual worries about filling out college applications, excelling in AP classes and keeping their heads up until graduation. But, unlike their peers, the three are also working toward raising nearly $30,000 to fund a service work trip to South Africa at the end of June.
With the help, guidance and supervision of mentors Allison Page-Barfield and Angie Sapp, the girls are helping host and organize a fund-raising craft fair this Saturday. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mountain Life Church, homemade crafts such as terracotta-pot holiday soldiers, tree ornaments, handbags, knitted and crocheted hats and scarves, quilts and food gifts will be available. Many of the items are made by the girls themselves with contributions from their family, friends and other volunteers.
Page-Barfield said this is a good opportunity for people to pick up Christmas gifts and "feel like their money going to a good cause." She added that they wanted their approach to raising money is different.
She said many people think, "Your parents can afford to send you. Why am I giving you money?" Page-Barfield said. She added that the service-oriented approach not only shows they are willing to work for the money, but also offer some tangible goods or helpful services in return. It’s also a chance to get the community more involved and give the same 400 or so Mountain Life Church congregation members a break from always being hit-up.
For more information, contact Gail at Mountain Life Church at (435) 647-5855 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All donations are tax deductible Page-Barfield said.
Kapps, Casey, Christjans, Page-Barfield and Sapp have known each other since the girls were in sixth grade. The three girls have been on other missionary trips with their youth group Christjans helped in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and also on a Hopi Indian reservation. This will be the first foreign mission trip for the girls, but Page-Barfield and Sapp have already visited the ministry, Bridges of Hope, they are partnered to work with in South Africa.
Mountain Life Church, for now, is sending short-term teams to Philippi, a suburb of Cape Town, to help. Page-Barfield said Bridges of Hope is different because it takes more of a teach-a-man-to-fish approach they help the community to be self-sustaining after they’ve left. In South Africa, the group will be working with children who have been orphaned by AIDS.
Casey and Christjans said it’s been tough trying to organize the three major fund-raising events each girl is responsible for one. Page-Barfield said the responsibility helps encourage them to develop leadership skills, see how to network and learn the importance of working in the community to get support.
Even though it can be discouraging at times for the girls, Page-Barfield she acts as a sort of cheerleader. "I tell them," she said, "’We can do this!’"
The craft fair is the second of the three major fundraisers the group has planned. The first included baking and selling more than 100 pies, from scratch, for Thanksgiving. They are planning a South African cuisine dinner next year.
Christjans and Casey said the service work experiences give them perspective.
"A lot of kids are used to the Park City bubble," Christjans said about growing up in a wealthy, well-off community. "They don’t always appreciate what they have."
Page-Barfield said the girls, by Park City’s standards, come from average families, and it can be easy to "lose perspective of what the needs are [of others] throughout the world and how people live."
"We’re in the top percentage of wealth in this country," she said. "The exposure to third-world-type of conditions is really an eye-opener."
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