Local student motivated by Zambian need | SummitDaily.com

Local student motivated by Zambian need

KEELY BROWNspecial to the daily
Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc

FARMER’S KORNER – Thanks to the concentrated efforts of Summit High student Megan Hollenbeck, children and their families in far-off Zambia will have adequate clothing and school supplies for the coming year.The sophomore collected 21 boxes of clothing, books and school supplies, which she sent last week to the Zambian Children’s Fund.Megan began her mission last November, when she decided to make it her International Baccalaureate (IB) personal project for the year. She got the idea from a family friend, Barby Goldschmidt, who some months earlier had asked Megan if she would like to be involved with the Zambian Children’s Fund.

“She gave me a lot of facts about the poverty level in Zambia, and I was anxious to help,” Megan said. Megan went to different schools asking if they could help her collect donations. Dillon Valley, Silverthorne and Upper Blue Elementary all helped her set up donation boxes with spectacular results.”I got over 350 pounds of clothes donated,” Megan said. “And Upper Blue also sent books and school supplies. It turned out to be so much, I was amazed.”

The next step was how to get the packages to their destination. Megan spent hours packing boxes and calling delivery companies to get the best rates for shipping the boxes to their destination at the Zambian Children’s Fund headquarters in Arizona. The UPS Store in Breckenridge offered to send the packages for a discounted rate of $257.89. Megan’s father’s company, Rocky Mountain Snowbike in Breckenridge, donated $45. In order to find the funds to cover the difference, Megan sent an e-mail to Vail Resorts, hoping someone there would see her letter and realize the importance of her mission. Dori Webb, an administrative assistant at Breckenridge Ski Resort, saw the letter and wrote back asking for more details. When Megan outlined her project, Webb and Vail Resorts responded by offering her a check to cover the difference.

“When we had the boxes in the back of our car, I was totally overjoyed,” Megan said. “I felt like I had accomplished a lot.” Megan’s mother Sheila Hollenbeck said that she is proud of her daughter’s accomplishment in helping a nation whose population has been decimated by disease.”Zambia is completely devastated by AIDS,” said Hollenbeck. “Many of the children have no parents at all, and are being raised by elderly grandparents. It’s an education for our children to see this, and to see how thankful we should be.”

Hollenbeck added that Megan and her family were overwhelmed by the generosity of those who contributed to the project.Megan, who turns 16 today, lives in Breckenridge with her mother, father Roger, and brother Justin, who is also in the IB program at Summit Middle School.Having encountered success with her first major IB project, Megan said that she hopes to do another one soon.”I like to learn about the world and everything that’s happening,” said the philanthropic teen. “And I hope to be able to do more for those in need.”

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