ELKHART — A new organization is working to get kids involved in community service and in learning about communities far from their own as a part of developing local young leaders.
Michele Ware of the Learning is for Everyone (LIFE) alternative school program, Tolson Center manager and former LIFE principal Clyde Riley and Leroy Thompson of Inova Federal Credit Union in Elkhart have formed Higher Ground Enrichment Inc., a nonprofit group with the goal of enriching the lives of local youths.
Ware explained that she gathered recommendations from area principals and administrators about which high school students should participate.
Twenty students are set to go on Higher Ground Enrichment’s first trip, a trip to Tanzania to see “the great migration” of animals in June.
Ware explained that, through the trip, the leaders “want them to grow, come back to Elkhart, contribute to society, become a mentor and mentor others, become a community leader ... that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re going to do it.”
The students will also all be involved in organizing and running fundraisers for the trip “and with the cost of the trip around $8,000 per person, we will be doing a lot of fundraising,” Ware said in a press release.
That first fundraiser for the trip to Tanzania will be a Nelson’s Port-a-Pit Fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, at the Walgreens across from the Elkhart Clinic on the corner of Nappanee Street and Lexington Avenue.
“We need to have community involvement,” she said. “You can’t do this without community involvement.”
On the trip, the students will visit a Masai village, a school on the Serengeti plain, as well as go on night and day game drives and walking safaris.
“You enrich, you grow, you learn, you can mentor, you’re off the street because you’re with Higher Ground Enrichment,” Ware said.
For more information about the trip, the fundraiser or Higher Ground Enrichment, call 574-522-0566 or 574-849-7196. Ware said people can also contact Inova Federal Credit Union at 574-294-6553 to donate money directly to the Higher Ground Enrichment account there. Ware said that the organization can provide receipts for tax purposes.