Thursday, February 8, 2001
Steamboat Springs Seven Steamboat teen-agers plan on taking a trip into rural Nicaragua near the Honduran border on Feb. 18. They'll live in huts with families, walk to work or hitch rides on ox-driven carts, and eat what their poor host families will offer them.
Debbie Young, founder of the Institute of Service Education for Teens, said while the students are in Nicaragua they'll be building safe, indoor stoves and working on a potable water project that will help make the villagers' lives easier and healthier.
But first, they have to raise enough money to get there.
The organization takes teen-agers to third-world countries where they work with communities to improve their standards of living.
The teen service group based out of Steamboat Springs is well on its way to raising money for their humanitarian trip. But the nonprofit group still needs help.
The organization is holding a pasta dinner and silent auction at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the basement of the Holy Name Catholic Church at Fifth and Oak streets.
While the Steamboat Seafood and Pasta Co. donated the pasta, many local stores have stocked the silent auction.
"We have stuff like gift certificates to restaurants and paintings from local dealers," said Ben Beall Jr., a Steamboat Springs High School senior who is going on the trip.
"It's amazing the responses we got from the local merchants."
Beall said the trip costs $1,400 per student. So far, the students have managed to get $500 worth of donations for each traveler. Groups such as the Rotary Club, Lions Club and American Legion chipped in.
"We have commitments from other organizations but we haven't got checks yet," Beall said.
During their trip, the teen-agers will build a water holding tank that collects water from a high mountain stream. They will then run pipes to the homes in the village.
Clean water is important to their health, said John Hottenroth, a senior honor student at the high school, who will be taking the trip. The water the village is using now is stagnant and carries disease. Sometimes the infants die from dehydration caused by diarrhea.
Young said she started the teen program to help make students aware of the world they live in and how they can make a difference.
Young, who has worked with teen-agers throughout Colorado, said she was impressed with Routt County's support when the local students began asking for donations.
"This is one of the best communities I ever worked with," Young said.
Young, a teacher, said she hopes to be able to organize three trips a year for high school and middle school students.