Friday, May 30, 2008

Make a difference

Kilimanjaro climb to benefit orphaned children


By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer

There are a lot of ways to make a difference out there, including by climbing a mountain. Make A Difference Inc., an international nonprofit organization based in Ketchum that works with orphaned children in Africa, will tackle Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania on July 4.

There is still room for participants to join, as well as to donate to the cause.

Kilimanjaro, at 19,340 feet, is Africa's highest mountain. Three local Wood River Valley teens— Emily O'Riley and sisters Alexis and Madeline DuPont—are already signed up for the climb. The climb will build awareness of the 12.3 million orphaned children in sub-Saharan Africa due to HIV/AIDS. It will also raise funds to send children to school from Make A Difference's partner orphanage, Kilimanjaro Kids Care in the village of Himo, Tanzania.

"It makes me so happy to see young adults join my mission to help children," Make A Difference founder and director Theresa Grant said. "Education is one of the best ways to empower orphaned children in Africa."

The girls will spend time to meet the children and work on some of the projects, including Read for Life, which encourages children to learn how to read, a garden program that provides food for the orphanage and an income-generating jewelry program.

"We strive to teach the children how to be self-sufficient through all of our programs," Grant said. "It will be an enriching experience for the girls as well as the children."

Holley DuPont, the mother of Alexis and Madi, said, "My daughters are so fortunate to have Theresa Grant as a mentor, leader and the inspiration behind Make A Difference foundation. She  has created a program to make it possible for them to go to Africa and participate, reach out and give back. For the girls to witness first-hand how they can make a difference, one person at a time, will be truly life changing."

To join the Make A Difference climb on July 4, sign up at makeadifferencenow.org. To donate to the climb and support the girls as they climb Mount Kilimanjaro, and to educate orphaned children, make checks out to: 'Make A Difference' and note the MAD Climb up Kili. Send them to: Make A Difference, Box 2117, Ketchum, ID 83340. 

For questions about the climb or Make A Difference, call (208) 309-2100, or

makeadifferencenow.org. You can also e-mail Grant at theresa@makeadifferencenow.org.




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