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Local teens hold donation project for troops

10 Nov 2006 | Pfc. M. Daniel Sanchez

A group of five teens from the Carpe Diem Academy in Yuma organized a donation project for deployed Marines from station on Nov. 10.

Carpe Diem is a two-year-old charter school for grades 6-12 thats mission is to “inspire students toward the mark of achieving their fullest academic potential, becoming life-long leaders and productive citizens of integrity and high moral character.” It is a self-paced, online education school that gives students the ability to learn at their own pace.

The teens, who are a part of a school club called Kids Against Unfair Situations, organized the project to show support for deployed service members and give them something special for the holiday season.

The project, entitled “Help for the Holidays,” was organized by KAUS members Adriana Padilla, Jeremy Philpot, Thomas Tribolet, Courtney Salazar and Justin Stewart.

The students worked out a deal with the school, which mandates uniforms, to allow a free dress day on Nov. 10 as long as they brought a donation for the Marines that day.

However, none of the students realized the amount of support and participation they would receive.

Padilla said it was overwhelming to see all the items that people were donating.

They weren’t just bringing one item a piece, she said. Many people were actually bringing bags full of items for the Marines. Even the sixth-graders who normally receive free dress days were bringing in items for the project.

The members said they wanted to show the service members that America’s youth knows what they are doing for this country and are thankful for it.

By the end of the day, the school collected enough items to provide 72 Marines each with a care package full of toiletries, crossword puzzles, canned foods, candy and much more.

Even the United Parcel Service pitched in as it donated all the boxes needed for the care packages and offered to ship them for half price.

It’s amazing because the older generation of Americans say our world is in trouble because today’s youth don’t care about anything, said Ivette Birney, Marine Corps Family Team Building Director. But here is this group of outstanding young people who see what the military is doing and are doing something to show their support.

They see that the service members are fighting for them and risking their lives for their freedom, said Birney, who is also matching the care packages up with individual augment Marines overseas.

The KAUS members said the project showed them that people, even youth, can make a difference and do something to show the military they care.

The spouses whose Marines will be receiving a care package from this group have all been touched and surprised by KAUS’s actions, said Birney. They said it is enough to make a grown man cry.

The bottom line is the military members overseas don’t have the choice to come back home at anytime, said Philpot.

They are risking their lives for this country and it’s important for them to know they have plenty of support back home, said Salazar.

The packages are scheduled to be delivered sometime around Christmas, but are awaiting funding for shipping.

KAUS’s next project is singing carols to children at Yuma Regional Hospital in December. To  donate items to KAUS, contact Tina Young at 317-3113.

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Marine Corps Air Station Yuma