In a room filled with sunburnt beach goers and a handful of ice cream flavors, a tip jar sat askew on the counter of Long Beach Dairy Maid.
Every clink of change and slip of a bill that patrons gave put employee Cammi Cooper, 15, one step closer to realizing her dream of serving those in need.
“I have been wanting to be a doctor for a long time, and I want to work in Ghana when I get older,” Cooper said, explaining she has been saving tips and planning a trip there for years. “Going there when I am a teenager, I think that is something to look at for my future.”
Cooper, alongside friend and Gloucester High School classmate Avery Smith, 16, are in the midst of fundraising for a three-week trip to Ghana this summer to tutor children and help rebuild school facilities.
“This program will give me the opportunity to experience another culture firsthand, learn about important issues in other parts of the world, and to become a more globally-aware person,” Smith wrote on her GoFundMe account.
The teens will join other students from around the United States to participate in the Children of Africa program through Global Leadership Adventures.
“I am excited about everything. To be able to meet new people there and people we are going on the trip with,” Smith exclaimed. “Doing a bunch of things that are outside my comfort zone like teaching.”
Global Leadership Adventures’ mission is to inspire the next generation to realize their potential to transform the world and their role in it. The agency offers programs for students in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe.
During the three weeks they are in Ghana, from July 21 to Aug. 11, Cooper and Smith will tutor children at a village primary school, help build and refurbish school facilities, discuss current social issues facing Ghana’s women and children, hike to beautiful waterfalls, learn traditional African dance, batik dyeing, drums and percussion, and explore outdoor markets and visit historic sites.
Each student has to raise $8,000 to cover the cost of transportation, insurance, and the program itself.
When they first began to raise the necessary money to travel, both Cooper and Smith found that asking people for money made them uncomfortable.
“I felt weird asking people at first, but then I realized it was for a good cause and people are willing to donate money,” Smith said.
They have both set up GoFundMe accounts online and hosted a fundraiser at Jalapenos.
Cooper and Smith are planning to host another fundraiser at The Magnolia 525, 12 Lexington Ave., on Wednesday, April 1, which will include scratch tickets and 50/50 raffle.
Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or email@example.com.
IF YOU GO
What: Global Leadership Adventures: Children of Africa Fundraiser to benefit Cammi Cooper and Avery Smith's trip to Ghana. The evening will include a scratch ticket and 50/50 raffle.
Where: 525 Magnolia Tavern at 12 Lexington Ave. The tavern will donate a percentage of the event's sales, excluding alcohol, toward the girls' trip.
When: Wednesday, April 1, from 5 to 9 p.m.