Heather Randall is making plans to travel to Australia in June as part of the People to People Student Ambassador Program. But she needs help to make the trip. The Randalls have come up with $1,400 of the $5,000 cost of the project. A thousand dollars must be paid by March 9 and the remainder is due in April.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the exchange program in 1956. He believed that ordinary citizens, if able to communicate directly, would solve their differences and find a way to live in peace. That simple thought, that people can make the difference where government can not, is People to People's foundation. Eisenhower's granddaughter, Mary Eisenhower, now serves as CEO of today's People to People International Program.
Heather, a 13-year-old North Clay Middle School 8th grader, was nominated for the program by a teacher. She eventually interviewed with Anita Deter, from Effingham, Ill., who will be delegation leader during the trip for Heather and nine other students.
Leaving Indianapolis International Airport June 7, Heather will fly to California. There she'll connect with some other student ambassadors and they'll make the 16-hour flight to Sydney, Australia.
Highlights of the three-week visit will include shadowing her host home "sister" for three days, spending the night at an aquarium with dolphins and sharks and going to an alligator farm. Also, Heather will go on a three-day cruise where she'll learn about snorkeling and will get to see a coral reef. Later, the students will attend a performance at the Sydney Opera House. The group should meet some Australian leaders and dignitaries during the visit.
Heather is very excited about the trip.
"I think it'll be a fun and exciting opportunity," she said. "I would like to represent my state overseas. I'm very anxious but a little scared of the plane ride."
Heather has never flown before.
She's also excited about meeting her host home family.
"I hope to maintain a friendship with them," Heather said. "Maybe they'll come here and visit my country. According to the program, if two kids from different countries can build a friendship, maybe their countries can get along too and maybe some day the whole world can be at peace."
Heather and her family would greatly appreciate any donations from businesses or individuals to help fund the trip. Heather will write and send pictures to any of her sponsors. Also, she will gladly speak about her experience at any sponsoring group meetings after she returns home.
Anyone interested in helping Heather can make a check payable to People to People Program and send it to her home at 8612 N. Nellie's Lane, Brazil, In, 47834. Anyone wanting more information about the project may call 446-2280 or 446-0953.