Kacey Martin wants to go to Australia. The Clay County resident is in the fifth grade at Rio Grande Elementary School. She was recently accepted to participate as a member of the Indiana People to People Student Ambassador Program.
The People to People program was founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. He believed that if people from different cultures could come together in peace and friendship, eventually the countries would do the same. Kacey and her family said they think this program is more important than ever, considering the state of the world now.
The three week trip starts June 7, 2003. Kacey will spend time with her host family and may attend school for a day with her host sister. She'll get to meet some government officials, tour the Rain Forest and go snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. The group will also see a performance at the Sydney Opera House.
"I'd like to see Steve Irwin," Kacey said. "He's a crocodile hunter."
The 11-year-old is one of the youngest students to be accepted by the program in this area.
"I'm very excited about it," Kacey said. "I think it will be a great experience to see how they live in Australia and what they do. The cherub faced youngster with the ever present smile added, "I'm interested in other countries I may have a chance to visit and I am excited to have the chance to represent the United States in those countries."
Kacey's mother, Kathy Martin, said just being accepted in the program has increased kacey's self confidence.
"She always felt that she was in the shadow of her high achieving older brother," Kathy said. "She didn't feel as special as her brother. But now she does."
Kacey was wrapped up in a blanket while waiting for a carriage ride at Forest park. "I used to be really shy," she said. "But now I'm not."
Tuition for the program in nearly $5,000. Kacey is currently seeking financial sponsors to help her with her goal. Anyone interested may send contributions to Kacey at 8401 Baldwin Street, Brazil, IN, 47834. Make checks payable to People to People Student Ambassador Program. Kacey's Delegate ID number is 614257. Anyone wanting more information may reach Kacey's mother at 812-877-2456.
In advance, Kacey wants to thank anyone for their consideration and support. She will gladly share her experiences with others when she returns.