‘Linc’ing Arms for Africa
Tremonton teen spends summer in service
A random meeting with the leader of a youth service program gave Rikki Robbins a summer she will always remember. As a result, she traveled over 9,000 miles from her Tremonton home and away from her college classes at Dixie State to spend 18 days in hard labor and heart-warming service in Africa.
In 2010, Robbins was a senior at Bear River High School and the president of the Key Club when she attended a leadership training meeting. Judy Zone, founder and executive director of Youthlinc, was the guest speaker. Youthlinc, which stand for Youth servicing the Local and International Needs Community, is a program that allows young adults and students the opportunity to offer humanitarian aid around the world.
The program intrigued Robbins. She applied to participate, but so did hundreds of others. High school ended and she moved to St. George to continue her education. In November of 2010, however, she learned she had been accepted as one of 35 heading to the poverty-stricken town of Meru in Kenya.
That was when the real work began, she said. The participants were divided into different groups: Micro-financing, Education, Medical, Multi-cultural and Construction. Each group was then asked to raise money for their specific unit. Robbins was in the Construction group and would be building schools. The group was asked to collect $34,000 to help play for construction materials. On top of that money, Robbins was required to pay her own way, about $4,000. After about nine months of fundraising, phone calls and plea letters, Robbins said she only had to come up with about $1,000 out-of-pocket. She also received a sponsorship from Dixie State College for $1,000 to help her with her finances.
In order to determine the level of commitment from each participant, 100 local service hours were required. Robbins said 50 of those hours she spent helping out at a nursing home in St. George. The other 50 were divided between school, church and friends. “I gave service to anyone and everyone who I could find who needed help,” she said.
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