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Local Teen Seeks Donations Fund to Trip to Help African Children

Newark Memorial High School senior Priscilla Rodriguez hopes to volunteer part of her summer time to help teach children in Zimbabwe.

Priscilla Rodriguez has always been one to help.

As one of four children who was raised by only her mother, she didn’t grow up with much, but that only made her appreciation for what she has stronger.

That’s why when she learned about a missionary to Africa she didn’t hesitate to sign up. She wanted to volunteer her time to help others.

“People is my passion.  I love people,” said Priscilla, a senior at . 

During the 10-day missionary with Harbor Light Church of Fremont, the 17-year-old would be helping children in schools, hospitals and orphanages in Zimbabwe.  One of her roles will be teaching the children.

Teaching youth is not unfamiliar territory for Priscilla. She already volunteers time tutoring elementary school students at – a school she attended during her childhood.

Helping others academically has always been an activity of hers, with her first student being her younger sister.

“I like teaching, and helping others one-on-one,” Priscilla said. “And when you see that they got it… understand it…it makes me feel really good.”

The teen is seeking out help, though. The trip costs $3,500 and Priscilla is hoping to fund the trip to donations that she must raise by April 20.

 She has already raised more than $1,000 through donations from teachers and city leaders, including Mayor Al Nagy, she said.

In return, she vows to continue giving back to the community by volunteering her time as a tutor.

Priscilla said while she knows the joining the trip “might not change the world,” she believes it will help give her a “better outlook on life.”

“I hope to contribute what I have to offer: My love,” Priscilla said. “Some of these children… they don’t know what love and what hope is.”

Priscilla added that she feels her upbringing might help her relate to the children and that she hopes to continue to broaden her knowledge through college after graduation.

“Just seeing the way I grew up. ...I wanted to be different. I wanted to be educated. I always wanted to learn and provide for myself and others,” she said.

And even though she volunteers a lot of hours and participates in extracurricular activities, Priscilla is not one to stray away from her studies. She has already received acceptance letters from University of California institutions.

While she does not know where she will attend college and has not permanently made up her mind on her career goals yet, Priscilla hopes to attend a prestigious university and pursue a career where she can make a difference for people.

To help donate to Priscilla, contact her at cilla0714@yahoo.com.

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