Kayla Crain will participate with People to People on a trip to Japan as a student ambassador. She was accepted for participation in the nationwide program that helps young people become better citizens, build confidence and learn about other cultures, their education and way of life, her mother, Tara Crain, said via e-mail.
Kayla currently holds a 4.0 gpa and is involved in five school clubs. She is president of a church group and volunteers through various events and organizations in which her family is involved.
She is the only student from the Walla Walla area making this trip, Tara said. "Volunteering is in her blood and she does so with every opportunity that she can, which includes the Children's Museum, the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival, Balloon Stampede, Eagles, and church functions."
"Traveling to Japan is an exciting opportunity to learn about another country, their people, customs and way of life, not to mention the responsibility, new friends and the confidence builder it would be, but it came with an expensive price tag," Tara said. The two-week stay, meals, events, activities and round-trip tickets totals $7,000. The Crains began fundraising in October 2009. The 13-year-old Pioneer Middle School student is also the daughter of Keith Crain.
Kayla wrote 363 letters to businesses here. Sixty-three came back with donations. Via a series of raffles, dog- and babysitting, yard and home cleaning, two car washes and her allowance, more money rolled in until she was $3,000 from her goal, Tara said.
Kayla, brothers Jerromy and Matt, sister Jamie Lee, and their parents earned $1,500 by cleaning up litter at the fairgrounds and maintaining all the restrooms during the Balloon Stampede. "This had to be the hardest and messiest of all the jobs, but this definitely was a major help," Tara said.
With only $250 left to raise, Kayla and her family are grateful for support the community has shown her, Tara said.
"I have really felt the love that Walla Walla has given me and with them by my side, I know I will make them proud when I board my plane June 27 for Japan.
"As an ambassador, I will do my best to represent my city with respect and honor," Kayla said. For more information, contact her at 525-2777.
Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or afternoons at 526-8313.