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Ghana dream drives teen

'I just want to give a bunch of kids hugs'

Abbie Gregory raised money over the weekend for a trip to Ghana. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
June 02, 2009
WALES — Abbie Gregory is hoping her planned two-week stint in Ghana this summer is just the first of many journeys overseas — some for fun, some (like this one) for community service.

"I'm really interested in African culture; it varies so much from our own," she said Sunday while taking a break from washing cars with several softball teammates to raise funds. So far, she's getting close to the $4,000 she needs for airfare and other costs, and hopes to get some donated air miles to make up the difference. If that happens, the plan is to leave July 25.

What Gregory will do there is still up in the air — the agency (Cross-Cultural Connections) tries to pair volunteers with duties "based on your strengths," she said — but previous travelers have worked with local businesses, children, senior citizens and others. Last year, a group helped build a library to house the community's donated collection of books.

"Personally, I just want to give a bunch of kids hugs," she said. She hopes to be able to incorporate some of her own love of theater and music to "get them using their brains and imagination."

For complete coverage, see Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News.

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