Who's in the Burrow?

Senior Ben Stone Spearheads April 16th "ME to WE Ski-a-Thon"

Ben Stone with African schoolchildren

Sugar Bowl Academy student-athlete Ben Stone has seen plenty of poverty. 

He spent two summers in Africa helping to build a school in the Masai Mara, and has assisted on similar projects on the ground in Mexico.

These are the kind of life-changing events that put the privilege of attending a college preparatory ski academy in perspective, and that gave Stone a desire to do more than put hammer to nails. 

Monday at SBA's All School Meeting, Stone asked for other students and parents to get involved in an effort to help lift children like those he has worked with in Kenya from poverty. 

The event: the "ME to WE Ski-a-thon," coming April 16th at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort
"Initially I went to Kenya in 2009 with my mother as a Youth Leader and co-Champion of a program with Young President's Organization," said Stone. 

"We worked on the program with Free the Children - an amazing organization started by Craig Kielberger at the age of thirteen. It is the largest organization of kids helping kids in the world.

"I was excited and curious, but I really didn't know what to expect. Honestly, I was overwhelmed by the immense poverty in Kenya, but at the same time inspired by the tremendous joy and hope of the Masai people. 

"The children and the community were so grateful for our assistance."

Proceeds from the event will go to help fund the work of Free the Children, whose primary goal is - as the name suggests - to free children such as those Stone has worked with in Africa from a pervasive sense of powerlessness arising from their state of poverty and exploitation.

The event dovetails with Stone's Senior Project, an intensive, year-long effort which entails the publication of a carefully researched and edited paper as well as the development of a related product. 

Stone's fund-raising site has raised $735 so far. To put that in perspective, according to Stone, $25 buys one school kit and $500 can buy six months worth of lunches for an entire school. 

Those who would rather raise money for the cause themselves rather than donating can create their own fund-raising page by hitting the "Raise Money" button at http://www.firstgiving.com/ftc/Event/metoweski-a-thon

Participants do not have to attend the Ski-a-thon, but the person who raises the most money (other than Stone) will win a two-hour ski session with Daron Rahlves, who has volunteered to donate his time. The winner can redeem the ticket next ski season, and can elect to free ski or ski gates. 

Additional prizes will be drawn the day of the Ski-a-thon, and anybody who is interested in donating more prizes should contact Stone

"The bottom line for me is that is just plain feels good to help other people," said Stone. 

"I hope that the parents, students, and community will support, come out and have fun in the 'ME to WE Ski-a-thon.'"