Teen working to connect the Heartland with a community in Africa - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Teen working to connect the Heartland with a community in Africa

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

A Cape Girardeau 17-year- old high school student is on a mission to change the world one child at a time. The young woman is working to connect the Heartland with a community in Africa.

Sarah Stroup believes each one of us has the power to make a difference. With the help of Children's Hope Chest, she's started her own mission called Fountain of Life. She hopes to get 121 children sponsored in Swaziland.

We found out it was just one little girl who inspired Sarah to try to change the world for hundreds of kids.

Sarah Stroup says she will never forget bonding with that little girl: Nongcebo. She met her on her first mission trip to Swaziland, Africa.

"You know there were kids all over us, but there were just me and Nongcebo," said Sarah. "That was so special."

Sarah says she couldn't forget Nongcebo's face after she returned home. Sarah says she prayed for a way to give the little girl a better life. Swaziland is a country riddled with orphans, AIDS and poverty.

"I tell my friends that they're kids just like me," said Sarah. "When I go to Swaziland and meet kids there, I feel like nothing of the things we care about here matter at all."

It wasn't long before Sarah found her mission, to not only help her friend, but other kids just like her.

"They're all little Nongcebos and your heart needs to break for every single one of them," she said.

With the help of Children's Hope Chest, Sarah started the Fountain of Life Carepoint. Her goal is to get 121 kids sponsored.

Wil Crooks represents Children's Hope Chest working in nine different countries to form real connections. You can write your child, learn about their life and even travel to visit them. The cost is $34.00 a month.

"She's 17," said Wil Crooks. "I've been doing this for years and years. I am inspired by Sarah and how she says she's going to fight for justice for 121 kids. It's awesome. She's going to inspire others as well."

"It's a true community to community approach," adds Crooks.

"That means the world to a child to know that somebody on the other side of the world cares about them and loves them," said Sarah.

Sarah says sponsoring a child gives them food, shelter, and medical care. She says the experience has taught her so much.

"As much as you're going to mean the world to them, they are going to mean the world to you," said Sarah.

As for Nongcebo, Sarah hopes they will meet again one day. She wants to tell her that lives around the world are changing because of the moments they shared.

"I'm excited to say, look what you did," said Sarah. "I'm 17 and she's three, and look what she's done."

Heartland News' Holly Brantley is sponsoring two boys and a little girl through this mission.

Sponsors can travel to Swaziland to meet the children.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

Related links

Children's Hope Chest - Sponsor a Child

Children's Hope Chest

Facebook - Fountain of Life Care Point

Facebook - Shari Stroup

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