Muriel, Brenda, Vanessa, Ghais, Patrick, Anna, Matt, Alexis, Dylan,
Brittany, with Keisha and her trainer
by Sara Gorchoff
Youth Beyond Borders assembled a group of outstanding San Francisco Bay Area teenagers for the Namibia project. They represent a vast range of interests and backgrounds but all are committed to the power of service and community.
Alexis Newman, a 15 year old who attends Montgomery High School, has volunteered at Special Olympics, in a deaf and hard of hearing classroom, Coastal Cleanup and Hands Across the County. She spent two years as a teacher's aid at a preschool, is currently a camp counselor, and enjoys horseback riding, creative writing and photography. Among our more seasoned travellers is Anna Novey, 15, who attends Petaluma High School and has already visited Israel and Hawaii. Anna is involved in band, volunteers at the Hospice thrift store, and would like to be an architect.
A great lover of animals, 16 year old Matt Ostermann attends Cloverdale High School where he plays baseball and basketball. Outside of school, he volunteers at Safari West, an exotic animal preserve, tutors a third grader, and recently acquired a job at a local veterinary clinic. Dylan Woodbury, 17, plays soccer for Santa Rosa High School, as well as participating in leadership activities such as TLT (Tomorrow's Leaders Today). His hobbies include reading, writing and photography as well as playing the cello.
From El Molino High School, we have three students. Patrick Viehoever, 16, volunteers at the Bird Rescue Center, plays soccer, participates in drama, is fluent in sign language and is a member of peer support at his school. In his spare time, he enjoys photography and fencing. Brenda Peterson, 17, tutors, is a member of peer support, plays in the band, and is vice-president of the diversity club and a member of Interact. She enjoys camping, creative writing and drawing. Vanessa Alexander, 15, has played piano since fourth grade. She is involved in drama and choir and fills her spare time with reading and writing.
Ghais Muhammad, 17, hails from Tamalpais High School, where he participates in football, track and baseball. He has been involved with leadership as well as working with children for the Marin City department of recreation. This concerned teenager also writes poetry and letters to his political representatives. He hopes to one day go into sports medicine. 16 year old Brittany McConnell, a student at Maria Carrillo High School, works with horses, has played soccer for eight years, and has volunteered with United Cerebral Palsy as well as in her mother's special education classroom. She has a strong affinity for animals of all kinds and plans to pursue a degree in zoology. Muriel Arroyo, 16, from the Alternative Educaion Center in Daly City, is a ropes course leader and loves backpacking and camping. In her free time, she enjoys writing about her life experiences.
As you can see, the youth that comprise the Namibia group are interesting, intelligent and involved and promise to make the trip very exciting indeed.