While most teenagers are busy thinking about what they want for Christmas, a group of students from Afton High School are focusing their efforts on giving this year.
For the last two months, members of a student organization called SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) have been gathering clothing items, school supplies and personal care items to be distributed to impoverished children half way around the globe, in war-torn Afghanistan.
The project is the brainchild of Ethan Dudden. An active member of the Civil Air Patrol, the Afton High School senior plans to join the Air National Guard and to study Aviation Science at Schenectedy Community College in the Fall.
“I wanted to do something ... I wanted to make a difference,” Dudden explained. His original idea was to put care packages together for U.S. Troops stationed in Afghanistan.
But after doing a lot of leg work, including phone calls to several military bases in New York State, Dudden was put in touch via e-mail with Lt. Col. Paul Fanning with the 27th Brigade Combat Team of the Army National Guard out of Syracuse. Fanning, who is currently stationed in Afghanistan, told Dudden that it was the country’s children who were really suffering and in need. He suggested that the senior gather items the troops could distribute to those children around the holidays.