Way to Go: Lauren Tepper, Garden City

Lauren Tepper, an eighth-grader at Garden City Middle Lauren Tepper, an eighth-grader at Garden City Middle School, makes and sells yarn bracelets to benefit Project Huts to Homes. Photo Credit: Photo by handout

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Lauren Tepper is working to improve lives in India -- one homemade bracelet at a time.

The eighth-grader at Garden City Middle School makes bracelets of colored yarn and sells them outside her house on weekends to benefit Project Huts to Homes, a program that sends kids to school and provides homes and goats to needy families in India.

She first worked with the program two years ago after being introduced to it by the Rev. Peter Devaraj of St. Andrew Church in Sag Harbor. She resumed her efforts last year during Tropical Storm Irene. "The power went out and I didn't have anything to do, so I started making the bracelets," said Tepper, 14, noting that various friends have assisted her.

Of the program's benefits, she said: "There are kids over there that really want to go to school. It's very important to them."

To spread the word about the $1 bracelets, Tepper hangs signs throughout the neighborhood and then explains her mission to those who stop. With some translation help from Devaraj, she corresponds with the families in India by letter.

Tepper also is a member of her school's Anti-Bullying Club and Best Buddies, a group that pairs students with disabled classmates for friendships.--

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