A Miller Place teen is helping to bring clean drinking water to a Bolivian village after hosting more than a dozen fundraisers to cover the cost of a $25,000 well installation.
Kara Patrovic, a senior at Miller Place High School, coordinated the fundraisers -- ranging from yard sales to car washes -- starting in late 2013 in an effort to fund the borehole-style well through ChildFund International, a nonprofit organization.
Patrovic got involved with ChildFund when, at age 9, she began sponsoring a baby named Mijael for $24 a month and exchanging letters with his family twice a year. As a freshman, she decided the time had come to visit Mijael and raised $6,200 to fund a 10-day trip for her and her father, Robert, to travel to Tarija, Bolivia.
There, she saw that about 750 people had access to water through a single spigot that was on for only one hour a day.
"I realized that's why I was really there," Patrovic, 17, said of helping to bring clean drinking water into Mijael's village. "It just became so real to me. Water is a basic necessity."
In addition to the fundraisers, Patrovic sent more than 200 letters and emails to family, friends and local businesses seeking donations to help the cause. The well is now near completion and is awaiting government approvals, she said.
For more information or to donate, visit kara2mijael.org.