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Pure Thirst members raising funds for mission trip

May 6, 2011

Students at Elk County Catholic High School are shown wearing Pure Thirst T-shirts, which are being sold to raise funds for area students to travel to El Jaral, Honduras to dedicate a water filtration system that the group helped fund. Pictured, center, is Sara Kucenski; clockwise from top center left are Fr. Ross Miceli and ECC seniors Joe Cooney, Zac Brody, Nathan Dattoli, Tyler Herzing, Mitchel Haberberger, Jake Geer, Anthony Deprator and Darren Simons. Photo by Becky Polaski.

Pure Thirst, an organization founded by DuBois Central Catholic senior Matt Burnett and comprised of students from a number of area schools, successfully completed its goal earlier this year of raising $28,500 for the construction of a water filtration system in El Jaral, Honduras. Now the students are working to raise enough money to allow several of them to embark on a week-long mission trip to El Jaral on June 18 to dedicate the system and participate in service work throughout that community.
According to Matt Burnett, the water filtration system itself will cost roughly $22,500.
"After reaching that goal, we decided to try to bring even more to the village. The new $28,500 total will allow us to bring them the system, piping to other parts of the village, and a storage tank for the dry season," Burnett said.
Along with Burnett, Ridgway resident Sara Kucenski, a junior at Elk County Catholic High School and a member of Pure Thirst, also plans on taking part in the mission trip.
"I just felt called to go down because I always wanted to help in some way and I could never find my place to help where I was needed. I just felt I was needed to go down there and help these people," Kucenski said.
Kucenski explained that, in addition to the handful of students who will be traveling to Honduras, a dentist, surgeon, anesthesiologist and pharmacist will be going down as well to provide medical services to the people of El Jaral.
"We're allowed to help with the nursing, so if [students] want to go into the medical field, we can help with that," Kucenski said.
She added that the Honduran people in need of medical assistance will be required to come to the group and not vice versa.
"The [medical professionals] who go down are going to be helping the people that need the most help. They have to come to us, because it's safer that way for everybody," Kucenski said.
In addition to providing medical services, the group will also be holding a vacation Bible school and Kucenski, who aspires to be a teacher, indicated that she plans on assisting with that area of the mission work.
"Janie Braid [an adult advisor for Pure Thirst], who has been going on the mission trip for years, plans the lessons for the vacation Bible school," Kucenski said. "We're currently collecting markers, glue sticks, and scissors for the lessons. We are actually having meetings before we go down to plan out everything we are going to be doing during vacation Bible school."
It will cost each student roughly $1,600 to take part in the week-long excursion, and Burnett noted that the group has already held several fundraisers to help offset the costs.
Members of the group are continuing to raise funds by selling Pure Thirst T-shirts, which are available by contacting either Kucenski or Fr. Ross Miceli at Elk County Catholic High School at 834-7800. Individuals interested in donating materials for the vacation Bible school are also asked to either contact Kucenski or Miceli.
"Anything raised above and beyond [what is needed for the students to travel to El Jaral] goes to support education in the community," Kucenski added.
For more information on Pure Thirst or to learn more about the upcoming mission trip, visit http://purethirst.org.

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