Student ambassador needs help with trip

Brendan Marshall will tour Europe this summer as a Student Ambassador for People to People, but he needs the community's support to get there.

AIDA MALLARD/Special to the Guardian
Published: Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 2:13 p.m.

Sixteen-year-old Brendan Marshall will serve as a People to People Student Ambassador in Europe this summer, but he needs your help to get there.



What: Silent auction and raffle to help student visit Europe this summer.

When: Noon-2 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Sweetwater Branch Academy, 1000 NE 16th Ave., Building C.

Cost: $5 for raffle tickets.

Information: Call 352-215-0875 or visit

Tonicha Richardson of northeast Gainesville said her son, Brendan, will spend 20 days visiting Switzerland, Austria, France and Italy. But Brendan, a 10th grader at Sweetwater Branch Academy, a charter school in northeast Gainesville, needs $6,999 for the trip.

To raise money, Brendan will be holding a silent auction from noon-2 p.m. Saturday at Sweetwater at 1000 NE 16th Ave., Building C.

Those interested can help by donating gift cards and gift baskets for the auction and also by attending. Raffle tickets for $5 also will be sold for a chance to win a $100 gas card in a drawing to be held in March.

Brendan said his school nominated him for the program, and the selection process included an interview and submitting three letters of recommendation. Richardson said Brendan applied for a $1,000 scholarship and a $1,000 loan offered by People to People, but he has yet to receive information on whether he will receive assistance.

Richardson said Brendan is an excellent student and her greatest helper.

Richardson, who suffers from congestive heart failure, said she relies on Brendan, the oldest of seven children, to help with his siblings.

"I'm sick a lot and he takes the extra step to make sure his brothers and sisters get to school, to church and where they need to go," Richardson said. "He never asks for anything and he is usually the last to receive anything. He sacrifices a lot for his younger siblings."

Founded in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, People to People provides opportunities for adults and students to bridge cultural and political borders. Brendan said student ambassadors represent the United States, and while traveling abroad, they learn the culture, meet government officials and local citizens, and visit schools, cultural and historical sites.

In addition, Brendan will get a chance to earn 10 hours of community service and also a semester of credit in social studies.

"We will stay at people's homes part of the time," Brendan said.

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