Wed., March 12, 2014 | FEATURES
Sophia Hendricks-Loehr works for her Europe trip
From shoveling roofs to serving dinner, she's truly earning her way
Greg Marsten | Staff writer
LUCK – Luck eighth-grader Sophia Hendricks-Loehr is finding unusual ways to earn her way to Europe, from shoveling sidewalks and decks to making cookies, holding a dinner, baby-sitting and more as she tries to find a way to fund her trip to Europe this July.
"I've also shoveled off some roofs," she said with a shrug, dismissing any fear of heights. "It doesn't bug me."
Hendricks-Loehr was nominated for the prestigious People to People program first instituted by President Dwight Eisenhower over half a century ago. The ambassador program is a unique opportunity to visit and meet new people, but it does not come cheap, as Hendricks-Loehr will need to raise approximately $8,000 by the time she leaves for England in early July.
"The program allows regular students like me to travel the world. In July I will be traveling to England, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland," she said, adding that her trip will include talking with a member of the English Parliament, visiting castles, the Eiffel Tower, staying with a German family and more.
"We will also take almost the exact same route that the World War II vets took to get to the beaches of Normandy and we will talk with a World War II survivor," she added.
The group will also be doing regular service projects during their junket, and while they don't know what those activities will include, Hendricks-Loehr is well prepared after the number of local projects she has undertaken to raise her money.
"I've had a lot of support so far," she said. "I've raised about half of the money I need."
She has planned a major fundraising event for her People to People trip the weekend after next, when she will host a spaghetti dinner and raffle at Zion Lutheran Church of Bone Lake. The event includes a quilt raffle, silent auction and a freewill offering.
"I've got a lot of help, my mom, grandma, and several ladies from the church," she said. "My grandma even made the quilt that we'll be raffling off!"
Hendricks-Loehr has been doing a lot of research on her 21-day journey, and she is really looking forward to realizing the history and culture of the areas she will visit.
"I really like history, it's my favorite class," she said, adding that she also has a number of hobbies that include volleyball, dance and clogging for the River City Cloggers, four years of playing piano and three years of playing flute.
"I also like to cook," she added. "Italian is my favorite."
While she won't be visiting Italy on this trip, she will be seeing some of the most influential and exciting places on the planet, acting as an ambassador of sorts for her region and school, with some local folks by her side, as St. Croix Falls student Lucy Herman will also be joining her, along with two older Frederic students.
"But we’re mainly traveling with two groups from Ohio," she said. "But I think it's going to be really good."
The Europe trip takes place from July 6-25, and while Hendricks-Loehr has been doing her homework, shoveling roofs and keeping busy in preparation, she is really hoping for a good turnout and more support at her dinner.
"I'm hoping this will be enough to get me over the top," she said. "It's been really hard to do, but it should be a fun event."
She is also planning an organic plant sale for later this spring, but her main event is the spaghetti dinner, which takes place on Saturday, March 22, at Zion Lutheran Church of Bone Lake, located at CTH I and 280th Avenue. The address is 997 280th Ave. The dinner runs from 4-7 p.m. and includes a number of auction items, on top of good food.
"We hope to sell all 225 (quilt) raffle tickets before the dinner, so we can draw winners at the spaghetti dinner," she said.
If you would like to donate an auction item or cash to her efforts, call Sophia's mother, Christi, at 715-554-0890.
Of course, she might even have room on her schedule for some shoveling or baby-sitting work, as well.