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Mylee Wingert

By Pam Reinig

Register Editor


Jamie Wingert made a solo trip to Africa last August but she hopes to have a traveling companion when she returns there in July. Wingert’s 12-year-old daughter, Mylee, might accompany her mom if the Central sixth grader can raise the necessary funds.

Mylee is currently raising funds for the trip by selling homemade soaps. She’s made $900 towards her $3,000 goal, which is a lot of soap considering she sells them for $5 a bar.

Mylee got her fund-raising idea from an online video. After a bit of trial and error, she settled on five different shapes—trucks, two styles of flowers, hearts and rectangles—plus seasonal favorites like sleighs, gingerbread men and Christmas trees. Her soaps, made from glycerin, essential oils and coloring, are available in nearly a dozen fragrances. She can make as many as six bars in an hour, though the product requires several additional hours to harden.

A member of St. Joseph’s congregation, Mylee sold some of her soaps during a Christmastime event there. She also participated in a vendor fair at Central and has spread the word on Facebook. Her creations will be available March 12 following a presentation her mom will give on the Africa mission. That event begins at 6:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Hall.

Mylee wants to go to Africa for the same reason her mom made the decision to go last year: She wants to help kids in need.

“I know that one person can make a difference,” she said, “even I can.”

Jamie is excited about the prospect of making the trip to Africa with her daughter.

“I feel we are all called to help others and that we can all learn from one another,” she added. “Mylee knows that she can make a difference, and through her experience I know she will inspire others to do something. It may not be travel to Africa (however, we would love that) but it might inspire sponsorship, it might inspire others to help out locally or to learn about global poverty or other issues. I hope, above all, it inspires young people to get active and do something for someone else.” 

Jamie (and, hopefully, Mylee) will travel to Uganda as part of a U.S. team associated with Children’s HopeChest (or HopeChest, for short). The group will concentrate their efforts on the remote village of Ongogoja, which has over 1,000 orphaned children as well as many impoverished adults.

HopeChest was founded in 1994 in response to the crushing needs of orphans in Russia following the fall of the Iron Curtain. It has since grown to include partnerships in over 100 communities worldwide. More than 18,000 children have been served.

Despite the progress made by HopeChest, the need is still great, which is why Jamie is making a return trip.

“There are so many orphaned children without anyone to care for them,” she said, “Without the CarePoint and sponsorship there’s little hope (for them).”

CarePoints are locations were HopeChest is actively working to save lives. Jamie is “prayerfully considering” creating a site in Ongogoja, which would involve raising funds for the children in greatest need as well as fundraising for a building and access to water.


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