The Grandview Heights K-6 PTO is conducting a service project in support of GHHS graduate Betty Cheney's upcoming trip to Lesotho, South Africa, to volunteer her time at several orphanages and medical facilities in and around Lesotho.

The Grandview Heights K-6 PTO is conducting a service project in support of GHHS graduate Betty Cheney's upcoming trip to Lesotho, South Africa, to volunteer her time at several orphanages and medical facilities in and around Lesotho.

Cheney is traveling with a group of Wittenberg University students. While in Lesotho, they will spend time with children who are have HIV/AIDS and/or who have lost one or both parents to the disease.

"We're be giving them some companionship and hopefully bring them some fun and help put a smile on their face," Cheney said.

The group will also be helping to build playgrounds and other facilities at the orphanages, she said.

In support of Cheney's trip, the PTO is sponsoring a drive at Stevenson Elementary to collect items for Cheney to take and distribute to youngsters in Lesotho, PTO President Chris Furbee said.

Kindergarten students are being asked to bring in stickers, first-graders coloring books, second-graders crayons and markers and third-graders are being asked to bring in pencils.

Collection boxes have been placed in the main hallway at Stevenson, Furbee said. The PTO will collect donations until May 8, although donations before Saturday are greatly appreciated to give Cheney more time to organize and divide the supplies.

The PTO is also sponsoring a "penny drive" led by four Edison Intermediate/Middle School eighth-graders.

Students and community members can drop off their donated pennies at either the Stevenson or Edison offices.

The money collected will be used to purchase building materials through Habitat for Humanity International for the improvement projects the Wittenberg students will be performing during their four-week stay in South Africa.

Cheney, a sophomore at Wittenberg majoring in chemistry, said her interest in pediatrics led her to sign up to join the trip, which is being organized by Wittenberg professor Scott Rosenberg.

"He spent two years in Lesotho with the Peace Corps. It's a very important place to him," Cheney said.

Cheney displayed a caring for others as a Grandview Heights High School student.

Early in 2005, she organized a GHHS Key Club fund-raising effort for a UNICEF tsunami relief fund.

In March 2005, President Bush presented Cheney with the President's Volunteer Service Award during his trip to Columbus.

Administrators and teachers from Grandview had nominated Cheney for the award in recognition of the volunteer work she did for the school and the community.

afroman@thisweeknews.com