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Teens return from India humanitarian mission



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SALT LAKE CITY -- A group of 24 teenagers spent more than two weeks halfway around the world on a humanitarian mission to India with the non-profit group Youth Making a Difference.

Saturday, they returned to Salt Lake City and to a crowd of parents and friends gathered at the airport to welcome them home.

These teenagers spent 16 days in the remote villages of India helping poverty stricken children and their families.

Teens return from India humanitarian mission

"I'm a new person. I'm never going to look at anything here the same," said Nate Kingsford.

Andrew Rouse agreed, "It was an amazing experience. It's hard to leave. I feel like I'm leaving part of my family there," he said.

The teenagers spent their time working with young girls teaching them English, a skill that often means a ticket out of poverty. A poverty so profound, that for some of these teenagers it was shocking to witness it for the first time.

"They don't have very much but are so giving with what they do have," said participant Kate Nielsen.

"It makes me so much more grateful for everything I've always had. I've never really sat and thought about it before," added Mairead McNally.

Teens return from India humanitarian mission

Youth Making a Difference Program Director Jodee Baird said one of the main goals of the trip was to teach leadership and to give these bright-eyed teenagers a chance to change the world.

"Our vision is to create really confident leaders so that when they're older they'll go back and make a difference," Baird said.

The teenagers spent the last year raising money and preparing for their trip to India. Now that the trip's over, their mission isn't.

In the next few weeks, they'll be picking local projects to donate their time to.

E-mail: lprichard@ksl.com

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Lori Prichard

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