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Purchase Junior Raising Money to Teach in Lima

HARRISON, N.Y. - Internet funding websites like Kickstarter and Go Fund Me have become popular in recent years, with many projects revolving around artistic ventures or personal missions. But Purchase College junior Sophie Bernbaum is asking for help to fund a more selfless endeavor.

Bernbaum launched a Go Fund Me page last week with the hopes of raising enough money to help care for and teach orphans in Lima, Peru as part of the International Volunteer Headquarters program . She has until July to raise her allotted goal of $3,200 to fund her registration, visa, travel expenses and Spanish lessons.

"This is something I've always wanted to do," Bernbaum said. "I always wanted to be a teacher and this is a great chance to help other people."

While in Peru, Bernbaum's work at the orphanage could include cooking, cleaning, playing with children, assisting with feeding programs and teaching.

Bernbaum, 20, already has experience working with children and said she hopes her Lima experience would help develop her craft to make a difference. The Arizona native has supervised children and her peers through experience as a camp counselor and her current position as a resident assistant at Purchase.

She said after college, she wants to work towards becoming a kindergarten teacher in urban or less wealthy areas.

"I want to make a difference with kids," Bernbaum said. "They are essentially our future and that's something I want to help out with."

If she reaches her goal, Bernbaum would travel to Lima from July 1 to Aug. 11 of 2012 to work at a Peruvian orphanage. She would live in a homestay with a Peruvian family and be working for nothing more than her desire to be there. Bernbaum said she would not receive college credit or financial compensation for her participation with the program.

Since launching her Go Fund Me website, Bernbaum raised $185 with much of it coming within the first night of fundraising. She said she's been active, and almost "obnoxious" in her pursuits to spread the word to friends and colleagues.

"Something like this can change your world view completely," Bernbaum said. "Hopefully, enough people will donate and believe in me."

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