OAKHURST – Mountain area residents are invited to take it easy this Friday night and let a couple of teenagers do all the dinner work. Katelyn Suderman and Jesse Villa-Martinez are hosting a Drive-Thru BBQ Tri-Tip Dinner on Friday, Mar. 27, from 4:30 to 7 p.m., in the Sierra Star parking lot on Road 426. The meal includes delicious tri-tip, salad, beans and bread for $10.
The two Yosemite High School (YHS) students, who are longtime friends, have teamed up to raise money by holding a drive-through dinner while gathering clothing and monetary donations for an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico. The two will drive down south and across the border to meet up with a ministry next week to fulfill their pledge.
Suderman and Villa-Martinez will travel to Tijuana with Spectrum Ministries to deliver school supplies, food, and clothing to children living in extremely poor conditions in an institution. The act of kindness was inspired by Michael Neff, a 2014 Yosemite High School graduate who completed a similar project last year.
Having heard about the hardships that the orphaned children are facing in Mexico, and seeing pictures of the orphanage, Suderman and Villa-Martinez quickly determined they would like to improve the lives of those children as much as possible.
Once in Tijuana, the two seniors in the Class of 2016 plan to have a work day, where they’ll be making food for their visit to the orphanage the next morning. They’ll take clothes, supplies, and treats and have a play day before they return to Oakhurst. While in Tijuana, the students will stay in the ministry’s dorm in the evenings.
Suderman says they’re really looking forward to the experience and hope to genuinely make a difference.
“The kids are so hungry they eat trash out of the dump every day,” says Suderman. “Señor Browning told me that when they took school supplies down, the children started eating the crayons because they were so hungry. They live right next to the dump and some families even live in the dump.”
Both Suderman and Villa-Martinez will have the chance to use the Spanish language skills they’ve gained under the tutelage of Señor Browning at YHS when they travel to Mexico. Katelyn has been taking Spanish all four years of high school and carries a 4.26 GPA as a current candidate for a full International Baccalaureate diploma upon graduation. She’s involved in California Scholarship Federation, Leo’s Club and Key Club/Interact.
Both students are active in Advanced Drama are participate regularly in theater activities. Besides his passion for production, Villa-Martinez is in his third year of Spanish class at YHS and plans to attend Art Institute following graduation. Katelyn plans to attend UC Santa Cruz or Humboldt State University to major in Forestry.
Jesse and Katelyn thank Señor Steven Browning for all his support and are grateful to their parents for providing them with help to complete this project. Katelyn is the daughter of Robyn and Doug Suderman; Jesse is the son of Irma and Ray Villa-Martinez.
Anyone in the Oakhurst area on Friday, Mar. 27, between 4:30 and 7 p.m. is encouraged stop by the parking lot on Road 426 and pick up a tasty dinner to-go. Drop-offs of clean clothes are welcome as well. You’ll have a great meal and know you’re helping terrific local students to complete the global-community work they’ve undertaken to bring clothes, food and supplies to an orphanage in Tijuana. Go Badgers!