Zofia's Educational Travel Fund

$4,550 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 51 people in 29 months
Zofia Kayian, a 16-year-old sophomore in high school, has an opportunity to participate in an educational tour of Scotland & Ireland during her 2017 spring break.

Zofia spent the first six months of her life in an orphanage in Kazakhstan (former USSR). She was abandoned, malnourished and totally without family.  As her single mother, I couldn't be more honored to give her family and an education to help her grow to be a responsible member of society and achieves success in her life – especially given the challenge she faced at birth.

On the study abroad trip, Zofia will step into the Middle Ages on Edinburgh's Royal Mile and under the towering spire of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. In Belfast, she will witness how old conflicts have given way to an influx of restored 19th- century architecture and a thriving arts scene.

She will see first hand the Book of Kells at Trinity College; Titanic Belfast; Robert Burns Birthplace Museum; Edinburgh Castle; Stirling Castle and much more.

I have been fortunate to send Zofia on three ecuational trips during her middle school years – to Washington DC, Oahu and Kahoolawe off the coast of Maui.

On the trip to Kahoolawe she worked with the Island Reserve to help restore the land that was once used as a training ground and bombing range by the Armed Forces of the United States during World War II. She came away from that trip with a love of history, a sensitivity to the conservation of land and a respect for the culture.

World War II was also a strong focus on her Oahu trip where among other things, she was able to visit Pearl Harbor. While touring Pearl Harbor, she went above and beyond the standard tour and sought out the type of transport plane her grandfather flew over the Hump (India to China) duing WWII. Her class spent the night on the USS Missouri, experiencing just a little bit of what life is like for those who serve our country. In addition, she marveled at the opportunity to visit art museums – deciding to return to a museum for her 13th birthday rather than have a big party or spend a holiday at a luxury resort. As with Kahoolawe, she was inspired and excited to learn about history outside of the classroom.

During her school trip to Washington DC, Zofia continued to gain an understanding of American History that far exceeds the inspiration to learn from reading a book. In addition to touring all of the major landmarks in DC, she attended a Memorial Day speech by Vice President Joe Biden and researched our family history in the National Archives.

As she progresses through her education, these trips are understandably more expensive. But they are priceless in what the experience brings to her both personally and educationally.

Her teachers say she is an ideal candidate to participate in this educational tour of Scotland & Ireland. They feel her dedication, her history of working hard and her enthusiasm for knowledge makes her a unique fit for this type of far-reaching educational opportunity; traveling independent of family is also admired by college admissions directors.

The money we are seeking to raise will cover all of her travel expenses – both air and ground. It also covers her hotels, a 24-hour tour guide, lectures, entrance fees, breakfasts and dinners.

Zofia has accepted a part time job to show responsibility. She is a dedicated student and an amazingly compassionate young woman. She is charitable and strives to do as much volunteer work as her busy schedule permits. She is also a wonderful friend.

The $800 incremental payments for the trip need to be submitted beginning October 30, 2016. This GoFundMe will remain open until the March travel date.

I know Zofia will be extremely thankful to those who support this educational opportunity and I am filled with gratitude for the support we have received for our little two-woman family. More than that, I am grateful that I am blessed with such an awesome individual for a daughter.

I know we all struggle with money challenges these days. Any small donation will be appreciated.

Thank you for considering a contribution to Zofia's education. Also, if you'd like your donation to be anonymous or confidential, please let me know.


Suzanne Kayian

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This is a long one!

Hello to all of you wonderful friends that supported Zofia's trip to Ireland and Scotland. I wanted to thank you again with a not-so-brief update.

Zofia had a good school year and happily made a lot of friends. She has typical teen age ups and downs, but of course, I'll only share the good stuff.

She is volunteering at the Maui Humane Society. Today, she had puppy training class. She has allergies but isn't letting that stop her.

She and one of her classmates are heading up a teen-run social media committee for Maui Pride. They launched the @mauipride808 Instagram and within less than a week, had 75 followers.

She and her friend also have programmed and co-hosted three episodes of The MauiZan Show; two shows with a child clinical psychiatrist talking about teen depression, suicide and other mental health issues.

The guest of the third show, Lisa Darcy, Zofia met when she went with me to a 100 Women Who Care meeting. Zofia was interested in Lisa's work as an advocate for un-sheltered living on Maui. It was a great show and really helped us see how very special every human is and how very fortunate we are.

Thank you so much for inspiring us to help make that college application look as good as possible. Thank you for standing behind and beside us -- sometimes in front, pulling us forward.

Much love,

Suzanne and Zofia

PS: She can't figure out why she wanted to take a 5-day-a-week SAT Prep Class.
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As Z's trip is nearing the end, I am reminded how very blessed we have been to have the support of family and friends for her adventures abroad. She took Marc McMahon's advice and wrote zero postcards. She did buy a few however. I'll post photos of them when she returns. lol. Thank you all again for making Z's dream come true... She has been fighting a bad cold but managing to have a great time nonetheless. Love you all.
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Snagged this photo from Zofia's Instagram. Thanks again for making this trip a reality.
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Zofia has landed in Paris. She has a one hour layover. They thought they were going to have to go through customs and not have one minute to hang at Charles De Gaulle airport. But they don't have to go through customs until Ireland, so she's getting coffee -- in Paris! Wow.
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$4,550 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 51 people in 29 months
Created September 30, 2016
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Amos Ailanjian
18 months ago

Main purpose of this life, is to have fun or joy! Life about creating memories! May you create many good fun memories in this life! God bless you with desire to always learn new things. Amos

Suzanne Kasimian
24 months ago

Bon Voyage! xoxo

Marc McMahan
24 months ago

Feel free to spend it on a souvenir.

Suzanne Kasimian
25 months ago

Go get 'em, Zofia! Have fun! xo

Sebrina Coddington
26 months ago

Congratulations and best wishes on this journey Zofia! Wish I could give more. I know you'll do great❤️

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