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Southmoreland teen awaits latest goal in her life

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Paige Bowman

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Andrew Hesner
Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, 8:58 p.m.
 

Paige M. Bowman is a junior at Southmoreland High School, a volunteer firefighter for East Huntingdon Township and a three-year-player for the Scotties girls soccer team.

From Feb. 2-10, she will add another role in life.

Bowman, 16, will embark on a trip to Haiti with members of Mt. Pleasant Church of God.

She will be in charge of running a soccer camp, a tournament and biblical studies for children. She also will help maintain the church there.

“I'm a bit unsure as to what I will be doing but possibly building and painting benches for the church,” Bowman said.

She will stay in a ministry associated with the Church of God denomination.

Missionary work is something Bowman has been interested in since she was a young girl. She said the ambition was sparked while attending a youth rally for a missionary from Brazil.

“It is something I have always wanted to do,” she said.

The Haiti opportunity was presented to Bowman by Kim Barkley, a nurse at Excela Health Care in Greensburg and a member of Mt. Pleasant Church of God “with a love for the people of Haiti.”

“This will be our sixth trip so far,” Barkley said.

According to Barkley, the goal of mission trips is to interact with children and help those in need.

Haiti, a Caribbean nation mired in poverty, has hard-working citizens, Barkley said.

The fundraising goal is about $1,000. All mission participants are responsible for paying their own way.

Bowman said she was able to raise enough money, thanks to Steel City Quartet.

“We ended up getting more than enough money,” she said.

Bowman did admit she is a bit nervous about the trip.

“I've had my (vaccines) prevention shots and have enough bug spray for an army,” she said.

Bowman, also president of her church youth group, is involved in PowderPuff and an active percussionist.

As a high school junior, Bowman is planning for college, although she hasn't determined her major.

“From the time I was little, I've had my heart set on Penn State,” she said.

Andrew Hesner is a freelance writer.

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