Worthy goal: Cache County family works together to deliver on promise to African child

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 27 2012 7:35 p.m. MST

"Our mission is to help reunite African families," Miles explained. "A lot of African families go through famine, political unrest, wars, etc., and often one of the members of the family will find themselves in the USA.

"We've had several cases where we've helped where dads are here legally but the wife and kids are stranded in Africa, wanting to be back together, wanting a better shot at a good life. They have the legal clearance but don't have the funds to get here," he said.

Miles said he thinks of the Save-a-Thon project as an extension of Bridges to America.

"There's so much more we can do," he said. "We can go back there and bless the lives of these kids who really have nothing. … People don't realize the line between dead and alive in Africa is very thin, and people who have been to Africa recognize that. It takes so little to do so much good there."

And while it wasn't the original plan, they look forward to being able to go to Ghana so close to Christmas. The family was planning to make the trip the first week of December, but they were advised by their host to wait until after the election in Ghana on Dec. 7. They will now travel Dec. 19-24.

"It's great, serendipitous timing to go at Christmas, given the message at this time of year," Miles said.

And while his girls said they don't necessarily know what to expect from Ghana and the children in these villages, Miles does. He saw what even the simple meals of chicken and rice he helped distribute in March did.

"They'll be ecstatic, and the chance for my kids and me to see that kind of hope and excitement from doing so little is priceless," he said. "To be able to have that part of my life, see the rewards of hard work, some creativity and persistence — I couldn't ask for a better Christmas present."

But Miles said he hopes that the trip becomes more than a experience that will change their lives. He knows soccer balls, pencils and markers are simple things, but he hopes they will convey the love and care that went into them.

And that maybe, just maybe, the rubber, leather and thread, the notepads and pens, will mean enough to one of those children to change them.

"It's a small way to make it better," he said. "It's a great way to help them move forward and live more healthy and productive lives."

The Miles family is holding a fundraiser before they leave for Ghana — an event featuring the Utah State University women's soccer team and some of Grandpa's Swedish pancakes. For more information, visit the Soccer Chalk Talk 4 Charity website.

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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