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Aiding Kids ‘a Cool Experience’

One of the advantages of being 16 years old, Newport Harbor High School senior Michael Hoevel says, is that he has a bit of spare time--enough to devote a few hours a week to community service.

His latest project is organizing a February swim-a-thon fund-raiser for the Orangewood Children’s Foundation, a venture he says is giving him a great deal of satisfaction.

“It is such a cool experience,” Hoevel said. “It is so cool to see you are making a difference.”

Hoevel became interested in the swim-a-thon last year after he participated in it. Organized entirely by students from local high schools and UC Irvine, the event raised $25,000 for the home for abused children.

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Hoevel was so excited by the event’s success last year, he offered to run it this year and has set a fund-raising goal of $30,000.

Though raising money for a good cause is the main goal, Hoevel said, he hopes his leadership role will also break down some of the stereotypes people have about teenagers.

Hoevel said he and other students involved have visited Orangewood and all have been deeply touched by the experience of meeting the children who will benefit from their effort.

“A lot of people probably don’t think so, but teenagers--even some of the grubbiest teenagers--have really big hearts inside,” he said.

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