SYSK: Wartburg College student helps children in Africa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: Wartburg College student helps children in Africa

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WAVERLY (KWWL) -

Growing up, Bethany Fristad always asked for one thing on her Christmas list.

"I've always wanted to go to Africa," said Bethany Fristad.

She got her wish. So far, the Wartburg College student has made three trips to Africa.

"I've always seen so much need, and I wanted to be part of making it go away," said Fristad.

Bethany said her idea for helping African children just came to her in December 2009.

"I woke up one morning -- 2 in the morning -- and I jumped on my mom's bed, and I said mom I'm gonna collect soccer balls and baby dolls," said Fristad.

Through word of mouth, the central Minnesota native collected 600 baby dolls and 150 soccer balls.

"I knew this was gonna be possible with so many people behind me," she said.

Bethany founded "Firefleyes" because her goal is to bring light where there is darkness.

"The 'eyes' part comes from the Bible verse Proverbs 24:12 said once our eyes are open, we can't pretend we don't know what to do," said Fristad.

Besides taking soccer balls and baby dolls to Sierra Leone, Firefleyes has also given jerseys and equipment to a soccer team, organized party days at orphanages and provided formula to a children's hospital.

Bethany said the hospitals are one of the hardest places to visit in Africa. Once, she paid for a baby to get a blood transfusion her mother couldn't afford.

"And the mother had been on the street for three days, and I asked how much it was. $30. So I paid it," said the college student.

Bethany said she's always had a passion for serving, and she hopes her story inspires others to simply do something.

"People say you're amazing, and I say I'm no different than you. This is what I'm supposed to do. This is my passion, what's your passion," she said.

To learn more about Bethany's passion for helping children in Africa, click here.

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