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11-year-old hikes five-peak challenge for charity

A San Diego student raises awareness and money to build a school in India.

SAN DIEGO — A local student took on a trail that taught him more about being a leader than overcoming the physical challenge.

An 11-year-old Del Cerro student took on the five peak Mission Trails challenge and with each step was building a foundation to build a new school for students who don't have access to education

Setting off before sunrise on Sunday morning at Cowles Mountain, 11-year-old Jay Mistry gathered his team of 12 and lead them 16 miles along Mission Trails.

He took on the five-peak challenge and went beyond his $5,000 goal to raise money to build a school in India for Build a School Foundation, a non-profit that creates educational opportunities for poor children in other countries.

“We are very privileged to get a good education and I feel liked everyone should have the opportunity to get a good education so when they grow up, they can support their family,” said Mistry.

Build A School started in 2016 by Rancho Penasquitos couple Jimmy and Lily Thai who are refugees from Vietnam.

“Look at Lilly and I, we are two refugees who came to this country with basically nothing. Lily didn't learn to write her name until she was 10 years old, and I didn’t learn English until I was 20," said Jimmy Thai.

The Thai's say America gave them a second chance and they want to give others the opportunities they didn't have when they were younger.

“When Lily and I reached our American dream, we thought how we can help others follow our footsteps and achieve their American dream too,” said Thai.

Since then, the nonprofit has provided the money and tools to build 97 classrooms and bridges in poverty-stricken villages of Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines other countries as well as provide scholarships to SDSU, Cal State San Marcos, Crawford High School students and colleges in their home country.

“What I'm really after is building future leaders. People who have a compassionate side and not only thinking about themselves but also going out and helping others and less fortunate,” said Thai.

With each step of kindness, the Foundation is schooling a new generation of leaders like Jay Mistry.

 “If you really want to do something you really have to put your mind to it,” said Mistry.

Build A School Foundation has a goal to reach 100 schools by 2025 but expect to do that this year.

WATCH RELATED: CAF Million Dollar Challenge: Cyclists will ride from San Francisco to San Diego to raise money (Oct. 2021).


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