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Dating couple ready for volunteer experience

Brookfield Central grads heading to Costa Rica in May

April 24, 2012

As the name suggests, this column is usually about one individual - a person that you, the public, should know about.

But this week, the column would be better titled, "A Couple You Should Know."

The couple is Kristin Becker and Pete Ostergaard, both Brookfield Central graduates.

With both of them off to college - Becker is at Western Illinois University and Ostergaard at UW-Madison - they don't spend too much time together during the school year.

However, that will change this summer when the two take part in a three-week volunteering trip to Costa Rica as part of the Global Volunteer Network.

The two signed up for the nonprofit organization that has placed more than 16,000 volunteers since 2001 over the winter and will leave at the end of May.

"It will be fun traveling together," Ostergaard said. "Usually whenever we go anywhere, it's with her family or my family, so this will be a new experience and we'll learn a lot about each other."

While there, Becker, a sophomore at WIU, and Ostergaard, who will graduate from Madison next month after three years, will be working at an orphanage teaching English to underprivileged children. They'll also organize a variety of activities for the children, assist with their school work, participate in cultural activities and recreational games.

The 20-year-olds will no doubt make their presence felt, but as star athletes at Central, that's nothing new for the pair.

Becker was a dominating diver and soccer player and still plays at WIU. Ostergaard was a stud baseball player, earning all-state honors his senior year. But Becker, a nursing major at WIU, and Ostergaard, a biology major who plans to enter medical school, want to make an impact beyond the box score.

"Our goal was to be exposed to a totally different area in the world," said Ostergaard, who traveled to various U.S. cities to do volunteer work with UW-Madison's Students Today Leaders Forever Chapter over spring break. "The impact you can make on these kids is amazing.

"We both love working with kids and helping others, and I think that is really cool."

Becker, who volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House and at an elementary school near the WIU campus, added: "I hope to gain a lot of insight of the whole culture and want to make a difference."

Now, she'll get a chance to do this with her best friend.

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