Class of 2013 grad heading to Uganda

Michaela Peterson of Hovland is preparing for the journey of a lifetime. At summer’s end she will be embarking on a nine-month service trip to Uganda, Africa. Michaela will be working with the charity in poverty-stricken areas.

Michaela is a member of the Cook County High School Class of 2013 and unlike many of her friends, she is not sure just what she wants to do in the future. She is considering a career in theater or journalism, but she is not ready for college.

Instead of taking a road trip with friends, Michaela decided she wanted to travel and somehow make a difference in the world. She did her research and found the United Planet, a nonprofit that “strives to create a world in which all people understand, respect, and support one another.” The mission of United Planet is to build “a community beyond borders.”

Michaela is certainly going beyond her childhood boundary of rural Hovland. Her mother, Kari Peterson, noted that it was a bit unnerving to see her daughter undergoing malaria and yellow fever immunizations. But Michaela is determined, tackling the first hurdle—raising over $7,000 for the journey.

She has done well, reaching out to friends and family and the broader community, explaining why she wants to participate in this nine-month quest. At press time, she has about $3,000 to go, with a deadline looming.

“This is an opportunity for me to be able to at least make a small difference,” she said.

Community members can talk to Michaela about her upcoming experience at two fundraisers. Michaela will have a booth to share information about United Planet in downtown Grand Marais on the 4th of July. The Petersons are also hosting a spaghetti dinner at St. John’s Catholic Church on Friday, July 5 from 5 -7 p.m. The suggested donation for a delicious spaghetti dinner is $8.

If you would like to donate to help Michaela reach her goal, visit: To learn more about United Planet, visit