Teens spends summer on fundraising effort

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—Orion Hayes uses a wood frame to spray paint an address along Hermosa Drive, one of about 100 Grand Valley curbs he painted in a fundraising project for the American Cancer Society. Hayes accumulated community service hours for his International Baccalaureate diploma.

Orion Hayes is different than other teenagers his age.

One, he is named after a constellation. Two, and perhaps the most noticeable difference, is Hayes, 17, spent the summer before his senior year of high school painting addresses on curbs to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The curb painting also allowed him to accumulate community service hours toward his International Baccalaureate diploma.

From June 5 until late last week, Hayes went door to door asking whether he could paint addresses on the curb outside people’s homes for a donation.

He has to write a report on his activity for International Baccalaureate credit.

Hayes, an aspiring mechanical or aeronautical engineer, painted nearly 100 curbs and raised nearly $1,000 for the American Cancer Society, he said.

He estimated that he asked 800 people this summer if he could paint their curbs. Of the 700 who declined, a few yelled insults at him and a couple people threw things at him. One woman even assaulted him, he said. Hayes admitted it is not easy to go door to door and engage strangers.

Now that Hayes’ summer project is done, he is ready to begin his senior year. Hayes spent the past three years at Palisade High School, but this week he moves to Goleta, Calif., to spend his senior year at Dos Pueblos High School. His father lives in Goleta.

Actually, that is a third thing that makes Hayes different from many other high schoolers: He wanted to change high schools his senior year.

The move to California will let Hayes establish residency in the state. He wants to apply to several California colleges.

“Even as a baby, we had to change the activity every 15 minutes or he got bored and cried,” said his mother, Paula Linkem, of Palisade, as she watched her only child paint his final Colorado curb of the summer.


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