Kids Step Up to a New Role in Ethiopia

Ethiopian KidsLaguna Beach resident Marla Hodes, founder and co-executive director of the Ethiopian Family Fund, will be traveling to Ethiopia with her husband Dan and their three children – Dean, age 11, and Matt and Carly, age 10 – in April on a humanitarian and cultural mission that involves raising funds for a school and a theatre immersion program.

Inspired by her brother-in-law, Dr. Rick Hodes, who has spent over 20 years helping children in Ethiopia, Hodes and her friend Melanie Robbins established the Ethiopian Family Fund in 2006. Known for his work helping children with spinal irregularities caused by untreated scoliosis and spinal tuberculosis, the doctor is the star of a documentary, “Making the Crooked Straight.”

The goal of Hodes’ April trip is to raise $10,000 to help complete a high school for the children of the Ethiopian village of Wondo Genet, whose school goes through eighth grade.

The state has promised to provide teachers if the community improves and furnishes an existing building.

Support for EFF is also coming from the Mudd Butts theatre group in Telluride, Colo., where the Hodes have a second residence.

Mudd Butts is conducting a theatre immersion program in Wondo Genet, and Dean Hodes will participate in the program while the rest of his family helps with theater production.

Mudd Butts students will live, practice and perform alongside the Ethiopian students, culminating in a bilingual theatre performance

“When kids help others, wonderful things happen,” Hodes said.

To learn more about EFF and/or to make a taxdeductible donation, visit www.