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Valley teens give up soda to help Haiti

PHOENIX -- A lot of teenagers love to drink soft drinks but thousands of Valley teens are pledging that they're going to give almost every drink in order to help others.

Ever since a 7.0 earthquare rocked Haiti in 2010, the water there has been horrible.

"They have no drinking water," said Andrew Zonoozi, a senior at Northwest Christian School in Phoenix. "The water that they use is the water that they end up going to the bathroom in. They end up drinking it. It's yellow and green and incredibly disgusting."

Students at dozens of Christian schools in Arizona saw videos of what's happening in Haiti and have decided to take action. Starting April 8, they pledge to give up drinking anything but water for one week. They will donate the money that they would have spent for soft drinks and other beverages to the Liquid Hope Project, which is raising money to build and repair groundwater wells in Haiti.

The weeklong effort will begin with 5,000 students meeting at the Grand Canyon University Arena. There, they'll receive a Liquid Hope water bottle that they will drink from for the next week. Zonoozi said drinking only water won't be a problem for him.

"I can go a week only drinking water if it leads to saving people's lives. Dirty water leads to 80 percent of all sickness in Haiti."

Some of the students will actually get to see what's happening in Haiti first hand.

"We're going to send students down there this summer to build these wells, and maybe even have a chance to minister to them," Zonoozi said.

The students are hoping to raise $50,000. For more information about Liquid Hope, go to

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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