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From Kenya with love

by KAYE THORNBRUGH
Staff Writer | December 11, 2020 1:09 AM

A community isn’t just a place. It’s an action.

That’s what Aurora and Celeste Greene are proving, from the other side of the world.

At just 9 and 7 years old, the sisters have done more traveling so far than many people do in a lifetime.

Their parents, Brian and Beth, are diplomats with the U.S. Department of State, and the girls have grown up in countries including Jordan, Ukraine, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

When they return stateside, Coeur d’Alene is the place they call home.

“The people there are very kind,” Aurora said.

Currently living in Nairobi, Kenya, the family reads The Coeur d’Alene Press to keep up with what’s happening back home. That's how they learned about the annual Press Christmas for All campaign, which works to brighten the lives of Kootenai County residents in need.

Each day, the Greenes read the story of a local family in need of support this holiday season. Aurora became emotional when she brought up a husband and wife who took in five foster children.

“The kids needed a better home and love,” she said.

Celeste, who values school, noticed a woman studying for her GED while recovering from a meth addition.

“She needs a new desk to study at,” Celeste said.

The girls cooked up a plan.

Because they enjoy baking as a family and sharing what they make, Aurora and Celeste decided to sell homemade baguettes to members of the U.S. Embassy community.

They set a modest fundraising goal: $20 to chip in to Press Christmas for All.

“Instead of using the money we get, we give it to someone else,” Aurora said. “It feels awesome to do that.”

So far, they’ve sold $100 worth of bread — and they’re not done yet. The girls plan to continue fundraising through December and donate the money around Christmas.

Aurora described selling bread to raise money for people in need as a “kindness boomerang.”

“If we do something nice, the other person does something nice for someone else,” she said.

It’s a lesson she and Celeste have learned from their parents, Beth and Brian.

“Working in the foreign service community, service to others is a big part of what we try to teach the kids,” Brian said.

Of all the places the Greenes visit on their periodic returns to the U.S. — including Colorado and Virginia, where they have family — Brian said Idaho is the place where they feel the most welcome.

“Everybody knows you,” he said. “It’s that nice feeling when we come back.”

This fundraising effort helps the family maintain a connection to their faraway home.

“Even when you’re far away from your community, you can still help your neighbors,” Brian said.

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Aurora and Celeste Greene have lived all over the world with their parents, who are diplomats with the U.S. Department of State. The family currently resides in Kenya.