Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pickerington kids have big hearts for Haiti

Observing children engaging in philanthropy at a young age to help their peers warms the heart. Meet two families in a Columbus, Ohio suburb who are working for the betterment of children at St. Vincent's Center for Handicapped Children in Haiti, approximately 1600 miles away from their homes in the United States.

Candy anyone?
Tussing Elementary School hosted it's annual Holiday Bazaar in early December. Among those who bought a table to offer their goods for sale were three siblings. But the trio wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary for your typical elementary and pre-school students.

Carleigh, Zach and Emily

Zach, Emily and Carleigh had been discussing the spirit of Christmas and giving opportunities with their parents. The children decided to participate in the Holiday Bazaar to sell their homespun treats. When asked what they would do with the money they earned, they unanimously decided to give 50% of the proceeds to The Red Thread Promise.

The children had seen a presentation on Haiti given by a Red Thread volunteer and were deeply moved by the plight of their peers in Haiti. On their own, they saw this as an opportunity to help.

And help they did.

Working with Grandma and Mom, they spent afternoons making chocolate lollipops in various shapes and colors. They also made decadent dark and peanut butter chocolate fudge. (Author's note: I highly recommend the peanut butter!) They packaged the goods, tying each with a piece of red ribbon.

Zach made the sign advertising their table and they asked us to provide some of our literature and a table sign. Each child manned the table, made change for sales, and accepted donations for The Red Thread. With each sale they gave out a Red Thread brochure and told people about the organization.

Together, they sold over $60 worth of chocolate that cold morning in Ohio and pledged $30 to The Red Thread. What an inspiration! We are hopeful that other children will follow their hearts for a cause they believe in like Zach, Emily and Carleigh did.

Zach and his candy shop sign

Sweet treats for sale amidst TRTP literature

Carleigh helped to man the table

Grandma and Emily drumming up business

Hands on in Haiti
While some do fundraising and awareness campaigns, other children choose a more hands-on approach. At only 13, Hana will be the youngest volunteer to travel with The Red Thread on a mission trip. She will be accompanying the group in February 2011 to work at St. Vincent's.

Initially, her parents challenged her to raise $500 toward her trip. By babysitting, petsitting and doing other odd jobs, she raised the money in a short period of time, following which her parents asked if she thought she could raise the entire $1,500. She said yes and the rest is history.

The creative juices began to flow and she hosted her own ice cream social. Kids played games and friends came to play their musical instruments for a mini-concert. A fishbowl, that was available for donations, sat next to the ice cream with all the fixin's and ice-cold cherry limeaids. It was a huge success.

After sharing her story with a friend at her church, they suggested that she speak at all 3 church services. Hana worked with her mom to prepare her speech, selected photos to be displayed during the presentation and confidently spoke in front of hundreds of people at a local United Methodist church.

Hana speaking at one of the church services

Here is a portion of her speech:
The Red Thread began working in Haiti before the earthquake, but the severity of the damage made the group’s work there even more critical. Much of our focus in recent months has been in this tiny country.

I will be traveling to Port-au-Prince in early 2011 to help assemble and distribute specialized all terrain wheelchairs. These wheelchairs are specifically made for use in third world countries with rough terrain. We will be distributing the majority of the wheelchairs to children at St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped children that is one block away from the Presidential palace. I will also be working at St. Vincent’s for several days, which provides a home, school, church and clinic for disabled children. Disabled children are treated very poorly in Haiti, worse than we can imagine.

We will also be visiting Rivers of Hope orphanage in Petionville, delivering diapers, vitamins and other supplies for children. I can’t wait to play with the babies and meet Christopher, a little boy with sickle cell anemia that The Red Thread has supported for the past 2 years.

I am choosing to go on this trip because I believe that this is a very important cause and that I think that this is a problem that I can help solve. Through God’s word, I believe that I can help shine light on their critical situations and give them hope and comfort.

Our trip has been postponed several times because of Hurricane Thomas, the riots, and the cholera epidemic and most recently, the elections. The tentative dates are February 7 – 14th. Please pray for our group, for our safety when we travel and that we can make a difference.

I think this will be a life changing experience that I can share with everyone when I come back.
It is our children that provide us hope for a better future. Thank you to all of the kids out there who are doing something meaningful to help others. You are an inspiration to us all.

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