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Young Fundraiser Supports Japanese Relief Fund



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Young Fundraiser Supports Japanese Relief Fund

By Nancy K. Crevier

Chris and Ann Marie Blagborough are proud of their 10-year-old daughter, Sidney. Last week, the Sandy Hook Elementary School fourth grader donated $122 to the rescuedirect.org foundation at Newtown Youth Academy (NYA), the result of her door-to-door canvass in their Sandy Hook neighborhood to support relief efforts in Japan.

“She did it all on her own,” said Mr Blagborough, Tuesday, May 31. “She only asked for assistance with setting up an Excel spread sheet to track donations. We were pretty surprised.”

“I started collecting right after I heard on the news about the earthquake in Japan,” said Sidney. She was inspired by her school’s Hearts for Haiti program that assisted earthquake victims in that island country, and hoped that her idea for “Joy for Japan” would become a schoolwide program, as well.

“My friend Kim Buttery and I went around my neighborhood. We made red, black, and white braided bracelets, and gave one to anyone who donated,” said Sidney. In just two afternoons, they had collected $122.

“But then we found out that we couldn’t do it as a school thing, because [the school] is already doing a fundraiser for the Serengeti,” Sidney said.

The girls wanted to give the money to an organization that would get the money to people in Japan who could use it, but were having trouble finding the right group. Then, Sidney’s mother recalled an article in The Newtown Bee about NYA founder Pete D’Amico’s foundation, rescuedirect.org.

Mr D’Amico organized rescuedirect.org on April 11 to support the citizens of the Japanese cities of Hachinohe and Onahama, where he has developed personal relationships through his company’s (SCB International Materials, Inc) overseas work. Mr D’Amico is fully funding the administrative process, and in addition, will match ten percent of all money raised through rescuedirect.org. org. Because he is fully funding the administrative process, 100 percent of the donations, plus Mr D’Amico’s ten percent, will go directly to the victims in those particular cities.

The Blagboroughs contacted NYA director Keith Miller and arranged to deliver the pouch containing the donations, along with the names of donors, to NYA last week.

Mr D’Amico said that Sidney is probably the youngest fundraiser so far to donate to rescuedirect.org, and is grateful for her efforts, and that of her friend, Kim. To date, $5,000 has been raised for rescuedirect.org, said Mr D’Amico, and the foundation continues to accept donations. Tax-deductible donations can be made at rescuedirect.org.

“My friend and I are hoping we can do another fundraiser now, for the Serengeti,” said Sidney, supporting her father’s claim, “She loves helping people out.”

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