By Steve Hoffman
You’re never too young to learn the importance of helping others or to feel the joy of giving back to the community.
Laura Dulac founded the New Jersey-based non-profit organization because she thought that it was important to teach children, including her own, about the importance of giving back to the community. The concept behind Our Children Making Change is straightforward: Enlist 100 children between the ages of 5 and 15 and help them raise funds for charities that they are interested in helping.
Dulac founded the organization and started what is now known as the South Jersey chapter near her Margate, New Jersey home.
Diana Slavin, a resident of New London Township explained how she became involved in the organization.
“Laura and I are college friends,” Slavin said. “She told me about Our Children Making Change and I wanted to start one in our area because we don’t have anything like this.”
Slavin said that there was a great deal of enthusiasm for the new program among families in the area. She was quickly able to identify about 90 young volunteers who wanted to participate.
The kickoff event for the Chester County chapter was on June 5. Some of the children researched different charities to raise money for and made presentations to the entire group. Then, the children themselves decide which charities are designated as beneficiaries.
Once the charities were selected, the children set out to accomplish the goal of raising $100 each through various fund-raising methods, including frequent lemonade stands at Wackadoodles Toy Shop in Penn Township, car washes, and the like.
At the conclusion of the campaign, the local chapter had reached its goal, raising $9,340 total, eclipsing the $9,000 total.
According to Slavin, it was a tremendous learning experience for everyone involved.
“It gets the kids and families talking about ways that they can give back to the community,” she said.
In Chester County, four charities were selected to receive funding at the conclusion of the campaign: Canine Partners for Life, the LaMancha Animal Rescue, For the Love of Lucy, and the Eli Seth Matthews Leukemia Foundation.
Canine Partners for Life was selected because of the work the organization does in training service dogs to help people with special needs.
LaMancha Animal Rescue in Unionville was selected for the work that the organization does to rescue horses, dogs, cats, and other animals. The rescue provides food, vaccines, and medical care to animals.
Lucy Grace Marlett was born in 2008 with Mitochondrial Disease
“We are hopeful that in her lifetime we can be a part of a cure,” explained Lucy’s mother, Nicole. “We are so grateful for all those who help us.”
Eli Seth Matthews passed away from leukemia at the age of 10 earlier this year, but his courage still inspires those who were fortunate enough to get to know him. His father, Paul Matthews, called Eli his hero and said that he will never stop devoting his time to raising funding for childhood cancer research. Like the Marletts, he is hopeful that a cure will one day be found.
“Eli always battled leukemia without any complaint,” he said. “My mission is to find a cure.”
Our Children Making Change organizers said that it was gratifying to be able to help such worthy organizations.
Our Children Making Change now operates in four communities, and there approximately 600 participants thus far.
“We have expanded a lot faster than what I thought was possible,” Dulac explained. “Because of our wonderful sponsors, one hundred percent of what is raised goes to the charities.”
For more information about Our Children Making Change, visit www.ourchildrenmakingchange.org
To contact Staff Writer Steve Hoffman, e-mail email@example.com.