Children learning to make change happen, one event at a time

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Laura Dulac, founder and president of Our Children Making Change, listens to the ideas the young volunteers have planned to earn money for their chosen charities this summer. Laura Dulac, founder and president of Our Children Making Change, listens to the ideas the young volunteers have planned to earn money for their chosen charities this summer. NORTHFIELD – There is a red army 270 members strong that is descending across Atlantic County this summer. Its members are the kids signed on for the Our Children Making Change summer campaign.

Now in its sixth year, the group uses kid power with the help of adults to earn money for their chosen charities.

OCMC now has groups working in Baltimore, Cleveland, Boston and other cities and has raised more than $210,000 to date. It is a lot of money for any charitable endeavor; considering the participants are 13 or younger, the number is really impressive.

The group was actually born to fill a void. Founder Laura Dulac’s daughter Kate was 5 years old (now a freshman in high school) and wanted to volunteer at the food bank but was too young, so instead she offered her piggy bank.

Dulac, with the help of friend Leigh Turner, came up with the idea of forming teams of kids who would offer to do chores or have bake sales. The money they earned would be given to charity.

It hit a chord with many parents who wanted their children to understand that volunteering and helping others is something everyone has the power to do. The first year there were roughly 100 kids working in towns in Atlantic County.

They converged in their red T-shirts to Blake’s Gym Saturday afternoon for their annual kick-off meeting. It is here that the charities the kids will support are decided on, in a very democratic process.

Dulac of Margate invited the children to do their own research and come up with organizations they feel they would like to support through the group’s collective effort.

Sebastian Sacchetti, 11, of Margate was prepared to talk about a charity he is involved with; A Work in Progress, a group helping to create and plant vegetable gardens in Atlantic City.

Caleigh Hodgins, 10, of Egg Harbor Township said she wanted to see 21 Down as one of the charities because her friend’s little brother has Downs syndrome.

Julia Sykes, 11, of Absecon did her pitch for Contact Cape Atlantic.

Other kids lined up to make their pitch to have their charity benefit from the group’s collective efforts. Once the speeches had been made it was time for each of the kids to vote. From the very youngest volunteer to the oldest, the kids dropped a ticket into the brown bag with the charity name on it.

While the voting took place the different groups of young volunteers got up to explain to Dulac what plans their group had to earn money this summer.

There are going to be a lot of bake sales and lemonade stands, but there are also chances for the kids to earn money at Stacy’s Surf Camp and by working at the Margate Farmers Market. There will be movie nights, talent shows, lacrosse lessons, dog walking and a number of creative ways for each of the kids involved to reach their targeted goal of $100 each.

So when you see the kids in their red Our Children Making Change T-shirts this summer, remember that when you support their efforts, you are supporting local organizations that are trying hard to make a difference in their communities.

When Turner tallied the votes the six charities with the most votes are 21 Down, Faces Autism Support, A Work in Progress Foundation, Randles Boys, Atlantic City Day Nursery and the Michael J. Neustadter Pancreatic Cancer Fund. At the end of the summer all of the money collected will go directly to the charities.

For more information see, www.ourchildrenmakingchange.org.

At the close of the OCMC campaign in August the kids will come together once again and this time they will tally what they earned for the charities.

Georgia Turner, left, 13, of Margate, Lilly Hagen, 9, of Ventnor and Addie Piola, 8, from Egg Harbor Township work on their list of fund-raising activities for Our Children Making Change. Georgia Turner, left, 13, of Margate, Lilly Hagen, 9, of Ventnor and Addie Piola, 8, from Egg Harbor Township work on their list of fund-raising activities for Our Children Making Change.   Amber Fitzgerald of Absecon, a teacher at the Eugene A. Tighe Middle School, and her children 6-year-old Griffin and 10-year-old Cadence make plans for the summer with Our Children Making Change. Cadence said their plans include a lemonade stand and a talent show Amber Fitzgerald of Absecon, a teacher at the Eugene A. Tighe Middle School, and her children 6-year-old Griffin and 10-year-old Cadence make plans for the summer with Our Children Making Change. Cadence said their plans include a lemonade stand and a talent show   Hayly Rando, 10, Michael Hodgins, 12, and his sister 10-year-old Caleigh of Egg Harbor Township brainstorm ideas to raise money for Our Children Making Change this summer. Hayly Rando, 10, Michael Hodgins, 12, and his sister 10-year-old Caleigh of Egg Harbor Township brainstorm ideas to raise money for Our Children Making Change this summer.

Our Children Making Change 2014 volunteers get organized at Blake’s Tennis Court in Northfield Saturday, May 31. Our Children Making Change 2014 volunteers get organized at Blake’s Tennis Court in Northfield Saturday, May 31.


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