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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Elana Amaral, elanafridmar@yahoo.com, 617-905-8782

www.needhamkidshelpingrefugees.org

NEEDHAM CHILDREN UNITE TO HELP SYRIAN FAMILIES with “NEEDHAM KIDS HELPING REFUGEES”
Small gestures grow into major efforts when a community gathers.

Needham, MA, April 24, 2017 -- After learning that, on average, fifty Syrian families are displaced from their homes every hour of every day, four Needham moms came together to organize the campaign, Needham Kids Heping Refugees.  The campaign, benefiting the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and its efforts in Syria, has been enthusiastically embraced by many of the Needham schools, local businesses and community members. Needham Kids Helping Refugees involves a selection of fundraising events taking place throughout the town of Needham during the month of May as well as the sale of unique kid-made note cards designed in the theme of ‘Peace, Love and Hope.’   All proceeds will go directly to the IRC to help provide medical assistance, housing, clothing, food, services, and classrooms to Syrian families and children who have been forced to leave their homes.

Empowering Our Children to Make a Difference

Needham Kids Helping Refugees  is not only a way to empower our children to make a difference, but also an opportunity to teach compassion, kindness and the importance of taking care of innocent families caught in the middle of Syria’s civil war which began seven years ago.  The Vice Principal of Broadmeadow, Karen Bourn, said, “The Broadmeadow Student Council motto is a Dr. Seuss quote; ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not.’  We repeat this mantra often at our meetings. The students in the group felt that helping raise money through Needham Kids Helping Refugees was the perfect opportunity to translate our beliefs into action.”    

Hand Made Cards
The initiative began with children in grades K-8 designing more than 2,000 note cards in the theme of 'Peace, Love and Hope.'  The Broadmeadow student council is packaging the cards to be sold at local businesses.  Heather McCarthy, a Broadmeadow teacher and Student Service Learning Coordinator who became involved with the initiative early on, said, "Service Learning projects like
Needham Kids Helping Refugees opens a child's eyes to communities far away and allows them to feel connected to people in the world. Needham Kids Helping Refugees gave my students a sense of purpose and left them feeling accomplished. Knowing that one simple act, like decorating a card with images of love and kindness, could provide a refugee boy or girl with a warm blanket, a belly full of food or a safe place to call home made us all feel good about the impact we quite possibly made.”  During the first three weekends of the month, Needham kids will be selling the cards in conjunction with various events scheduled throughout town.  

A Month of Events
A calendar is being finalized and includes
Ride for Refugees at CycleBar in Wellesley, painting canvases at The Kids Place, yoga at Blue Lotus, and more.   Hearth Pizzeria, an early supporter of the event, will donate a percentage of their sales on designated weekend days to benefit the campaign.  Ivan Millan-Pulecio, owner of Hearth said, “When I was presented with the opportunity to support the “IRC” an organization that cares and actually helps families stay together…I could not pass on it. We live in a world that needs more help, love and understanding. We are proud to support this cause.”

An online silent auction will also be available, with donations from numerous local businesses and major organizations.  Items will include Red Sox Tickets, Patriots tickets and other events, personal training and nutrition counseling at Premier Fitness and Training, spa and household related services, specialty items, among many others.  

About the IRC
The IRC was founded by Albert Einstein over 80 years ago.  Today, the IRC responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future.  Across Syria, the International Rescue Committee is the only international relief agency working on all fronts of the Syrian crisis, assisting those displaced inside Syria and those who have sought refuge in neighboring countries, Europe, and the U.S.  The IRC provides lifesaving support to over 1.3 million people—almost half of them children—who are struggling to survive a brutal war now in its seventh year.

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