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Fundraisers Aid Victims Of Tsunami

Youths, Schools Play Leading Role

Thursday, January 13, 2005; Page LZ03

Students at Lowes Island Elementary School in Sterling raised more than $5,000 at a bake sale Monday and Tuesday for tsunami victims in Sri Lanka.

The money will go toward rebuilding an orphanage founded in 1995 by Dayalan Sanders, 50, a U.S. citizen from Gaithersburg. Sanders and his wife, Kohila, survived the tsunami by grabbing all 28 orphans as the storm approached and leaping into a boat. Their boat was repeatedly hurled 20 feet into the air, then slammed back down. The orphanage on Sri Lanka's eastern coast was swallowed by water and will cost about $400,000 to rebuild.

Mackenzie Swain, 6, a first-grader at Lowes Island Elementary, donates $60 of her own money to Principal Laurie McDonald. The Sterling school raised more than $5,000 for an orphanage in Sri Lanka that was destroyed by the Dec. 26 tsunami.

One of the teachers at Lowes Island, Kathy Nekic, used to work with Sanders's sister, Diyana, at a school in Montgomery County.

"When it happened, [Principal] Laurie McDonald, she's such a giving person, wanted to do something," Nekic said of the disaster. "I said, 'Actually, I know one of the orphanages that was affected.' "

Among other local fundraising efforts:

• The Boy Scouts' coed Venturing Crew 761 and Girl Scout Troop 2485 of Sterling raised more than $2,000 for the American Red Cross. Each Venturer and Girl Scout was asked to spend one hour canvassing his or her neighborhood and friends for financial aid.

• Foxcroft School and Chartwells Dining Service, a national food service company that provides dining hall management and staffing services for schools, will hold a Mid Winter Bar-B-Q for Tsunami Relief from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Middleburg Bank parking lot, 111 W. Washington St., Middleburg. A Foxcroft student was in Thailand with her family when the tsunami struck, lashing the area with 10- to 12-foot waves, and helped to translate for physicians treating injured tourists. Food will be prepared by "Mr. B," Mike Brown, the Foxcroft dining hall manager for Chartwells. Prices will be $5 for a half-chicken, $4 for a pork barbecue sandwich and $1 for drinks. The money will be given to the American Red Cross. 540-687-5555.

• An auction co-hosted by Del. Richard H. "Dick" Black (R-Loudoun) and Kirkpatrick's Irish Pub and Family Grille raised more than $14,000 on Saturday for the Salvation Army's Tsunami Relief Fund.

W. Kirkpatrick Harris, owner of Kirkpatrick's in Ashburn, played auctioneer as a crowd of about 200 people bid on donated Redskins memorabilia, golf outings, spa packages and weekend getaways. Super Bowl champions Charles Mann and Tony McGee were also there.

"People reached deep in their pockets to help," Harris said. "It is amazing to see such generosity, especially right after the holidays."

• Blue Ridge Middle School's newly organized Leo Club -- affiliated with Lions International's Leesburg host club -- decided to take on tsunami relief as its first project. The group's 15 sixth- and seventh-grade members asked their fellow students and teachers to "make a difference with change" lying around the house and set the original goal at $450, according to faculty co-sponsor Connie Graham, a family and consumer sciences teacher. She said the effort was kick-started when Principal Joe Mauck brought in several quart jars that contained $300.25 in change. The students have given from their allowances, Christmas money and donations from their parents, bringing the total to $6,930.62 as of Tuesday.

• The Ashburn Swim Team will swim laps Saturday to raise money for tsunami relief. Young swimmers will start at 6:30 p.m. at Ashburn Village Sports Pavilion, with older groups swimming at 7:30 and 9 p.m. Swimmers, who range in age from 6 to 18, must receive $50 in pledges -- as a flat rate or in money given per lap -- to participate in the fundraiser, whose goal is to collect $10,000 for Save the Children's Asian relief efforts.

• At Harper Park Middle School in Leesburg, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students collected more than $4,000 for the American Red Cross. In addition, the school contributed $1,000 in money usually slated for student activities, said Principal Claudia Bolen-Sullivan. The drive was led by the school's Student Activities Council during homeroom announcements.

"We just collected donations from students and staff every morning," said Bolen-Sullivan, who said the effort was combined with educational information about tsunamis.

• HCA, the country's largest for-profit hospital chain, said it had donated $1 million to the American Red Cross for the international tsunami relief and will match employee donations to relief efforts. HCA plans to build a hospital in the Broadlands region of eastern Loudoun.


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