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Profiles of kids who care on Long Island

Northport High School students sell coffee from Nicaragua

Northport High School students sell coffee from Nicaragua to raise money for humanitarian projects, like building houses in the country. Nikita Rumsey, Sarah Zieve, Kieran Cassillo, Nicole Miller, Allie Dooley and Jonathan Elks finish packing up for their trip. (Feb. 9, 2010) Photo Credit: Richard Slattery

Sometimes children act like the world revolves around them. But then there are times when instead of saying, "Gimme gimme," they say, "What can I give to someone else?"

These Long Island kids make things, sell things and do things to raise money for people and causes bigger than themselves.

Who: Marisa Artura, 12
What she sells: Homemade bracelets
What one costs: $5
Where you can buy it: Marisa hits beaches and yard sales in the summer, and the Walk to Cure Diabetes.

What good it does: Marisa was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 11 months old; she's now a seventh-grader at Commack Middle School. She's a youth ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which is working for a cure. She makes the bracelets herself from colorful glass beads. Marisa has raised about $10,000 since she started selling the bracelets about four years ago, says her mom, Nina Artura. "It was a fun thing to do," Marisa says. "I make them with my friends and my cousins and my mom. I'm diabetic, and I wanted a cure."

How you can help: Plan a "Kids Walking for a Cure" at your school by calling the Long Island chapter of the diabetes foundation at 631-414-1126, where you also can get information about buying a bracelet. You can make a donation to the walk in the name of "Marisa's Angels" at

Who: Northport High School's "Students for 60,000"
What they sell: Dean's Beans organic dark roast coffee from Nicaragua
What it costs: $10 a pound
Where you can buy it: Events such as Northport's Cow Harbor Day or the high school's annual craft fair

What good it does: The sale raises money to help the students with humanitarian projects, such as the trip that 38 took recently to Nicaragua to build three houses from scratch. The club will be returning in April.

How else you can help: Attend the club's dinner and comedy night at Northport High School, 154 Laurel Hill Rd., from 6 to 10 p.m. April 23; students are $20 and adults are $35. 631-262-6709.

Who: The Curvy Girls
What they sell: Inspirational necklaces
What they cost: $20
Where you can buy one: On the group's Web site,

What it does: The Curvy Girls are a Long Island support group for teen girls with scoliosis, started by Leah Stoltz, now a Smithtown High School West senior. Stoltz was featured in December on a TeenNick HALO Awards special with Justin Timberlake. The necklaces raise money so the group can purchase a Web site domain and improve their communications. Each necklace is either black or white, with a curvy wave representing a spine and a word such as "courage" or "hope." The group receives $10 from each necklace.

How else you can help: Participate May 8 in the Scoliosis Association of Long Island walk in Jones Beach. Call 800-800-0669 or go to

VIDEO: Leah Stoltz given HALO Award by Nick Cannon

VIDEO: Justin Timberlake presents award to Leah Stoltz

Who: Reed Fitterman, 11
What he did: Organized fundraiser at Ultimate GaGa in Syosset
What it cost: $20 per person

What good it did: When Reed saw TV footage of last month's earthquake in Haiti, the sixth-grader at West Hollow Middle School in Melville says he wanted to work with his classmates to help the victims. He had been to events at Ultimate GaGa, and asked if the management would help him host a fundraiser. For two hours on Feb. 5, 90 middle school kids paid $20 each to play a dodgeball-like game, of which $12 went to charity. A bin was also put out to collect shoes for Haitians. The event raised $1,500 for the American Red Cross. "I feel bad for all the children there who don't get stuff like us," he says.

What else you can do: Donate to


"How to Be an Everyday Philanthropist: 330 Ways to Make a Difference in Your Home, Community, and World - At No Cost" (Workman, $10.95) gives plenty of inspirational examples of children who thought up and executed events to raise money for charity, specific volunteer activities for children and tips on simple ways children can give back in their everyday lives.


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