July 24, 2013 - Some people develop a giving spirit at a young age. Claire Kirchner, an 8-year-old student at Independence Elementary, is proving she is one of those people.
From left, Coco Catallo, Myah Sadowski, Makenna Sadowski, Lola Grabowski, Claire Kirchner, Madeleine Gurn and Ella Chamberlain hang flyers in downtown Clarkston for the fund raiser. Photo by Andrea Beaudoin (click for larger version)
Claire has created a fundraiser she calls "Rock it up for Lighthouse." She has enlisted friends and plans to raise $1,000 for Lighthouse Emergency Service.
"I love to paint rocks so I came up with Rock it up for Lighthouse," said Claire.
She and her friends will use donated supplies to paint special rocks and sell them in front of Rudy's Market, 9 S. Main in downtown Clarkston, Aug. 2 from 3-6 p.m. and Aug. 3 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Cash and canned food donations will also be accepted.
Area businesses and the Kirchner family pulled together to help, including donation of river rocks from Outdoor Living, printing materials from Clarkston Print Shop, and shirts from Union General. The Kirchner family donated painting supplies.
The girls have been busy promoting the event by passing out flyers at community businesses. Claire's mom Beth said Lighthouse Community Outreach Officer Greg Lewis met with the girls and will help guide them through the project. Lewis will meet with them weekly until the fund raiser.
Lighthouse Chief Development Officer Priscilla Perkins said many people are worried about future generation, but she sees all the good deeds young people do.
"I see a lot of kids doing good things or their community, and it makes my heart swell. It's wonderful when young people get engaged," Perkins said.
Beth said her daughter has always loved to sell things and has a history of making creative projects to sell.
"She also likes to take care of the community," Beth said proudly.
Giving back through community service is a spirit Beth has instilled in her daughter through her own work helping the community. Earlier this year Beth started "Spread the Love" a peanut butter and jelly food drive held at Independence Elementary.
Rock it up for Lighthouse idea was strictly Claire's. The process is teaching the third grader the ins and outs of working for a good cause.
While creating and promoting the fundraiser, she is learning how to promote events, market, and ask community leaders to help support a good cause.
Robert Esshaki of Rudy's Market said Claire and her mom came and asked if she and her friends could set up shop outside the market.
"We always say yes when people want to sell things outside for a good cause," he smiled.
Claire is also learning how communities pull together to help those in need.
"We like to do good things for good people doing good things," said Doug Metzger from the Print Shop in Clarkston who donated printing material for the fundraiser. "We are happy to participate especially with a young person doing something for a good cause."
As for Claire and her friends, they just want to help people that don't have the basic necessities.
"It will help make peoples life easier," said Claire. "I called friends for help and that got me rolling."
She also thanked her mom, dad and friends for lending a helping hand. A group of her six best friends said they joined Claire because they also worry there are people that don't have enough to eat.
Coco Catallo said she doesn't like it when people don't have enough food, and she just wants to help.
"I hope it will make life easier for them," she said.
Lighthouse of Oakland County provides food, housing, clothing, financial help and transportation to residents in need of emergency assistance. Lighthouse, funded by grants and donations, also provides supportive housing programs for homeless women and children.