Children making a difference - Island children step up to help tsunami victims one dollar at a time

By Nicole Meoli

It's amazing really. Everywhere you look, children around the Island have mini-businesses set up to raise money for tsunami victims. Out front of QFC last New Year's Eve day were Vicki Pallis' 8-year-old twin boys, Thermio and George Pallis, greeting and collecting money from anyone who would stop. In four hours, they raised $5,600.

A small group of 10-year-olds with a goal of raising $1,000 to give to Red Cross had a bake sale in front of Lakeridge Elementary School Friday.

Another group of three 10-year-old girls, Mary Eckert, Ashley Larson and Elisabeth Malanga, gave up their Saturday ski trip to stand in the north-end Park & Ride for two hours selling handwarmers and homemade cookies to Seahawks fans on their way to the play-off game. They proudly turned over $285 the following Monday to the Lakeridge Student Council, who will add it into what they've raised for the Red Cross.

Every day, countless other acts of kindness by children as young as 4 years old pop up in the news. In many if not all cases, it was the children themselves who came up with ways to do something for the millions of people affected by the tsunamis.

``It was all Thermio's idea to do this,'' said Vicki. ``He felt really sad for what he was seeing on TV and on the front pages of newspapers. He wanted to help.''

Others want to help and are continuing to do just that. Take Taylan Yuasa for example, one of the 23 students in Kelly Lindsay's second grade class at West Mercer Elementary working hard to raise money to donate relief funds to a local school in Phuket, Thailand. Their goal is to get each child at West Mercer to ``buy a lunch'' for children in Phuket, who are in need of aid.

Rest assured, those at West Mercer Elementary will come through for children in Phuket, the same way Lakeridge Elementary students did by raising $7,142.99 with their coin drive.


  • Swing to the music of The Mercer Island Community Tsunami Relief Swing Dance Band, featuring pianist and leader Billy Wallace, who is traveling from Las Vegas exclusively for this charity benefit. Islanders John Simpson, Miriam Singer, Doug and Joy Gilmore and about 15 other north-end couples have planned a fun night of live music, dancing, appetizers and beer and wine for a suggested donation of $25 per couple or $15 per person. The event is 8 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, Jan. 29, at the VFW. For more information, call 230-4131.
  • Donations to the Red Cross can be made at any QFC while paying for your groceries.
  • The Island Park Student Council is asking for donations of clothing, books and household items in good condition, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 5 at the Island Park Gym. For information, call 232-0469.

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