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Kindergartner reaches goal of $5k

On April 4, 5-year-old Julia Crumb met her goal.

The Snoqualmie Elementary School kindergartner raised $5,000, enough to purchase an "ark" of animals through the global nonprofit organization Heifer International.

"I'm happy because now it will help a lot of people," she said, adding that she thought it would at least take a year to raise the funds.

"We're proud," said Julia's mother, Lynn, a former teacher in Bellevue. "It's a big thing."

When the Valley Record wrote about Julia's effort in January of this year, she had raised just over $1,300.

"The fund-raising has just sort of extended the idea of community," said Lynn, noting that the support the family has received has never seemed to dissipate throughout the fund-raising efforts.

Heifer International is an organization, that on national and international levels, provides families and communities with the means to become self-reliant through donations of food- and income-producing farm animals and renewable resources, as well as training.

The ark that Julia intends to purchase symbolically follows the Biblical tale by containing 15 pairs of animals and materials to be distributed to families in need.

Technically, the money raised will be filtered into animals and materials and distributed to those areas and people that would benefit most.

"It's really awesome that kids get something in their head like this and get creativeto help others," said Judy DeVries, a donor service representative at Heifer who noted Julia is on the young side of those who donate to the organization, but not the first youth to do so. "We do applaud this little gal."

Julia began her efforts last November after she saw the ark in Heifer's catalog. She began her fund-raising almost on the spot, even selling hand-decorated holiday ornaments.

"The idea for it really did come from her," Lynn said, noting that Julia's brother Jackson, 3, assisted, as did the rest of the family. "I think she had her eye on the goal, one square more [to be colored in on a paper ark used to keep track of money raised] toward helping people."

In January, Julia's aunt began to circulate an e-mail telling of Julia's efforts and that brought in a lot of money, too, said Julia's father Michael, a teacher at Snoqualmie Elementary School.

Julia gathered more donations by selling more than 400 hand-made Valentine's Day cards at $1.50 each. She also appeared at two speaking engagements; one for the Snoqualmie Valley Rotary Club and one for the Port Angeles Rotary Club.

Lynn's former teaching colleagues also donated funds.

Even Julia's friend from preschool, Ryan, helped raise money.

Julia had been keeping track of the amount of money raised by coloring in representative squares on a paper drawing of an ark. Ryan wanted to see her color in a $50 square, so he collected more than $50 in coins to show his support.

"It feels wonderful to have met the goal," Michael said. "It was an exciting project."

A majority of the money is tied up in a certificate of deposit (CD) account and will not be available until it matures at the end of May, Michael explained.

At that point, Heifer will celebrate Julia's donation with a surprise to honor her.

"I think if you can [help], you should," Lynn said. "You don't have to do it all the time or do only little or big projects. But if you're able to, why not?"

Julia initially wanted to get involved in the organization because of the idea it emphasizes: Passing the gift.

"It will help a lot of people," she said. "The idea of passing on the gift is that the gift will spread."

So, the initial donation will help 30 people and that number will continue to grow as more people are affected by that initial donation, Lynn said.

For those interested in embarking on a big or small fund-raising effort, Julia has some words of advice: "It's a lot of hard work, but because the families are poor, they need some help."

No matter what the cause, Julia said to think of a creative way to gather support from family and friends and get the word out.

"It's worth it," she said.

For more information on the Heifer International, call (800) 698-2511 or (800) 422-0474 or visit www.heifer.org.

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