Whitewater girl creates her own 'children's movement'
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WHITEWATER No two words are used more by children than, “I’m bored.” Yet one girl took a “no” and made it a “yes,” while proving there’s too much need in this world to whine about boredom.
“First of all, I wanted to do a marathon, but marathons are only for people 18 years and up, and I couldn’t join it,” said Morgan Radaj, an 11-year-old from Whitewater. Her mother, Maggie Radaj, runs marathons to raise money for various charities.
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“I wanted to make something that kids could do -- where parents and adults cannot join in.”
Being turned away from the adult charities motivated Morgan to establish and organize Motivating Kids to Give, a fundraising effort that finished its second successful year May 19.
The idea is similar to the run/walk fundraisers for various organizations. Kids walk or run around a track for an hour to generate funds for a charity. Donors give $1 per lap or give a flat fee. The catch is that only kids are permitted to participate.
To wish something into being needs hard work and leadership to make it happen. Morgan needed to find a track, publicize the event and find helpers for the day of the event. She enlisted the help of her grandfather to design a website, along with her mother’s help with a poster. As the event rolled like a snowball, more helpers jumped on board.
“Year two was easier because everyone knew what to expect,” Maggie said.
When Morgan embarked upon this journey last year, she was in Diane Dalzin’s fourth grade at LINCS charter school in Whitewater. A teacher for more than 20 years, Dalzin was amazed to see a young girl, who was 10 at the time, organize an event that most adults would shy away from.
“I didn’t understand the enormity of it. I’ve never seen a kid take something like that on,” Dalzin admitted. “Once I found out what she was doing, I worked to get the word out in our building. I encouraged my class to participate. On the day of the event I saw some of my students out there.”
Besides being an all-kids event, participants also get to select the charity of their choice.
“Everybody is different. Everyone has their own interest,” said the young fund-raiser, who plays soccer for fun. “Some people didn’t sign on the ones we put out. It doesn’t have to be on the list of charities. The list of charities was just trying to give them an idea.”
A young student in Dalzin’s fourth-grade class participated this year in the run/walk to raise money for Students Against Destructive Decisions.
“We jumped on the bandwagon with her,” Dalzin added.
“She inspired my daughter, who is 17, to get involved,” said Barb Kienbaum, a family friend who has known Morgan since she was an infant.
Alyssa Roost, Kienbaum’s daughter and the only high school student signed up for the run/walk, ran 11 laps alongside Morgan. It was Morgan that approached Roost, hoping to recruit more kids in high school.
For more information, go online to: Motivatingkidstogive.com/volunteer