Children are often left out of fundraising efforts. It's a prejudice Laura Dulac, of Margate, intends to end.

"There was not a venue for that age group to raise money. I called everywhere. But charities need the help more than ever," she said.

So she and her three daughters started a charity that puts kid in control.

Our Children Making Change, headquartered at Dulac's home on Argyle Court, organizes youngsters into teams of 10. Each member promises to raise $100 over the summer. That means each team raises $1,000, which is big money.

When they pool the money from 10 teams, it becomes $10,000. That's serious cash, and it's split between charities chosen by the kids.

Last year, the group's first effort raised more than $11,000 with 100 kids participating, mostly from Absecon Island communities, Dulac said. This year she is hoping to get two groups of 100 working, to double the result, and expand the effort on the mainland.

"I only require two hourlong sessions," which participants must attend with parents, Dulac said. "In the first session, I give out T-shirts for the kids to wear while raising money, boxes to keep their funds in, and contracts to sign. Any kid who wants to speak about a charity, can speak. Then we democratically put the names of all charities up (for a vote). The top four are the ones we work for."

This year, the organizational meeting will be held 3 p.m. Sunday, June 13, at Blake's Gymnastics on Mill Road in Northfield, she said.

"I saw 8-year-olds do presentations on charities. They did such a good job," said Karen Diamond, of Margate, whose daughter Micaela participated last year. Karen is now on the board of OCMC, which was just awarded 501c3 charity status by the Internal Revenue Service. "My favorite part was that kids had so much control."

"I thought it was the funnest thing I've ever done. It was a blast," said Micaela.

She and her teammates are planning a car wash and other activities to make their quota this year. "Last year we did a lot of lemonade stands, and I cleaned the house," Micaela said. "You're supposed to make $100, but almost everybody made more. I made $325."

Brooke Feldman, 13, of Margate, raised about $125 doing singing telegrams for $5 each, she said, with birthday, get-well and I-love-you themes.

"I had to learn a few songs. One was the theme from 'The Golden Girls,' 'Thank You for Being a Friend,'" she said. "Some customers would cry, they would be so happy."

Last year the charities picked were the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch; Atlantic County Women's Center; Sister Jean's Kitchen' Kira Cundiff Fund; and the Little Rock Foundation. Five were chosen because of a three-way tie for third.

This year the organization becomes a multi-state charity. Dulac's friend from her hometown of Baltimore, Eva Martire, is running a 10-team effort there.

At the end of summer, everyone comes together at the bank to deposit the money raised. Then there's "one big party," Dulac said. Representatives from the charities will come to accept checks.

Dulac was a certified diversity trainer for big corporations such as Major League Baseball and the Ford Motor Co., then taught first- and second-grades at the South Main Street School in Pleasantville for four years. She left after having her daughter, Kate, now 11, followed by Chloe, 9, and Kelly, 4.

She started thinking about a charity to help children raise money about five years ago, when Kate donated all the money in her piggy bank to the FoodBank after a truck accident ruined a load of donated turkeys.

Then, "Kate and Chloe and their two best friends raised more than $4,000 two summers ago," she said. "All these kids were so excited to come out and help."

So a new charity was born.

"As much as the money, I'm equally excited to see the family conversation and excitement of the kids," Dulac said.

Contact Michelle Brunetti Post:


If you go

The kickoff to choose charity recipients will be 3 p.m., June 13 at Blake's Gymnastics in Northfield. To join the effort as a team leader, participant or sponsor, call Laura Dulac at 609-335-4530, e-mail, or visit www.ourchildren making

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