Thursday, July 10, 2008

CWDkids Care Contest - Winner Continued....

Scroll down for rules to enter our $200 Gift Certificate Giveaway!

But first, please take a moment to read this touching post. It is written by the mother of our CWDkids Care Contest winner, Avia. Below is an email to the parents and teachers of Avia's 4th grade classmates...

Dear 4th Grade Parents,

I wanted to mention my reasons for submitting their story in the first place.

The day after I took the picture of the 4th graders holding the over-sized donation check for Smile Train, I received an email from CWDkids clothing company. I assumed it was regarding a clothing sale or even general spam, but I gave it a quick glance and the first line of the message caught my eye. It said, "Do you know of a child who has helped make a difference in their community? If so, send us their story." I thought, "I sure fact I know a whole classroom full of them!" The article mentioned that the prize would be a donation made to the child's organization or cause that was being supported. The deadline for entries was the end of April, so I printed out the email and put it in the towering "to do" pile.

Then, as many of you now know, our lives changed on the first day of Spring Break. Avia's 9-year-old cousin, Caroline, suddenly and unexpectedly died, due to reasons that are still not fully understood by the doctors and pathologists. We are devastated at how such a vibrant and apparently healthy child one minute, could suddenly be gone the next.

When we returned to the U.S. after her funeral and were confronted with everything that had piled up in our absence, I went through the "to do" pile, and amongst other things, tore up the page I'd printed out about the contest. How superficial such a thing seemed now. It was the least important thing in the world.

I've been doing a lot of thinking this past month about the big questions in life: the purpose of our lives however long or short, what it really means to be a parent, priorities in life, and beyond all, the legacy of a child's life. I realized that even though Caroline was only here for 9 years, that she had left a legacy with everything she did, through everyone who knew her, in every way that she interacted with and helped those around her. I realized how children make such a large impact on the world around them, and how critical it is to recognize, witness and honor that.

It was with this mind-frame that I realized how important, not trivial, it was to recognize and honor what the 4th grade class did through their fundraiser, and to tell their story. This is one mark that they have already left on the world, even at such a young age. Their efforts have helped improve the lives of other children around the world, and the momentum of their actions is continuing to build through this $5,000 award to Smile Train, and the ongoing awareness the article will bring for the Smile Train organization.

CWDkids told me that they received several hundred entries for this contest. It is heartening to know that they are supporting children's volunteer efforts, and even more important to hear that so many children are doing their part to make a difference in this world.

Congratulations to them all!


In loving memory of Caroline, 9 years old.
Her "Sunshine Portrait"
"...9 is a really good age to be forever" - Avia, Caroline's cousin
Photo courtesy of Hr. Jehli


mater said...

I am so inspired by this story. Our children have had birthday parties and asked children to bring things or money instead of gifts with wonderful results but nothing like this! Avia's spunk has really gotten us thinking! Thanks for letting us know about saddened about the lose of Caroline.

Anonymous said...

Hello again from Smile Train,

Renee, this was an incredibly touching story. We are so sorry to hear about the loss of Caroline. But her memory and contagious smile will live on in the smile of all those children helped by this donation! If there is anything we can do to help, please dont hesitate to email me at

Thanks again to you, Avia and the entire 4th grade class. Great work, and incredible generosity. Best

Alex Judd

skywaygirl said...

Wow!! We'll surely have to choose something with horses on it. Everything looks so wonderful, it makes me wish for cool weather. Thanks for clothes that let little kids look like little kids, and feel comfortable when wearing them!

Unknown said...

The fourth graders who did this project are now in fifth grade, and they made a video about their experience. You can see it here.