Contribute to local and South African students through Generation Joy until Friday

March 21, 2009

By Chantelle Lusebrink

NEW — 6 a.m. March 21, 2009

Thousands of Issaquah students have been rummaging through their closets, drawers and garages to find items they can give to others a half-world away, and you can help.

Students from Beaver Lake Middle School have been making presentations to other schools in the district to help them raise donations for orphans and students in South Africa.

The students made a presentation to Clark Elementary School students March 11. This is the first year Clark students will join Beaver Lake students in raising donations of items for Generation Joy.

Generation Joy is a nonprofit foundation started at Beaver Lake that empowers students to care for each other through sharing.

“We wanted something that would get the kids intimately involved in bringing something simple, like a pencil or paper, something they use that they could see was making a difference,” said Susan Zantello, Clark PTSA vice-president. “We want them to learn to give back to their community.”

The program began as an idea from Beaver Lake students, teachers and parents in 2006. That year, they sent 459 boxes of locally donated items to South Africa. Last year, more than 2,500 local students collected 820 boxes that were shipped there. The estimated value of the items was more than $40,000, and it helped more than 6,200 students and orphans whose parents have died of AIDS.

“Generation Joy was started to help kids help kids,” said Curtis Betzler, a Beaver Lake teacher and founder of the humanitarian program.

With help from the community and other schools, Generation Joy founders and students hope to raise even more this year.

“We want you to eliminate the difference between how things should be and how things are,” said Beaver Lake sixth-grader Zoe Fielden. “You can do that by sharing what you have.”

Students will collect items through March 27. They invite the community to use their schools as donation drop-off locations. Donations will be shipped next month.

Beaver Lake students and Generation Joy founders will distribute the items to South African schools and orphanages this summer.

Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or


Needed supplies:

School items – pens, pencils, composition books, notebook paper, erasers, whiteboards and markers, crayons, scissors, construction paper, and reading materials or text books for students in preschool through eighth grade

Personal items – new winter and summer clothing in various sizes (infants to teens), new or gently used shoes, new diapers, stuffed animals or children’s comfort items, thread, pins, fabrics, yarn and basic first-aid supplies

Recreation – new or gently used sport uniforms or equipment, including soccer balls, rubber balls, cleats and bicycles

Electronics – computers, calculators and electronic recording devices


Drop-off donation times:

8:30-9 a.m. and 12:30-1 p.m. March 25 — Clark Elementary School, 500 Second Ave. S.E.

9-9:45 a.m. and 2:30-3 p.m. March 25; 7-7:30 a.m. and 2:10-3 p.m. March 27 — Beaver Lake Middle School, 25025 S.E. 32nd St.


On the Web

Learn more about Generation Joy here.

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