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#4595: 7-year-old raises $370 to help children in Haiti (fwd)


Published Sunday, July 9, 2000, in the Miami Herald 
 7-year-old raises $370 to help children in Haiti
 `It didn't surprise me because Gary is very thoughtful and giving.'    

 Most 7-year-olds care about Nickelodeon, video games and toys. But Gary
Jackson Jr. has other things on his mind -- namely, orphans in Haiti.
 When Gary's baseball coach, Red Berry, began collecting money for the
orphans, Gary made up his mind to do something on his own for the kids
from L'école D'Amitié (School of Friendship) in Ranquit, Haiti. ``It's
nice to help other people,'' Gary said. With help from family, friends
and his parents' co-workers, he collected about $370, which helped
provide beds, clothes, shoes and baseball equipment for the
 orphans. Because of his effort, Gary's first-grade teacher at Coral
Gables Elementary, Vonda Christie, nominated him for a Miami Children's
Hospital program that honors outstanding children each month.

 Gary is June's Child of the Month.

 On June 26, hospital President Thomas Rozek not only recognized him,
but also dedicated an oversize piggy bank to honor his oversize
achievement. ``Through this program, MCH hopes to inspire other children
to take similar action and to recognize the gifted and wonderful youth
that we have here in South Florida,'' said Marcia Diaz de Villegas,
spokeswoman for the hospital. The yearlong program runs through March
2001. Nominations are accepted from people who write a paragraph about
the 5- to 18-year olds they think are making a significant contribution.
 ``It didn't surprise me because Gary is very thoughtful and giving,''
said Gary's mother, Rosa Jackson. ``He was born with those feelings.
Since he was very young, he has said and done things that I've started
crying for. You don't see that in kids.'' Gary started his drive with
$11 in the red tin telephone-booth bank sent by his aunt from London.
 For three days, Gary accompanied his mother and father to their jobs at
the Miami Police Department and boldly asked anyone he saw: ``We're
collecting money for kids in Haiti, because they don't have any
 mattresses, food or clothing.'' People reacted and helped. Gary also
got some help from his best buddy, 6-year-old Joseph Lindsay, to reach
the $370 total. ``It's not nice to keep things. It's better to share
instead of keep,'' Gary said. When he's not trying to help someone -- or
playing baseball -- Gary can be found doing well in school. A student on
the principal's honor roll, he received five scholastic awards and won
first prize -- a $20 gift certificate to Toys 'R' Us -- for a 10-page
book he wrote titled God and Me.