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Teens give to CASA

Teens decide to share money they received for their birthdays with CASA

May 11, 2010|By AMELIA McCARTY and DEVON JACOBS / Pulse correspondents
  • Abby Harp, 16, left, and Kelli Wright, 16, far right, present a check to Vicki Sadehvandi, center, CASA executive director. The teens asked for money instead of presents for their birthday. They donated $1,825 to CASA, which has been used to seed a fund set up in their names.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer,

Abby Harp, 16, and Kelli Wright, 16, both from Hagerstown, decided to spread their "birthday love" with CASA.

Abby and Kelli, both sophomores at North Hagerstown High School, jointly celebrated their birthdays on Jan. 16.

Abby said they decided to celebrate their 16th birthdays on the 16th because her birthday is Jan. 6 and Kelli's is Jan. 10.

"We decided to have it on the 16th because 6 plus 10 is 16," Abby said. "It worked out pretty well."

The teens said instead of receiving gifts, they wanted to collect money to give to a nonprofit.

They said they chose CASA, which stands for Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused, in Hagerstown.

Vicki Sadehvandi, CASA's executive director, said CASA provides assistance to families involved with domestic violence and sexual assault. Services offered by CASA are a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, counseling for families, legal services and medical accompaniment, she said.

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"We didn't know about CASA until we Googled organizations that needed help," Kelli said.

Abby, who is the daughter of Sherie and Jimmy Harp, and Kelli, who is the daughter of Heidi and Bill Wright, had about 120 people attend their party.

"We sat in the kitchen, opened cards and counted check and money all night after the party," Kelli said.

They raised $1,825 for CASA.

Sadehvandi said with the money the girls raised, CASA set up the Kelli/Abby Children's Fund.

She said setting up the fund in their names will allow anyone in the future wanting to give to CASA to earmark their donation specifically to the fund.

She said the Kelli/Abby Children's Fund helps to purchase supplies for the children that aren't normally funded through normal sources such as grants.

Abby and Kelli have said they would like to donate more than their money, but also their time.

"We are so thrilled they selected us," Sadehvandi said.

Sadehvandi said the teens' donation "really speaks to their character and generosity."

Abby said they learned a lot from giving. "It feels so much better to give to someone else," she said.

She said she really enjoyed meeting Sadehvandi and seeing her reacting. "Everyone was so thankful, it was awesome," she said.

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