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Kid Zenith members working to make a difference

Union Leader Correspondent

December 18. 2013 8:30PM

Kid Zenith member Marina Duverlie, 7, of Marlborough looks at a tray of Kid Zenith “perks” that go to donors of the group's online campaign to raise money for education. (Meghan Pierce/Union Leader Correspondent)

HANCOCK — Only a few weeks into their first Indiegogo campaign, Kid Zenith has surpassed half of its goal of raising $4,000 to buy educational supplies for a school in Costa Rica.

Kid Zenith is made up of 15 children ages 3 to 16 from Peterborough, Hancock, Francestown and Marlborough. Kid Zenith's mission is to teach the children about design, business and making a difference, with the profits benefiting the education of children around the world.

The "Pura Vida" campaign is the first major project of Kid Zenith and was launched to benefit a school in Playa Grande, Costa Rica.

"It's important for all kids to have a good education so they all have that sturdy foundation to eventually get them wherever they want," said Kid Zenith member Emil Hristache, 14, of Hancock.

"I really think that education just opens up so many opportunities for kids, beause if you are educated you can take something you really care about and do it. It just helps you go where you want to in life. I just think that's really important that every kid gets to go where they want to go in life," said Kid Zenith member Louise Sandback, 16, of Hancock.

Louise's mom Sarah Sandback, whose other daughters JaneAnn, 11, and Mekoya, 7, are also part of Kid Zenith, is an artist so she lends a hand in the design and making of products for Kid Zenith. The products give Kid Zenith a brand and are given away to those who donate to the current Indiegogo campaign.

Other adults in the community also step in to help and teach the Kid Zenith crew, such as filmmaker Hilary Graham of Francestown, who was asked to give pointers to the children to create a video for the online campaign.

Louise said she has been surprised at what she has learned so far, such as how to use social media for something other than socializing.

"Before this I thought social media was only used for purely social reasons, but I learned that it can be used to spread the word about social issues and if you use it the right way it can make a big difference," Louise said.

Kid Zenith only started earlier this year, but the group formed five years ago when a small group of students from Mountain Shadows School, a small private school in Dublin, were inspired to raise money for The Life is Good Foundation, which funds education.

The children started by painting a fence for money then donating that money.

The group continued each year, holding yard sales, selling candied apples at Hancock's Old Homes Day and doing yard work.

Last year, two of the families took a vacation to Costa Rica and while there took a day to visit a school and donate school supplies.

Out of this trip the children were inspired to start their own fundraising enterprise, picking the school they visited as their first project.

"For me at the beginning it was having fun and helping other people. Working with your friends to do something for someone else," but it has grown into so much more now said Gwen Jones, 14, of Peterborough.

Kelsa Danforth, 16, of Peterborough, now a ConVal High School student, said she is also working with other Kid Zenith children to start a pen pal program between her former school, Mountain Shadows, and the students in Costa Rica.

Friday afternoon the Sandback's kitchen table was a work station of glue and glitter as necklaces that are given away as perks were finished to be shipped soon to arrive to the donors before the holidays, as many of the perks are being given as holiday gifts, Sandback said.

The other Kid Zenith children are, Leah Danforth, 14, of Peterborough, Oliver Hristache, 11, of Hancock, Ella Williams, 11, of Francestown, Danica Morris, 14, of Peterborough, Marina Duverlie, 7, and Jack Duverlie, 3, of Marlborough, Mia Brady, 13, and Hadley Brady, 8, of Hancock and Emma Place, 13, of Francestown.

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