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Childfest raises US $150,000, gives out $56,000 in donations

page3a169~ Sets aside US $100,000 for Olympic-size pool ~

COLE BAY--Childfest Foundation has collected US $150,000 from this year's fundraiser to go towards youth-related projects.
An additional amount of about US $20,000 is still outstanding from persons who made pledges during the Childfest gala dinner, so it was announced at a press conference on Thursday.
The foundation has set aside US $100,000 for the construction of an Olympic-size pool to benefit a wide range of youths in St. Maarten. It also gave out a total of US $56,000 in donations to foundations that work with children, during an emotional ceremony at Princess Country Club (PCC) at Princess Port de Plaisance Resort and Casino.
President Angela Richards-Huggins told reporters that one of the goals of the Foundation this year was to embark on a long-term project that would benefit a wider segment of the community. The foundation still has this goal in mind, but it also wants to support other foundations at the same time.
During the press conference, board members donated US $20,000 to Help Our Children Foundation, US $20,000 to Special Olympics Foundation, US $4,000 to Love of Kids Foundation, US $4,000 to I Can Foundation and US $4,000 to Ujima Foundation, which runs a treatment facility for at-risk youths. Childfest had earlier given out US $4,000 to Crystal Children's Home, which was in "financial trouble."
The event turned especially moving when Heather Mercuur of Love of Kids Foundation was overcome with emotion. She said the funds would go a long way in helping the foundation to execute its work. Judith Bell was also overcome with emotion and thanked the foundation for its support.
Richards-Huggins said Childfest had grown into a "household name" since it started, and it had blossomed into a package of events that the public looks forward to. She said this year's event had been a huge success.
page3b169Similar sentiments were echoed by Vice President Katsiaryna Özkan and Treasurer Hakan Unal.
Özkan said this year's Childfest had been "a great success," adding that "it can only get bigger and better." She thanked the team of persons that had been on board to help make the event the success that it was.
Regarding the outstanding monies, the former First Lady said this amount would be pursued. However, she noted that the foundation was a charitable organisation that was cognisant of the economic situation, and it wouldn't drive its donors "into the ground" to honour pledges, but measures would be introduced to minimise this problem at future events.
Towards the end of the ceremony, the Childfest board honoured a number of its donors with tokens of appreciation. The foundation's board said it was thankful for the support Childfest continued to receive from the community of St. Maarten.
There were more than 70 financial donors who contributed to Childfest 2010.

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