Monday, April 25, 2011

A for Effort

Typical teens today are busier than ever, but Alana Ethridge takes it up a notch further. As if balancing academics, extracurriculars, and TV & film jobs (including a stint on "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?") weren't enough, the 14-year-old started her own foundation, Alana's Achievers, through Athletes for Education. The goal? Help other kids "achieve their dreams and set positive goals in life" and build the habits they need to get there, from strong school attendance to healthy eating and regular exercise. Understanding that extracurriculars are a pathway to discovering passions, she's offered modest scholarships for disadvantaged kids to cover the cost of these programs. She's raised funds for sick kids, including 9-year-old Danielle Lerma, who is in treatment for a rare blood disease. And she's promoted literacy, recruiting young celebs to visit her school in support of reading programs and partnering with Storytime for Me, aimed at early childhood literacy. You'd think she'd be tuckered out by now, but something tells me Alana's just getting started ...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Almost Famous

As a survivor of a 5-boy sleepover this past weekend, looking ahead to two more this coming weekend, I've got PJ parties on the brain. So, luckily, do Guilford, Conn., sisters Addie (8) and Delaney (9) Kenney, who recruited 36 girls for an "almost sleepover" (the "almost" being a key concept when you're talking 3 dozen kids!) to help youngsters at an area shelter. Each girl brought a new pair of PJs for a peer at the shelter. Activities included making treats and crafts for seniors and holiday patients, plus the partiers collected $80 for charity. Addie and Delaney are taking their almost-sleepover concept nationwide this October for Make a Difference Day and, according to USA Weekend, have invited the Obama sisters to join in. Newman's Own awarded $10,000 in the Kenney girls' honor to the Life Haven shelter in New Haven.