Camden girl,11, helps the needy
Camden — When Kasey Emery won a purple 15-speed bicycle for her scholastic achievements, she immediately wondered if the prize could be used to benefit a charity. Emery, 11, and her mother Chanda have been involved with Relay for Life for five years and came up with a plan to raffle off the bike as a benefit for the American Cancer Society in conjunction with Relay for Life.
The Emerys dropped off tickets at Party Fundamentals in Camden and The Salvation Army in Rockland. The tickets were offered for $5 each in advance as well as at the Midcoast Relay for Life event June 22.
Dale Bruce of Camden won the bicycle and said she was delighted to be able to give it to her granddaughter. Kasey, in turn, said she was delighted to donate more than $300 to Relay for Life.
The donation of the bicycle was just one event in a long list of Kasey's charitable acts. She said she has donated her birthday presents to local organizations since 2010. For her ninth birthday she requested items for Camden Rockport Animal Rescue League; the following year she chose the Pediatric Care Center at Pen Bay Medical Center and this year, the Humane Society of Knox County.
Kasey said she asks her friends and family to give her items suited to the needs of an organization rather than birthday gifts. In 2011 the Pediatric Care Center asked for a portable DVD player so sick children could watch DVDs in their rooms. The center also requested items that could be sanitized — like hardcover books and DVDs — and Kasey responded in kind.
When the American Legion Auxiliary of Bangor heard about Kasey's donations to the Pen Bay Children's Center, the group presented her an honorary medallion. Jeri Brooks Greenwell, a representative from the organization, traveled to the Midcoast for a ceremony at Pen Bay hospital April 28. Chanda Emery said each year, the legion chooses a child who has performed a good deed is presented with an American Legion Auxiliary Youth Hero award in the form of a medallion.
"They told us they could not stop talking about Kasey," she said.
Chanda Emery said she thinks a portion of Kasey's affinity for charitable work is inherited from her great grandmother, Elinor Emery, who was known for her generosity with those less fortunate. Emery said Kasey accompanied Elinor on many of her trips to purchase and subsequently donate goods.
Kasey said she was inspired by a research paper she wrote in school several years ago. Her chosen topic was animal abuse and she said she was shocked and saddened by the frequent cases of animal mistreatment. She said the project inspired her initial decision to donate to CRARL in 2010.
"Just hearing about everything kids don't have and everything animals have to go through" is what Kasey said keeps her constantly looking for new ways to give back.
Kasey said she isn't sure what her next cause will be and said she and her mom are currently in the process of brainstorming. One idea involves procuring footwear for impoverished children.
They explained the process of choosing a charity involves considerable preliminary legwork. Chandra said she calls the organization to find out how best to help, sometimes waiting weeks for a return phone call and an opportunity to explain her daughter's desire to help.
Not only does Kasey donate the items she receives with her charity in mind, but she adds any gift cards or cash she gets for her birthday, too.
"If I kind of have an idea and know I'm going to do that [charity] for my birthday I get excited and want it to come up fast," she said.
Kasey has siblings — 4-year-old twins — a brother and a sister. She said she thinks her sister may follow in her giving footsteps.
"When she gets older and I still do this she might catch on," Kasey said with a smile.
Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at email@example.com.