A 9-YEAR-OLD Mount Airy girl is learning firsthand what it means to help those less fortunate who are living in her community.
Alison Lederer has taken it upon herself to design a monthly plan to collect "pocket change" from her neighbors to be donated to Mount Airy NET, a group of organizations that provides a "net" of support and services for the needy.
After her first collection last month, Alison presented a check for $156 to the board of directors of Mount Airy NET.
Alison's motivation to help those in need was not inspired by community service requirements or a school project, but instead came straight from her heart. After watching a segment on the Oprah Winfrey show about the Angel Network Program, Alison and her mother, Amy Lederer, thought that they should do something to help those who are less fortunate in Mount Airy.
"Alison jumped right on the idea, doing it all by herself," Lederer said.
Alison, a fourth-grade student at Mount Airy Elementary, designed a flier that she distributed to her neighbors in the Paddocks development, requesting their support of her efforts to raise money for Mount Airy NET.
She explained that she would return on the same day each month to pick up the change they had set aside. She even included stickers that her neighbors could put on their calendars to remind them of the collection day each month.
Surprised that so many people right in Mount Airy need help, Alison says that Mount Airy NET uses the money she collects to "buy stuff for charity."
Other family members have caught Alison's spirit of volunteerism. Her father, Scott Lederer, drives Alison throughout the neighborhood to make her collections, while younger brother Drew filled in last month as collector when Alison was unable to go. Older brother Michael gets in on the project helping Alison roll the donated change.
Alison plans to continue her project as long as she has the support of her neighbors.
Mysterious library visitors
If you visit Mount Airy Elementary School this month, don't be alarmed if you see a masked and caped, superhero-like figure leaping in and out of classrooms.
The letter "P" on his cape is a hint to his identity -- Poetry Man -- and his mission is to challenge students to read and find fun poems.
April is School Library Media Month across Carroll County. In an effort to introduce and encourage the children to read poetry, media specialist Holly Vespignani, came up with the idea of Poetry Man. She was looking for fun additions to the usual media program this month.
The month's events will also include visits by the well-read Mrs. Rita Goodbook, who will share letters from students recommending good books to read. The elderly visitor will also offer suggestions of good books for students.
Although the identities of Poetry Man and Mrs. Goodbook are secret, I have it from reliable sources that under those disguises are well-known fourth- and fifth-grade students. Just who are those mysterious library visitors?
Congratulations are in order for Mount Airy Elementary student photographers after their victories at the school level and county level. Photographs taken by these students will be exhibited at the Maryland School Media Festival this month.
Students entered photographs in four categories: life study, landscape, still life and experimental. First-place winners are Nick Johnson and Andrew Colson; and second, Allison Borrelli, Andrew Colson, and Molly Malarkey.
Andrew Colson was second in Best of Show for his photograph "Sunbright."
Christy Kruhm's Southwest Neighbors column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.
Pub Date: 4/03/98