Young Sammamish philanthropists host cupcake making fundraiser for kids by kids

February 17, 2013

By Lillian O'Rorke

New: Feb. 17, 5:53 p.m.

Chirag Vedullapalli and Amol Garg, like other 12- and 13-year-olds, love making art.

They also love helping others, and two have teamed up to host an afternoon of creative fun for children in the hopes of raising enough money to fulfill one child’s dream through the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

“Both of us are passionate about art and we like giving to charity so we came up with an idea to help charity and follow our passion at the same time,” said Amol.

The seventh grade student at Pine Lake Middle School added that as he speaks both Hindi and English, art is his third language.

“It expresses that, that even words cannot say,” he explained. “Art is just fun, you get be creative and all that, and you get to show your perspective of things.”

In the spirit of sharing the joys of art with other children – and lending a helping hand at the same time – Garg and Vedullapalli are hosting Canvas and Cupcake Fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 21 at Beaver Lake Lodge. For $20 each, children will get all the supplies needed to paint their own interpretation of a cupcake on a 8-inch by 10-inch canvas and then decorate a real cupcake that they later get to devour. Proceeds from the afternoon will be given directly to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which will have a representative at the lodge. Handing them the check, Garg said, is what he is looking forward to the most. The two hope to raise enough money to pay for one wish – around $700 to $1,000.

“That’s actually pretty amazing – helping one kid live the life he has always wanted to live,” Amol explained. “It’s amazing to think that because of your efforts you’ve helped one kid that you never even knew and changed his life forever.”

They chose the Wish Foundation, Chirag said, because they like the idea of making a large impact in one person’s life.

Her son has always had a charitable heart, said Chirag’s mother, Chaitra Vedullapalli. He was 5 when people first started admiring his colorful paintings and asked to buy them, she said. When she asked him what he would like to do with his earnings, he told her to give it away.

“I always felt like donating it to somebody who actually needs it is a better thing than using it for yourself,” Chirag said, adding that you would probably just end up buying something you don’t really need.

The 12-year-old Sammamish boy, who attends Chief Kanim Middle School, likes to paint animals, landscapes and abstract people. He looks at pictures only to get the right proportions and then uses the colors that come to him, he said. Chirag then sells his finished pieces online at www.meylah.com/chirag and uses the money to buy more art supplies and give to places like Children’s Hospital.

A few years ago, Chirag expanded his philanthropy when he and his friend Amol formed Creative Children for Charity, which puts on art and carnival-like events to raise money for other youngsters in need.

“Our Vision is to prove that kids can make a difference in the world, no matter what age they are,” said Amol. “Any kid can make a difference.”

The two run their organization like a business – meeting weekly to hash out event plans, pricing and budgets and to update the online art gallery, facebook account and blog. Their parents say they offer some oversight, but most of the responsibilities of running a charity fall on the two boys.

“It’s harder than you think it is.You have to come up with all the logistics,” said Amol. “As kids, we are getting a different experience that other kids don’t get. It’s just fun to know that we are kids getting to run a business.”

For their latest event – the Canvas and Cupcake Fundraiser – the boys have emailed several area CEOs, looking for advice and sponsorship. While most did not respond, the head of Costco did and set up an hour-long meeting with the boys and told them how he grew his own business.

“It was a big experience for me,” said Chirag. “I felt really good inside that I was able to because not many people get to meet the CEOs of major companies.”

Vijay Garg, Amol’s father, said he has been amazed at the boys’ tenacity, especially how they were confident enough to reach out to local business people they didn’t know.

“What I have really learned from these kids is that if there is a will, there is a way,” Garg said.

For more information on the upcoming fundraiser visit www.3c.meylah.com/3c.

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