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March of Dimes

Creative Years raises $4,305 for organization

By Hannah LaClaire - Staff Writer | Apr 14, 2018

Staff photo by Hannah LaClaire Benjamin, held by his mother Amy Leal, gives his father Dario a high five. Benjamin is this year's Creative Years ambassador for March of Dimes.

NASHUA- Benjamin Leal was this year’s March of Dimes ambassador for the Creative Years Child Development and Learning Center, and the perfect ambassador he was. The four year old boy was so busy running around, giving hugs and high fives, holding hands with his friends and waving that he could hardly lead the parade around the parking lot.

Creative Years has raised money for March of Dimes for the last four years, getting children, parents and teachers alike involved and invested in collecting change.

In just two weeks, the kids ages one, three, four and five collected $4,305 for the organization and celebrated Friday in an energetic, purple colored victory lap around the parking lot, lead by Benjamin and his parents, Amy and Dario Leal.

Although the students are young, the importance of the cause was not lost on them.

From left, Sarah McDowell and Bobbie Smith of Creative Years Child Development and Learning Center, Benjamin, Amy and Dario Leal and Michelle O'Malley from March of Dimes.

“What were we raising money for?” owner Bobbie Smith asked the group. “Were we raising money for candy?”

“No!” the kids shouted.

“Were we raising money for Christmas presents?”

“No!” they answered again.

“What were we raising money for?”

Staff photo by Hannah LaClaire March of Dimes ambassador Benjamin Leal leads the group outside for their march around the parking lot.

“Babies!” they collectively shouted.

“That’s right,” Smith said. “All of you did an amazing job for really a very important cause.”

Two classrooms, the Sweetpeas and the Orchids each raised just over $800.

“We’re trying to educate the younger generation,” said Michelle O’Malley, the March of Dimes coordinator for New Hampshire. Her children went to daycare at Creative Years as well.

Statistically, 1 in 10 babies will be born premature, which can result in various health complications, let alone the financial burden of the average three month hospital stay.

Staff photo by Hannah LaClaire Kids cheer as Bobbie Smith announces the $4,000 total the students and teachers collected in just two weeks.

Through the work that O’Malley and the rest of March of Dimes is doing to raise money and fund research, they are “leveling the playing field because we believe that every baby deserves the best possible start,” she said in an email.

“We support every mom and every baby.”

However, not every mom and every baby has an easy start in life, due to innumerable factors.

In New Hampshire, the organization has funder a $150,000 research project to help develop a toolkit for families either with or expecting babies and struggling with opioid addiction.

“It’s a national organization with a local impact,” O’Malley said, “this is being funded in our own backyard.”

Staff photo by Hannah LaClaire As they marched through the parking lot, kids were given stickers that said "I did it!"

The Creative Years march is just one of many that happens in the state every year, bringing in roughly $500,000.

May 20, March of Dimes will host the March for Babies at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester to “help all moms and families experience the joy of a healthy baby,” according to the organization.

They will also have another fundraiser hosted by Creative Years, a paint and sip at their location at 30 Broad St. 6:30 to 8 p.m. Registration is $30.

For more information contact Michelle O’Malley at momalley@marchofdimes.org

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or hlaclaire@nashuatelegraph.com

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