Newsworthy hook & story linking young author to non-profit organization.
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Nine-Year-Old Author Inspires Foundation To Feed The Hungry
Nine-year-old Isabel Janavs’ original story, “The Candy Palace,” a playful adventure that follows a young girl as she tries to undo the magic spell of a well-meaning candy monster, teaches children the importance of helping others. Creative and tenacious, Isabel wrote the story with thoughtfulness and purpose, expressly wanting to show other children that there are kids who need help from other kids. It was this combination of creativity and sensitivity that inspired the MMJ Foundation to develop The Candy Palace Program. This program sponsors an annual writing contest that transforms the original story of one Orange County child into a published, illustrated children’s book whose full proceeds are donated to the Kids Cafés Program of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. Though the story “The Candy Palace” was not discovered through a writing contest, as the inspiration for the program, it will be the first book published through the program of the same name.
The foundation’s president and, as it happens, Isabel’s mother, Michelle Janavs, recognized an opportunity to encourage and empower children to help others while also promoting reading, writing, and creativity. “Isabel is my daughter but she absolutely surprises me every day with her passion for helping others and her voracious creativity, explains Mrs. Janavs. “I know she’s not the only young person in Orange County with these qualities and I wanted to provide kids with a way to help others that were also fun and resulted in an exciting, tangible achievement. These young authors see their stories published into a real book and the hungry children of Orange County are fed. In fact, it was Isabel’s idea to donate one hundred percent of the profits to Kids Cafés, so I can’t even take full credit for that.” Kids Cafés provides after-school snacks and summer meals as well as nutrition education to underprivileged children throughout Orange County. This program, in particular, has become increasingly important over the last couple of years, as the amount of food needed has increased while donations have decreased due to the recession.
The writing contest will be held annually for Orange County children of all ages and a grant will be provided to a professional children’s picture book illustrator to help create the finished product. “The Candy Palace” will be illustrated by J.H. Everett and will be available for purchase and to retailers in September 2010. A Hope Medal will be awarded to both author and illustrator for their efforts and inspirations.
The Candy Palace Program may be in its infancy, but the MMJ Foundation is confident that Isabel’s story and her book will be just as inspirational to other Orange County children as it was to the MMJ Foundation itself.