Truckee teen takes initiative to raise funds for hurricane victims
On Sept. 1, four days after Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, 13-year-old Clayton Noel decided that something needed to be done for the victims of the tragedy. The television in the Noels’ Truckee home had been tuned to CNN, and for days the Alder Creek Middle School eighth grader viewed images of destruction play and replay on his screen. After watching a small child plead for help outside the New Orleans Superdome, Noel picked up the phone and called the best number he could think of.”He just came to me and said ‘Dad, I need you to take me to Reno,’ and I said ‘What for?’ … ‘Because I have a meeting with the Red Cross,'” Clayton’s father, Paul Noel, said. “He just did it on his own.” They went down the hill to the Northern Nevada chapter of the American Red Cross, where the Truckee teen picked up a half dozen plastic buckets. With the help of his friends Griffin Brown, Joe More, and Ryan Wahl, who are also in middle school, he delivered the buckets to Truckee merchants. Locals and visitors filled the buckets with more than $1,500.”I expected to earn less. I didn’t know that people were that giving,” Noel said. “While I was collecting, one woman came up to me on the street, crying. And she hugged me and told me that her son was going to college in Louisiana, and that I was helping him. And she thanked me.”Noel said that his initial reaction to what he saw on the news was a desire to go to the effected areas and help out.”I knew that if I was in that situation someone else would help me, so I wanted to help them,” he said.Caroline Punches, executive director of the Northern Nevada Red Cross chapter, said youth involvement in fund raising for this disaster has been remarkable.”We have had a lot of young people who were really moved by this tragedy; some set up lemonade stands, schools put on coin drives, some Boy Scouts sold root beer floats. It is really reassuring that young people are in that mode of wanting to reach out, and it is very heartening to see young people like Clayton want to help their neighbors,” she said. “And anytime the Red Cross sees a dedicated young person like that, who is motivated and willing, we want them to come back and volunteer.” While some activities require that volunteers be over the age of 18, Punches said there are many ways young people can get involved, such as taking Red Cross classes in health and safety, such as first aid. They can also be trained with a parent for disaster response and mass care for the event of a local emergency.
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