Flint youth activist needs help meeting $25,000 goal for ‘Christmas wonderland’

Flint youth activist needs help meeting $25,000 goal for ‘Christmas wonderland’

It’s been a busy year for one of Flint’s littlest activists, and she’s not finished working to
help her neighbors around the city in 2018.

Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny, 11, is asking the public for help in a last push toward her
$25,000 goal in a GoFundMe campaign to buy Christmas gifts for local children. The
goal is to build upon the success of 2017’s holiday effort, which was also led by the girl
known as “Little Miss Flint” and her team.

“This year we want to bring the magic of Christmas to over 1,000 Flint kids, which is
over double of what we did last Christmas,” Amariyanna says, “and this event won’t be
like other holiday giveaway events where toys are bundled and picked up. We are giving
kids the whole experience of a Christmas wonderland.

“Our holiday party is going to be filled with fun things to do, including oversized
inflatables, a hot cocoa bar, cookie-decorating, and an indoor skating rink. We will even
have Santa and Mrs. Claus, too.”

The experience Amariyanna and her team plan to offer children will include visiting a toy
room to choose their own gifts. Participants will also receive books, a stocking filled with
holiday surprises, school supplies, and a backpack. Every child’s family will also receive
a food box.

But the vision of Amariyanna’s latest gift to the community requires about $2,500 more
dollars to meet its $25,000 goal.

“Our ‘Stuff Your Stocking’ event last year provided an amazing Christmas party,
including a slime station, cookie-decorating and a hot cocoa bar, stockings stuffed with
school supplies so kids were able to have new supplies when they came back to school
from Christmas break, and we provided over $13,000 in toys to Flint Kids,” says.
Amariyanna. “We even were able to drop a load of toys off at Hurley Children’s Hospital
for the kids spending Christmas in the hospital.”

Amariyanna’s year-ending holiday campaign resembles the way she entered 2018:
fundraising to benefit other Flint youth. With the excitement surrounding the release of
the movie Black Panther, the first major superhero action film starring a character of
African heritage that gained Hollywood release, many community leaders throughout the
country organized free screenings for youth. Amariyanna’s effort led to a viewing of
Black Panther by about 850 local students.

Another effort she helped lead put 500 comic books featuring black superheroes into the
hands of Flint’s children, according to her website update.

But Amariyanna’s activism and philanthropy isn’t limited to gifts and entertainment –
2018 marked her most recent partnership with the Pack Your Back non-profit for its
backpack and school supplies drive. The distribution reached 15,000 students.

Organizers with her team say programming for Amariyanna’s multiple efforts this year
alone have generated more than $250,000 in resources. Including the holiday GoFundMe
effort, the young advocate’s outreach has included major events virtually every season –
even featuring a celebration of Amariyanna’s birthday that provided gifts to others.

“With the help of generous donors we were able to throw the biggest summer party for
Flint kids in a long time,” she says of the party. “We had inflatables, a candy ‘bar,’ food,
photo booth, and so much more fun stuff, plus we were able to give out over 600 bikes
and ride-on toys to Flint kids.”

Amariyanna first gained national attention in 2016 after writing to President Barack
Obama to share her concerns about the Flint water crisis. Her letter led to a personal
response from the president and a public acknowledgment of Amariyanna during his visit
to the city.

To donate to Amariyanna’s Christmas wonderland fundraiser visit the website
https://www.gofundme.com/flint-kids-christmas-wonderland .





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