MILWAUKEE, WI (January 27, 2010) 13 year old Berj Balyozian, an 8th grader at the University
School of Milwaukee, knew he had to do something to help those affected by the devastating earthquake in Haiti. But how much impact could one young teen have? Quite a bit, apparently. Berj knew of a charity called Jazz'd4Life based in Connecticut which is involved in long-term projects in Haiti and Africa, building schools for orphanages and wells and water filtration systems for impoverished people in those regions. Founded by Berj's relatives, Arne and Catherine (Brubeck) Yaghzisian of Wallingford, CT, Jazz'd 4Life was created using the power of music to raise funds for those less fortunate (Ms. Brubeck Yaghzisian is the daughter of famed jazz musician Dave Brubeck). Since the quake, the Yaghzisians have mobilized a massive relief effort to get food, medical supplies and other necessities donated for shipping to the ravaged region.
Berj approached his 8th grade teacher, Laurie Barth, at the University School, where community service plays a fundamental role in the school's philosophy, and asked if he could raise money by letting students make voluntary donations for a "no uniform" day. The event was approved and an announcement was sent out to all students' families. Students, who chose instead to wear red and green, the colors of Haiti, raised close to $3,500.00 at the one day fundraising event. But the generosity didn't end there.
Debra Marcus Watton, President of Jack L Marcus, Inc., a Milwaukee Department store and mail order business, has two children attending the University School and was aware of the fundraising efforts there. An employee approached her wondering if they might donate a pallet of children’s clothing that was slated for a summer sale. Ms. Watton immediately scanned their warehouse and procured 13 pallets (each pallet is 5’ x 5’ x 6’ high) filled with children’s and adults’ clothing, as well as medical scrubs and other necessities desperately needed in Haiti. The problem? How to ship several tons of merchandise to the Jazz’d4Lifewww. storage facility in Connecticut.
Yet another University School family member to the rescue. Neil Cracknell of Sensient Technologies, another USM parent, offered a truck to ship the donated materials to the storage depot in Connecticut where a larger shipment for Haiti is being prepared. The pallets are ready to be loaded and shipped Monday, February 1st at 1:00 pm at the Jack L. Marcus loading doc in Milwaukee. Representatives from Jack L. Marcus, Inc. and Sensient Technologies will be on hand. Cameras are welcome to capture that event.
One young Milwaukee student’s idea spawned a collaborative series of acts of generosity throughout the community to help a ravaged community far away. The participants are available for interviews.
FOR JACK L. MARCUS: Debra Marcus Watton 414.438.4999 x 127
FOR UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MILWAUKEE: ELAINE SWEET - 414.540.3335
For Berj Balyozian - Contact Rhonda Meegan: 410.206.4775