News & Media

7-year-olds take up cause of refugees, donate funds to IU13 program

06/01/2018 Lancaster Online By Earle Cornelius

Thanks to the efforts of a pair of 7-year-old entrepreneurs, the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 Refugee Center and Community School at Reynolds Middle School is $5,352 richer.

In a brief ceremony Wednesday, IU13 recognized Clara Flinchbaugh and Nouraiz Leister Chaman, who sold pins and signs, respectively, that welcome refugees to Lancaster County.

Clara, a student at Wharton Elementary School, got her parents’ attention with something she wrote on a notebook: “Let all people be treated equally. Let all be loved.”

“We were struck by that,” her father, Chris, said. “It was something she came up with on her own.”

Clara showed the inscription to her mother, Megan. She contacted designer David Ramsay, who created pins for Clara. She sold $1,203 worth of pins through Facebook, at IU13 and at the Emerald Foundation.

Nouraiz’s sale began on Jan. 21, 2017 — the day of the Women’s March —with coffee and cookies and 50 signs in three languages posted in the family yard that read, “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.”

His mother, Jenni Leister, said the event was inspiring because she, Nouraiz and her husband, Yousaf Chaman, got to know their neighbors.

People, she said, would stop in the evening to buy a sign and some would send thank-you notes.

When they realized they had a hot item to sell, they contacted Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster and the Bunyaad Rug Room at Ten Thousand Villages, where Leister works.

Altogether, Community Mennonite Church sold 1,000 signs, IU13 sold 560 and Nouraiz’s project sold 1,100. Total proceeds were $4,149.

The funds will be used to support programming at the Refugee Center, which is a program of IU13 Community Education.

Josh McManness, community education supervisor for IU13, explained that the money will be used to pay for backpacks, welcome kits and cultural navigation, and school orientations.

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