Laura Greenwald, 14, of Amesbury, Mass., an eighth-grader at River Valley Charter School in Newburyport and a member of the American Red Cross of Northeast Massachusetts in Beverly, created and sold a compact disc of holiday songs and stories performed by local children to raise funds for victims of domestic violence and disadvantaged people in her community. Seeking to combine her love of music with community service, Laura hit upon the idea of recording a CD and selling it to benefit local charities. "I wanted the CD to be different from what was already commercially available, and to represent the belief that I have in people and the hope that I have for the future," she said.
After selecting the music and literary excerpts for her CD, Laura obtained music licenses and legal permissions, recruited six local children to join her and her brother as performers, and scheduled rehearsals. Then she secured donations of studio time and technical assistance to record the 54-minute CD. When it was finished, Laura promoted it by sending copies to radio stations, issuing press releases, distributing posters and flyers, setting up a Web site (www.believe-CD.com), and placing it in local CD stores. Laura sold more than 450 copies of her CD, which enabled her to donate over $3,500 to the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center in Newburyport and Pettengill House in Salisbury.