Easton Kindergartener Makes Colorful Contribution to Japan Relief Effort
Jamison Levine of Easton donated over 200 coloring books and a slew of crayons to children in Japan.
When it was all said and done, over 200 coloring books were spread out over the kitchen table of the Levine family's Easton home. Stacks of crayons and markers complemented the mountains of books. Standing behind the scene was a smiling kindergartener.
Six-year-old Jamison Levine had come a long way from a few short weeks ago when she sat in front of the television with her parents. That day, she was in tears, as news programs portrayed the devastation at the hands of a merciless tsunami in Japan.
"When she saw it, she was really upset," said Chrissy Levine, Jamison's mother. "She said 'If mother nature is a mother, then why do so many people have to die?'"
Feeling sad and wanting to help, the Center School kindergartener decided to take action.
"We asked her what we could do as a family that could help over there," Chrissy said. "She thought about it and she said ‘I want to send coloring books and crayons.’ She said that would make them happy."
It was a no-brainer for Jamison, who said her favorite subject in school is art. She said she aspires to become an artist someday.
Chrissy, and her husband, Mark Levine, supported Jamison's idea, and were willing to take on the challenge.
Chrissy quickly took action, emailing friends and posting on her facebook wall. She said the response she received was overwhelming. She began receiving cash donations and donations of coloring books and crayons from high school friends she hadn't heard from in years.
Friends and family began to donate, as did Daisy troops, Brownie troops, neighbors, and parents at Jamison's former pre-school, Easton Learning Adventures.
"It got bigger, and bigger, and bigger..." said Jamison with a grin on her face.
But the biggest obstacle was finding a place to ship the growing amounts of supplies, said Chrissy. Most relief organizations were only collecting cash donations.
She said she was able to find a friend's father's friend in Japan through facebook. The Massachusetts native was living in Japan to care for his wife's elderly father.
"Through his work and through his church, he thought he could definitely pass his coloring books out to kids that have lost everything," said Chrissy.
Chrissy later found another acquaintance in Japan where a second package could be sent.
Eventually, the Levines sent two boxes overseas. One package weighed in at 57 pounds and the other weighed 47 pounds. The total shipping price was $444. The family had received most of the money in donations, however.
Chrissy and Mark agreed that while it was a simple gesture, Jamison's idea would make a lot of children happy.
"I think that’s actually why I felt it was so important to go ahead and do this for her," said Chrissy. "Because, it shows in a kid's mind – a simple thing can make a child happy.
"I think a lot of adults have realized that a 6-year old's idea can be exactly what another kid needs. We’ve been telling Jamison that - yes, she is six - but look at what she has accomplished. If it wasn’t for her idea right now, none of this would have happened."