Two eighth-graders at St. Mark School of Catonsville, are helping orphans in a big way.
Ariana Wall and Julia Wall, who were born in Vietnam and China, respectively, are now working to give a helping hand to orphans in China.
"We were both adopted and decided it was important to give back," Julia said.
Last week, during "Social Justice Day" at St. Mark School on Jan. 30, the 14-year-old sisters gave a Powerpoint presentation to their fellow students about how they were able to raise $1,000 to help sponsor the education of 10 toddlers at an orphanage in China.
The money came from a competition between the grades at the Melvin Avenue school with the three classrooms that raised the most money allowed to name three orphans and from the school's student council.
Giving the Chinese children Western names will help them become adopted, said Judy Wall, the girls' mother.
This isn't the first time the girls have raised money for an orphanage. Four years ago, they held a fashion show at Catonsville Presbyterian Church to benefit orphanages in Vietnam and China.
They started their nonprofit, "Kid Stuff," when they were both just 8 years old and have both traveled with their parents, Judy and Michael Wall, to visit the countries where they were born.
Those trips provided the inspiration for their new project.
Ariana was able to visit the family she was adopted from in Vietnam, while Julia visited the orphanage where she was born in China.
"We wanted to connect them to their adoptive roots," said their mother, Julia Wall, a psychologist for Baltimore County Public Schools.
While Ariana and Julia dreamt up the idea to start "Kid Stuff" on their own, Judy Wall, has helped them to develop their idea.
"Giving back has been important to our family and also for me as a parent," said Judy Wall.
"I think they are definitely developing a global perspective and an appreciation for global social issues," she said.
"Kid Stuff" has partnered with the nonprofit "Love Without Boundaries", which provides assistance to orphaned and impoverished children in China.
They have set up an account with the nonprofit and will continue to raise funds for the education of orphans in China.
During last week's presentation, Julia and Ariana showed photographs of the three toddlers, who
aren't developing at the pace that most children do, because they're not getting enough attention, Judy Wall explained to the young audience in the school gymnasium.
One child, Dong, is 2 and hasn't begun to walk yet. Another, Hai, 2 1/2, is afraid of toy balls.
The sisters said they hope that their donations to the children will help them get the love and attention they need to have a better life, Judy Wall said.
"I get a really good feeling when I help people out," Julia said. "When I was in the orphanage, it was really heartbreaking to see all these infants that really didn't have much stimulation because they were just in their cribs."
After the presentation, middle school students at the school worked on a project called Lanterns of Love, which entailed painting paper lanterns with cherry blossoms.
The children wrote a message of encouragement on a paper heart that will be delivered to the children in China.
"Thank you St. Mark students for being leaders in this," Judy Wall said before the kids filed out of the room.
Information about "KidStuff" can be found on their website at http://www.kidstuffdifference.com.