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A goodwill initiative

Posted: June 17, 2010 10:12 p.m.
Updated: June 18, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Shawn Dettenmier, 7, with some of the 16 cans she decorated in order to collect money to help out the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. To date, she has collected approximately $700 to help the cause.

For the past several months, 7-year-old Shawn Dettenmier repeated one request every night in her prayers. “Help me make the world a better place,” she asked.

She’s off to a good start. Sometime in the next few weeks, the Canyon Country girl will present approximately $700 to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

It all started with a Christmas letter to Santa Claus.

In the letter, Shawn requested a Moxie Girlz doll, a hula hoop, a Polly Pocket water park and “the strength to give everyone a home.”

“For a little girl to write that on her own tells me she’s really on the right track to wanting to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Shawn’s father, Ethan Dettenmier. “I don’t think you can teach that.”

 The Dettenmiers figured the foreclosure crisis was probably too big of a challenge for their little girl to take on, so they brainstormed other ways Shawn could impact the lives of others.

Shawn shifted her focus to children. The type of children she gets emotional over when she sees commercials about victims who are losing their hair and going through chemotherapy — sick children.

Shawn’s mother, Lota Dettenmier, suggested Childrens Hospital because she has organized some charity efforts for the medical center in her past.

The youngster gathered some tin cans and decorated them with paper and colored pencils. Family friends helped Shawn place cans at 16 venues throughout Los Angeles such as a hotel, radio station, car dealership and others.

Six months later, Shawn collected the cans filled with change and bills.

“I want this to be the start of something that continues,” Lota Dettenmier said.



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