Flushing Teenagers Sing to Raise Funds for St. Mary’s Hospital for Children
13-year old Anya Cullen and her friends are extraordinary examples of kids helping kids.
Anya and her friends, Lauren Velez, Patrick Kowpak, and Katie McCreesh, all students of St. Andrew Avellino School, used their talented caroling voices to raise funds for gifts for the young patients of St. Mary’s Hospital for Children.
Anya was no stranger to St. Mary’s, one of the region’s largest providers of intensive rehabilitation, specialized care, and education for children with special needs. Just a few weeks earlier she visited the Hospital with members of the St. Andrew Avellino Choir for a special holiday concert.
That visit not only touched the hearts of St. Mary’s patients, but Anya herself was inspired.
“I always see commercials on T.V. about donating to children’s hospitals and I thought why not give back to kids right here in my own neighborhood,” said Anya. So, Anya, Lauren, Patrick and Katie and a half dozen or so of their friends decided to spread a little holiday cheer to some of the most amazing kids at St. Mary’s who are battling complex medical and life-limiting conditions.
Anya and the gang put in hours of rehearsal before venturing out on a snowy evening to carol door to door for families throughout Flushing. They went out a second time, determined to raise enough to buy toys for the kids of St. Mary’s.
“This entire project was coordinated by four 13-year olds who were thinking about others and wanted to help in some way. It was not part of a school project. It was just a bunch of kids opening their hearts to St. Mary’s kids,” remarked Margaret Cullen, Anya’s proud mother.
On January 6th, Anya, Lauren, and Patrick arrived at St. Mary’s with bagfuls of toys and presents for St. Mary’s kids. They had raised over $400.00 including $100.00 in gift cards donated by Katie, who wanted to share her Christmas presents with others.
Anya and her friends enjoyed the fruits of their labor, as they toured the hospital, meeting and greeting patients, and learning about the programs and services at St. Mary’s.