New Castle News

August 19, 2013

Girl gives up birthday presents, asks friends to donate to charity

Lauren Rearick
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Most young girls dream of a birthday filled with presents.

Carmen Medvit of Shenango Township isn’t like most girls.

For the past two years, Medvit has forgone receiving gifts for her July 28 birthday and instead asked friends and family for donations to a charity of her choice.

Last year when her father, James, was diagnosed with cancer, Carmen chose the American Cancer Society. This year, her inspiration came locally.

“I got the idea from a neighbor,” Carmen said. “They were doing something like this, and I decided I wanted to do it too.”

Setting her sights on a $300 goal for the Lawrence County-based chapter, Carmen celebrated in style with a birthday centered on the organization — graham cracker house building included.

The celebrations continued into Saturday, with Carmen being invited to give the honorary first swing during the organization’s first charity golf outing.

Arriving at the Mohawk Trails Golf Course for 8:30 a.m., Carmen was the guest of honor, receiving high praise from those involved with Habitat.

“She’s a fine example and a leader of giving back to the community,” Sheree Cunningham, executive director of Lawrence County Habitat for Hummanity said. “It’s an off-the-chart, awesome example for us to follow. It’s a wonderful story that people need to hear.”

Though Carmen is remaining tight-lipped about her total until it is revealed at the organization’s board of directors meeting tomrrow, her mother Lottie said that she more than doubled her expectations.

“We’re really surprised, happy and proud that she wanted to help other people,” Lottie Medvit said. “She gets really excited about it.”

That excitement carried into Saturday with Carmen beaming when telling of her future birthday plans. Inspired by her brother’s military aspirations, she hopes to raise money for injured veterans or the Officer Jerry McCarthy scholarship fund.

“I’ll probably do it again next year,” she said. “I’d tell other kids to do this, too.”

Other kids may already be taking note. According to her mother, a few of Carmen’s friends already followed her example by giving up their birthday presents for charity as well.