Last updated: February 20. 2013 3:46AM - 370 Views

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Dallas Middle School sixth-grade students learned about an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others on their birthdays during a special assembly Jan. 14 in the school auditorium.

Richie Kraus, a seventh-grade student at Wyoming Seminary and founder of the 2u Fund: So Every Child Can Have a Happy Birthday, spoke about the history of the program and how to get involved.

At the beginning, Kraus asked students, What are your favorite things about your birthdays? Answers ranged from cake to presents to parties.

Afterwards, student Zach Palfey said his favorite thing to do on his birthday is get with family and friends and party.

Kraus explained when he was 6 years old, he helped his school collect Christmas presents for underprivileged children. He recalled asking his mother, What do poor kids do on their birthdays?

It was that thought that inspired the 2u Fund, which Kraus founded at age 7.

He explained the 2u Fund works by providing stickers through the Luzerne Foundation to children for use on their birthday party invitations. The stickers request that instead of gifts, invitees make small donations to the fund.

It's really easy, he told the assembly. Anyone can do it - even you.

Now 12, Kraus will soon celebrate his bar mitzvah, a coming-of-age ceremony in the Jewish religion, and is promoting participation in the 2u Fund as part of his mitzvah, or good deed project.

His spiritual leader, Rabbi Roger Lerner, of Temple B'nai B'rith in Kingston, introduced Kraus at the beginning of the assembly, speaking briefly to the students about what Jewish education is like.

After his speech, Kraus answered several questions from students about the fund and how to get involved. He also left information cards to be distributed within the homerooms. He said additional information may be found on the website, 2ufund.org.

Students Ethan Zawatski and Emily Farrell each expressed interest in the 2u Fund and said they would consider getting involved.

Zawatski said he thought Kraus did well speaking and the 2u Fund is a great thing to do for the community.

Farrell agreed, saying, I think it's a wonderful idea for the community to work together.

Zawatski added that, in the past, he helped with a different community service which provides food to families for Thanksgiving. He likes the idea of doing something for children for their birthdays because it's something different.

I think it's a very original idea, he said, and I would definitely think about participating.

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