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Massive fires in Australia motivate a new resident of America at Holy Family School to raise money here to help out

DAVID F. ASHTON - Holy Family Catholic School newcomer Georgia (left) holds one of the firefighter boots filled with donations destined to help those affected by the massive wildfires in her native Australia - here, accompanied by students Ava, Alejandra, and Brooke.New to the United States – and a new student at Holy Family Catholic School in the Eastmoreland neighborhood – fourth-grader Georgia became very concerned about the unprecedented wildfires recently sweeping over her native Australia.

"My family and I moved to the United States about two months ago," Georgia told THE BEE. "When we left, it was the end of spring going into summer, so the fires hadn't started yet.

"After I left, the fires started coming – a lot of them," Georgia said. "There were 137 fires where our family and friends live, in New South Wales – a state on the east coast of Australia.

"I wanted to help by donating some money to the firemen for water, equipment, or supplies, so we held a 'Free Dress Friday for Firefighters' on January 17, and had help from older students who have been holding a 'Cans for Koalas' fundraiser," said Georgia.

Holy Family eighth grader Ava joined Georgia with her classmates, Alejandra, and Brooke, and chimed in, "In our class, we heard about the fires in Australia and adopted an endangered species, 'the Slow Loris'; some of the money we raised for it went to help the Australian firefighters."

During any "Free Dress Friday" at the Catholic school, students may come dressed in clothing other than their traditional school uniforms, Ava explained, and are encouraged to bring $1 or more as a donation for the privilege of dressing casually.

With the help of money donated by older students at the school, and their "Cans for Qualities" program, the Australian firefighters will receive more than $200.

"I'm grateful that my new 'school family' helped raise money for this cause," Georgia smiled.

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