Keanu Chan got $50 from the Huntington Beach Masonic Lodge for his philanthropic spirit and his willingness to give and help others. Then he turned around and gave it back for a good cause.
Keanu received the lodge's annual award given to eighth-graders for great academic improvements and for holding the values of the organization. Keanu was nominated by Principal Roni Ellis and his teachers.
However, the 14-year-old gave the check to his principal to add to the money that was being raised to donate to the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.
Keanu learned to help others before himself from his parents and said he donated his check because he felt that he didn't need the money more than the victims in Japan.
"I wanted to donate the money because I heard of all the devastation there," he said. "It feels like I did something good."
In about 10 days, $3,000 was raised by Keanu and the rest of the students at Marine View Middle School who are members of the California Junior Scholarship Federation, an organization that encourages volunteerism.
The money was matched by Sean Stanfield, one of the parents. Then an anonymous donor gave another $5,000, Ellis said.
The students and Ellis gave a check to the Red Cross on Friday in the amount of $11,271.57.
"We are very appreciative of all the spirit of philanthropy shown by all of our young people," said Suzanne White, a Red Cross grant writer, who accepted the check on behalf of the organization.
Alison Osbrink, 13, said she and the rest of the Junior Scholarship Federation members designed containers with American and Japanese flags, then distributed them throughout classrooms and asked students and teachers to put whatever they could in them. They emptied the containers every morning, and by the end, they had $3,000.
"Our goal was $1,000," said Chelsea Evans, 13. "We got $10,000 more than what we wanted. That's pretty good."
Aside from being able to put the Junior Scholarship Federation on their resumes and college applications, the students said it gives them the opportunity to help others.
"It makes me feel good inside, knowing that I helped someone in need," said eighth-grader Kyra Anderson.