Portlanders doing good
by: Courtesy of Kusewera Children in Malawi get a boost from the nonprofit Kusewera, which helps promote healthy play. They'll hold a Portland fundraiser
Saturday, April 23.

Halfway around the world, kids are in need of sports equipment and afterschool programs.

Malawi, one of the world's poorest nations, has close to a million orphans due to a nationwide famine in 2004 and the HIV/AIDS and malaria outbreaks.

Portland native Karen Osborn founded the nonprofit Kusewera Foundation to help children in African orphanages and communities through active play. The group will hold a fundraiser Saturday, complete with celebrities, pro athletes and sports models. There will be a silent auction, raffle, music, food and drink, and face painting for kids.

The event is from 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday, April 23, at Oaks Park Pavilion.

For tickets and information, visit .

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Harrison Park School, Portland Public Schools' largest, most diverse K-8 school, is trying to fill a $4,000 gap in funding for a new play structure.

The school grew to serve more than 700 students when Clark Elementary and Binnsmead Middle School merged a few years ago during the district's K-8 reconfiguration.

The school's current playground is meant to accommodate 125 students, and kindergartners must trek through the entire school to get to it. A second playground would serve another 250 to 300 students.

School staff and volunteers last year obtained a $25,000 Pepsi Refresh grant, plus additional funding for the $60,000 project. But just when they collected enough, they were faced with a $10,000 gap because of unanticipated costs.

During the past six months, the school community has raised $6,000 of that through small donations, and is looking for the public's help in raising the rest.

Volunteers are needed to help build the structure during two days in early June. They also could use some food and support, organizers say.

To help, visit .

• • •

Thirty Portland-area artists will converge next weekend for an equally sobering cause: relief for Japan.

Shihomi Seki, a student from Japan at Portland State University, is helping to organize a charity art exhibition and auction along with three other students.

'We are pretty sure it would be a great chance to send out a message to them: We are with you, Japan,' he says.

In addition to art, there will be a Japanese tea ceremony and Japanese flower arrangement session. Donations are suggested. All proceeds and donations will go to Japan relief, through Mercy Corps.

For more information, visit the website, .

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