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A sweet fundraiser
by Sarah Cooper
Mar 20, 2009 | 738 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<a href=>Tribune/Debra Reid</a> - Krystyl Martinez will celebrate her 16th birthday on Saturday with a charity ball to benefit the "For Kids Foundation".
Tribune/Debra Reid - Krystyl Martinez will celebrate her 16th birthday on Saturday with a charity ball to benefit the "For Kids Foundation".
Reed High School sophomore Krystyl Martinez's sweet 16 birthday party will be held at a hotel with two bands, a DJ and lavish gifts. But none of it will be for her.

The 16-year-old's birthday bash will be a fund-raiser for a local charity, the For Kids Foundation.

"I hope I can help at least one person," Martinez said.

The idea came on an idle evening while the student was watching TV with her mom. MTV's show "My Sweet Sixteen" came on, showing the opulent 16th birthday parties of the rich and famous. As the girls on the show basked in their million-dollar bashes, Martinez thought she should be better than the “snobs.”

More than 30 phone calls later and after rounds of knocking on doors, Martinez had managed to collect a few raffle prizes as well as the attention of some local bands.

Krystyl's Sweet 16 Charity Birthday Ball will kick off Saturday at 6 p.m. and feature local bands Days11 and Vengeance Never Dies as well as mixed music from DJ Theta. Somewhere in the midst of the dancing and catered food, Martinez will raffle off several prizes donated by local businesses. Some of the prizes include ski passes to Mount Rose Ski Resort, themed gift baskets put together by the birthday girl, posters, crystal bowls and a clock. Martinez also has a poster of dogs playing cards that may be included in an auction later that night.

"This is so wonderful," said Paula Nielsen, executive director of the For Kids Foundation. "She called us and we said that we would be honored. Our funding comes from donations ... so every penny counts."

Martinez contacted the organization several months ago looking for charities that keep their donated money in the local community.

"We haven't had to do anything at all," Nielsen said. "She has taken care of all of it."

The For Kids Foundation was founded six years ago by Nielsen's husband Earl Nielsen. The charity's mission is to provide assistance to any child who cannot get help from another organization or their own insurance.

"We catch the kids who fall through the cracks," Nielsen said.

Examples of the foundation's charity work include paying for school fees for low-income students who need to attend summer school in order to graduate. It also has helped cancer patients after their insurance has run out.

"(Other charities and insurance) can only help with a patient who is diagnosed," Nielsen said. "But once they have finished their treatment, they sometimes need glasses or dental work. By that time, the parents have no more money."

According to Nielsen, all of the donated money stays in northern Nevada.

"I wanted the money to stay in this community," Martinez said.

When she told her friends about the charity birthday ball, Martinez said that almost all were enthusiastic about the idea.

"She thinks of everyone before she thinks of herself," said Cheyenne Dunham, a fellow Reed High student and Martinez's friend. "She is so awesome."

Krystyl's Sweet 16 Charity Birthday Ball

Saturday, March 21, 6-10 p.m.

Holiday Inn, 55 E.Nugget Ave.

Tickets: $10

All proceeds go to the For Kids Foundation

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