Roller skating parties are more often associated with disco balls, "shooting the duck" and birthday celebrations than global awareness. But next Sunday, Skateland in Bradford will host a fun roller skating event that will also raise money for charity.
The Kids for Haiti Roller Skating Fundraiser will take place at Skateland, 19 Railroad Ave. in Bradford on Sunday, Feb. 21, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is $7 and skate rentals are $3. Tickets will be sold at the door.
All the proceeds will go to the American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund.
The event was thought up by 10-year-old Emma Chatson of North Andover.
"When I first heard about what happened to Haiti, I was shocked," Emma said. "So were my friends and everyone at my school. My friends and I were talking and we thought, why not do a fundraiser?' They need money and we can help."
The idea didn't come as a surprise to Emma's parents, George and Kim Chatson. At her young age, she has already performed a number of selfless and charitable acts.
A few years ago, Emma grew out her hair, cut it and donated the pony tail to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides wigs for financially disadvantaged people under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from cancer and other diseases. For her last birthday, Emma asked her guests to donate to the adaptive dance program through Children's Hospital Boston and the Boston Ballet in lieu of presents.
"It makes my wife and me proud as parents," said George Chatson, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. "We're very pleased to see that our children may have been influenced by our family's charitable work and mission work. We've been trying to instill in them to care for people who need help in our town, the town over, or anywhere else in the world."
With Emma's idea and energy for the event, the skating fundraiser quickly became a Chatson family project.
Through e-mails, by placing fliers around the area, and through word of mouth, the Chatsons hope to make Emma's roller skating fundraiser a success. Their church family at the Free Christian Church in Andover has also helped spread the word.
"It was both hard and fun," Emma said of the organizing process. "After we made the posters, we put a lot of effort into thinking, 'What do we do now?'"
Emma and her little brother David have even put together a special playlist of songs for the event, including songs like "Replay" by Iyaz and "I've Gotta Feeling" by The Black Eyed Peas.
Emma hopes plenty of people will come out Sunday night.
"All the people I've talked to have really good hearts, so I think a lot of people might come," she said. "Please come to help out our brothers and sisters in Haiti. They really need our help. Imagine if it that was you who needed help."