Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

By Chris Collins


Students at South Baker Intermediate and Baker Middle School are busy preparing publicity posters for a fundraiser on Saturday, April 20 to benefit the Kids-Heal program at both schools.

The posters will be going up around town today.

The students have created posters advertising the fundraiser, which is scheduled from noon to 5 p.m. at Random Resales Riches at 2450 Cherry St. Everyone is invited.

In addition to raising money to support the Kids-Heal program, the event is designed to raise public awareness, said Frank Etxaniz, the program's founder.

"Cancer prevention sandwiches" will be on sale for $4 each. Participants will learn the health benefits of foods used to make the sandwiches, such as whole wheat bread, tomatoes, avocados, turkey, cheese, spinach and mustard. Other foods also will be available at the event.

After lunch, zumba exercise classes will be offered at 15-minute intervals, beginning at 12:30 p.m. for a $1 fee. Another $1 contribution will gain participants the opportunity to join in painting a 750-square-foot garden mural. Painters should dress appropriately.

In case of rain, the event will move to an indoor parking lot at the corner of Auburn Avenue and First Street, behind the Baker Tower.

Kids-Heal is a "Health Education Arts Laboratory," designed "to improve the physical and creative health of children in Oregon and Southwest Washington," Etxaniz says. He chose Baker City as the site to establish a prototype.

Etxaniz was drawn to the community by Isabella Evans, who he met while she was undergoing treatment for leukemia at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland.

Etxaniz was working in an artist-in-residence program at the hospital at the time.

Isabella is the daughter of Doug and Cherie Evans, who took over ownership of Random Resales in March. The business is serving as the "hub" for Kids-Heal in Baker City, Etxaniz says.

The program is being developed at South Baker and Baker Middle School because Isabella was a South Baker fifth- and sixth-grader when Etxaniz first met her. This year, she's a Baker Middle School seventh-grader.

Etxaniz hopes to expand to Brooklyn Primary School and Baker High School as the program continues.

He also says he chose Baker City for the project site because its schools provide a good sample size for developing a prototype.

This week, as part of the fundraiser, BHS students are being given the opportunity to support the program and to gain a luxury ride to the prom. Students may bid on six, eight-passenger limousine rides to and from one destination on prom night, April 20.

The Kids-Heal students will be adding their own artistic flair to the 25-foot limousine by painting it next week in preparation for the prom.

Bids for the prom-night rides, which start at $40, can be made by visiting this website: www.kids-heal.org/limo-auction.

Etxaniz explains on the kids-heal.org website that Kids-Heal is being designed to "help bridge the gap between the hospitalization of children and their return to school, between the needs of schools and the passion and skills of local volunteers waiting to be organized in cities around the state."

He expects the three-year pilot project to spread throughout the state to help communities form partnerships that will "create inclusive arts plus health-care learning opportunities."