Many young people want someday to have an impact on the community in which they live, but Brainerd native Lana Rogers isn’t waiting until she’s grown up. She’s ready to make an difference now.
Just as she was finishing up the school year late last spring, Lana, 14, decided she wanted to do something over the summer that would raise money for a worthy cause.
“I’ve always just kind of enjoyed doing fundraisers,” she said.
The high school freshman decided, with the help of family and friends, to organize a garage sale — a massive garage sale. Lana started planning out her endeavor early in the summer, even soliciting help from the community on The Pulse Christian Radio station.
Lana said the sale, held at Crow Wing Town Hall, drew donations from more than 50 area families.
“People from all over helped,” she said.
“We filled both buildings (of the Town Hall),” said Lana’s mom, Ginny Rogers.
Volunteers for the sale even included Lana’s 84-year-old grandmother, who was just weeks away from having hip replacement surgery but wanted to help in her granddaughter’s cause.
“She was running around like everyone else — for three days,” said Ginny.
The three-day sale, held in mid-August, raised just under $2,000.
“I was pretty surprised. It was more than I thought it was going to be,” Lana said. “I thought it was going to be, at the most, $1,000.”
Ginny said the remaining donations filled four pick-up trucks and were donated to disabled veterans.
Lana said the money raised will go to help support Lakes Area Pregnancy Support Center in Brainerd, a cause near to her heart.
“I really like what they stand for,” she said. “They offer help to mothers who really need it.”
Lakes Area Pregnancy Support Center helps women dealing with crisis pregnancy. LAPS director, Terri Hopman, said the organization is life-affirming and does not refer or perform abortions.
Hopman said Lana’s desire to do something gave her a lot of hope for the younger generation.
“I was so encouraged,” she said. “To see that a teenager would be so concerned — even about her peers who are often affected by these issues — and to go through great lengths to help.
“It was a great idea.”
Hopman said LAPS receives no government funding and relies solely on the giving of individuals.
Ginny Rogers, who serves on the board for LAPS, said the money raised will help purchase items including cribs, diapers and car seats that parents can earn from the organization’s “Incentive Room” by attending parenting classes at LAPS.
Lana said the success of the fundraiser was beyond what she had hoped for and she plans to continue the new tradition next year.
In addition to her knack for raising support for community organizations, Lana is an aspiring musician, church volunteer and a home school student — a change Ginny said Lana made as a fourth-grader.
“It was all her idea,” she laughed. “I was shocked.”
Lana said she enjoys learning from home. In addition to the luxury of sleeping in some days she said her education gives her more flexibility in her schedule.
“It’s been a good thing,” she said. “You get to study what you want.”
SARAH NELSON KATZENBERGER may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5879.