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BellyWashers wants you
Two Pinellas County boys are on the Kids Board of the popular drinkmaker, helping to make a difference in their communities.
By HAYLEY GERMACK
Published April 5, 2004
Alexander Chase DiMura
BellyWashers, the drinkmaker that put Spider-Man and the Powerpuff Girls atop their bottles, searched the entire country looking for kids who want to make a difference in their communities to sit on its Kids Board.
They found 16 kids, two from Florida. But what are the odds they both would be from Pinellas County?
Derek Lavezzo and Alexander "Chase" DiMura defy the odds. They both love BellyWashers (Derek's favorite is Duel Delight; Alexander prefers Midnight Blue Planet Punch) and they want to do good things in their communities.
And as an added incentive, BellyWashers is giving each board member an opportunity to win a $5,000 scholarship.
For Derek, 11, the board has been an opportunity to do community work. Before joining the board last May, he didn't do much community work or volunteering. But as a board member, he has been making more contributions. In November, Derek made Christmas ornaments at the Salvation Army.
He currently is working on a project at Tampa General Hospital, cheering up young patients on their surgery day.
Derek, a sixth-grader at Dunedin Highlands Middle School, knows his teachers are proud of him and his contributions to the community. Dennis Juvinall, Derek's stepfather, describes him as "loving and caring." Juvinall says Derek is a boy who "likes to help others," Juvinall said.
Through hard work and a good plan to get others to participate in his projects, Derek hopes to land the scholarship. "Getting the prize is a great opportunity," he said. "A $5,000 scholarship will do great wonders for me."
Not so fast, says Alexander, who has been working on a few projects of his own to win that scholarship.
Alexander, 10, finished his first mission as a board member by traveling to Wimauma to work with the Good Samaritan Mission to cheer up the children of migrant workers. To do this, he sold BellyWashers donated by the company to kids at his school, First Lutheran School in Clearwater, and to kids in his neighborhood, who all chipped in when they found out about the cause.
On Dec. 12, he donated $500 of the money that he earned.
During his time on the board, Alexander has had the most fun with the migrant children. Although they couldn't speak English, "you could just communicate by looking at their eyes," said the fourth-grader. "(I love) to help out other people (who) are just like you but needy."
The Kids Board, say company officials, "is designed to give kids . . . a voice in the development of the business and fun, hands-on forum for learning how teamwork, leadership, creativity and good citizenship build successful businesses and successful people.
One of the most fun activities is taking surveys of other kids. Each board member must survey kids to get their opinion of new BellyWashers flavors. The member with the most kids on a completed survey wins a prize.
Alexander recently returned his survey with the most opinions on two new flavors: Booger Bob and Pukey Pattie. The characters sitting atop both drink flavors are revolting. For submitting the most opinions, Alexander won a Gooey Louie game.
On his application to become a board member, Alexander said that a big issue for kids is that they find it hard to get money for BellyWashers. Alexander suggested creating fun drinks half the size at a lower prize.
The makers of BellyWashers have released an 8-ounce version called TummyTicklers. They are in collectible and refillable plastic bottles with a tummylike curve. But they cost the same as a regular BellyWashers drink.
Carol DiMura, Alexander's mother, has noticed a slight change in her son since he joined the board. "(He has) an increased sense of self-confidence in him," she said. "He loves it that he is truly making a contribution and people are really listening to his ideas."
- Haley Germack, 15, is in ninth grade at St. Petersburg High.
You could be a BellyWashers kid
BellyWashers has begun its search for the 2004-05 BellyWashers Kids Board. Kids ages 8 to 12 will work with the BellyWashers marketing team and travel to Universal Studios Orlando for a summit board meeting in August. To enter, visit the BellyWashers.com Web site and print out a three-part application. You, your parent/legal guardian and your teacher each must submit a section. The application must be postmarked by June 15. Mail all three forms to BellyWashers Kids Board, IN ZONE Brands Inc., 7775 The Bluffs, Suite H, Austell, GA 30168. For information, call toll-free 1-877-875-8443, ext. 122. Winners will be selected in July.