WHITTIER — Giving young people a chance to participate in the earthquake disaster relief effort is the idea behind Sunday's Quake-a-Thon at the Whittier Community Center.
The event is designed to involve elementary and high school students in the area, but all residents may take part, said Al Mendez of the Whittier Human Service Department. The fund-raiser involves soliciting pledges for each hour spent dancing or rocking in a chair, for each lap walked or for each weight lifted.
In addition, high school students active in peer counseling groups and other psychological counselors will be in a room upstairs at the community center for anyone who wants to talk about the earthquake.
"My purpose isn't to raise a whole lot of money," Mendez said. "Part of the recovery factor is pitching in. . . . I felt the frustration factor of the kids asking, 'What do we get to do?' I want them to be able to look back in 10 or 15 years and say: 'I helped. It's not that hard to be part of the system.' "
The fund-raiser was originally planned as a dance-a-thon but was expanded to include several events at the request of other community members who wanted to participate, Mendez said. For instance, the Moose Lodge has taken on the rocking chair event as its project, he said.
Local disc jockeys have donated their services for dancers in the community center gymnasium. Fifteen rocking chairs will be in another room, the weight lifters will be downstairs and the walkers on an adjacent baseball field.
The maximum time for dancing and rocking is 2 1/2 hours. For walking, the maximum is one mile, and for weight lifting, 100 lifts.
Participants are asked to solicit pledges from 20 sponsors, who can pledge from $5 to $1,000. Forms are available at Whittier City Hall, and participants do not have to sign up in advance. Donations will go to the Whittier Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund and the American Red Cross.
The Quake-a-Thon will be held at the community center, 7630 S. Washington Ave., from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The toll-free number for donations is (800) 338-2535.
Also scheduled this weekend is the 34th Whittier Holiday Parade, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Hadley Street and Greenleaf Avenue. The parade, with actress Jenilee Harrison as grand marshal, will have about 100 entries, including floats, marching bands and cars.
"We're hoping to bring some people back into the area and let them know Uptown is where they can do their Christmas shopping," said Debbie Esparza, parade chairman and manager of Southern California Bank in Whittier.
The parade will avoid the uptown areas that are under demolition; it will move down Greenleaf to Bailey Street, east on Bailey to Painter Avenue, south on Painter to Penn Street, and west on Penn to end at Comstock Avenue.