SOURCE: Compassion International

January 18, 2008 13:48 ET

Teen's Christmas-Light Show Earns More Than $2,000 for Compassion

Liberty Senior Turns Over Proceeds to Help Victims of Peru Earthquake

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO--(Marketwire - January 18, 2008) - Joe Damewood, a 17-year-old senior at Liberty High School, designed a sophisticated Christmas-light show to earn money for Compassion International. He will sign over the $2,053 in proceeds to representatives for the Christian child-sponsorship organization Tuesday, January 22 at 4:30 p.m.

"Joe represents all that is good in our young people today," said Mark Hanlon, senior vice president of Compassion's sponsor and donor development division. "It's exciting to see someone his age take the initiative to help children who are suffering in some of the worst conditions you can imagine. Joe sets an example for all -- young and old -- that you can make a difference in battling poverty. Compassion is honored and grateful to be the recipient of his admirable effort, and believes it will inspire others to follow suit."

Damewood, who works at a local fast-food restaurant, spent about $2,000 of his own money on 24,000 lights, 1,500 feet of extension cords and a software program to coordinate the light show to music. The 13 1/2-minute show ran four times hourly from 6-10 p.m. Nov. 20-Jan. 4 at his home in Colorado Springs.

He began planning the light show about six months before Christmas and spent 50-60 hours putting it up with the help of his friend, Allen Krauss. He asked visitors to donate to Compassion if they could. Damewood said he wasn't trying to make a profit. He just wanted to find a way to support a cause he believed in. He was impressed with how many people came out to see the display.

"I was overwhelmed and happy with the turnout," he said. "There were times I'd look out my window and see scores of cars lined around my house."

Damewood, who sponsors a nine-year-old boy in Colombia through Compassion, decided to put the money in the ministry's Peru Earthquake Response Fund after learning that his church, Chapel Hills Baptist Church, is planning a youth group mission trip to Peru this summer through Compassion.

Compassion is one of the world's largest Christian child-development organizations, working with more than 65 denominations, 4,000 indigenous church partners and 900,000 children in Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Since 1952, Compassion has touched the lives of more than 1.6 million children and has been recognized for its financial integrity with top ratings and recommendations by several of the nation's leading not-for-profit "watchdog" organizations.

For information on sponsoring a child, visit Compassion online at www.compassion.com or call (800) 336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST.

NOTE TO EDITORS: To schedule an interview with Mark Hanlon and Joe Damewood, please contact Steve Yount of A. Larry Ross Communications at 972-267-1111 or steve@alarryross.com.

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