Community Center bazaar features crafty ‘Student Ambassador’

See how this East Portland Community Center has grown – and learn how you can help a young man fulfill his dream of representing the USA overseas …

More than fifty crafty vendors filled three rooms at the Community Center with gift ideas of all kinds.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
One of the delights of dropping in at events, such as the East Portland Community Center’s 7th Annual Holiday Christmas Bazaar, is the unexpected discovery of delightful stories.

We met the coordinators of the bazaar, Judy Collier and her sister, Barbara Aden; they said hello when we passed their tables. “The proceeds from the table rental and the raffle go to the children’s scholarship fund at the center,” Collier reminded us.

Annika Duyvestein gets a balloon from Master Twister Josh Thompson at the Community Center’s Holiday Christmas Bazaar.

“Some kids can’t afford to pay for primary classes or for sports activities here at the center. There are a lot of low income families in the area; these scholarships allow them to participate,” she said. “Counting this year, our total donations for the seven years we’ve been doing this be over $10,000.”

Carver Bolles, Vestal Elementary student, shows off one of his crafts he’s selling at the East Portland Community Center Bazaar to raise funds for his People to People Student Ambassador mission next summer

The special story we found at the Bazaar
When we toured this year’s late November event, one of the 57 vendors we met was a young man named Carver Bolles, a 5th grade Vestal Elementary student.

In a clear, professional voice, Bolles said, “I’m making and selling crafts to raise money to help me go on a ‘People to People Student Ambassador’ program next summer.”

Bolles told us that President Eisenhower started the program “Kids from schools from across the country get to go to other countries to study and learn how their government works.”

We learned that the founding of the program, inaugurated in 1956, was based on President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s belief that ordinary citizens of different nations, if able to communicate directly, would solve their differences and find a way to live in peace. Since 1963, the People to People Student Ambassador Program has taken thousands of students across international borders, to connect with people all over the world.

“I was nominated for the program, and got letters of recommendation from two teachers and an adult. Then I went to an interview, and I was accepted. I’ll go to Italy and Greece next summer.”

Portrait of a future ambassador
We probed to learn more about this enterprising young man, and discovered his favorite subject school subjects are math, science, and not surprisingly, world geography. As a 5th grader he does not receive letter grades yet but he does receive mostly all + which is the same as A’s.
Outside of school, Bolles loves to play football and baseball.  He is a very good skier as well.

When we followed up to see how his fundraising is going, Bolles said he’s done pretty well at the two craft fairs at which he’s participated. He’s currently selling raffle tickets for a beautiful Christmas quilt, and has put together a 50-recipe cookie cook book for sale.

With a little help from his mom, Carver Bolles, had this wide range of Christmas items on display at the Bazaar hoping to raise money for his trip.

You can help:
Although he’s working diligently, raising about $4,000 is a big job for a 10-year-old. “I don’t have my own [fundraising] web site set up yet, but I might do that,” Bolles told us.

His mom, Shawna, told us that people can send donation checks, made payable to “People to People”, to Carver Bolles, 311 SE 74th Ave, Portland, Or 97215.
To learn more about the Student Ambassador program, go to

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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