AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’“We know there’s an imagination in there trying to get out,” Kevin told me that night 11 years ago. “We’re hoping that when Matt sees the person signing at story time, he’ll understand and let that imagination run free.” Matt’s 16 now. And that year he spent at weekly sign-language story times did help his parents find that key, the Moores say today. “It definitely helped Matt start to connect the dots and get that imagination out,” Kevin said. Kevin and Pat were talking about that long-ago experience after dinner a few months ago while 10-year-old Madison played nearby with her brother. Madison listened to every word as her parents went on to talk about the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation, which works to find the myriad causes of severe birth defects, and which is holding its biennial conference in Los Angeles next year. There were just the three of them in 1995 – Kevin and Pat Moore, with 5-year-old Matt – sitting in the children’s section of Northridge Library and waiting for story time to begin. Madison hadn’t been born yet, but Pat could feel the baby inside kicking – again. Their daughter was going to be a real fighter, she joked to Kevin. It was the first night the Los Angeles Public Library system was offering a story time in sign language so kids like Matt, who was born deaf and was learning to sign, could be included. The night was important for the Moores. They were looking for a key to help unlock some of the mysteries inside their young son’s mind. Dozens of renowned doctors and experts will be there sharing their research and findings. It was too bad, the Moores said, that so many parents from around the country would be unable to attend because they couldn’t afford the trip. Even with the best medical insurance, the Moores knew, families with children suffering from severe birth defects often live hand to mouth. “I want to help,” Madison interrupted. “I’ll open a lemonade stand or have a carwash for them.” Her parents smiled. That’s nice, honey, they told her. You keep at it. The $10 or $20 she could make at that lemonade stand would help. But the little girl with the big imagination did the math and figured it out for herself: 20 bucks doesn’t go very far. A few days later, she walked into the kitchen and hit her parents with a brainstorm. “When I’m home, you let me earn extra money doing chores,” Madison said. “What if hundreds or even thousands of kids did chores for their parents and neighbors for charity?” The little ones could help set the table, clear the dishes and get the mail. The older ones could take care of pets, wash the car, vacuum or mow the neighbor’s lawn. You get enough kids doing enough chores, and who knows how many families you could fly to L.A. or help in some other charity? “Kevin and I just looked at each other, smiled and nodded,” Pat said. “She was right. It could work.” So, that’s what Madison and her mom were doing last Saturday at the Granada Hills street fair – standing in front of the Rotary Club of Granada Hills booth, handing out fliers and talking to parents and kids about a great idea. It made a lot of sense to dozens of parents who stopped to talk. It also made sense to Cleveland and Miller High in Reseda, where Matt is a student, to sign on to Chores-4-Charity as a service learning project. It made sense to several local churches and charities, and to dozens of people who have already checked out Madison’s Web site – www.chores-4-charity.com. And, finally, it made sense to the Los Angeles Public Library system, which has invited the Moores to distribute and post their fliers at all branches citywide. It turns out that Pat Moore was right 11 years ago while she sat with her husband and son in the children’s section of Northridge Library and waited for story time to begin in sign language. Her daughter was going to be a real fighter. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. firstname.lastname@example.org (818) 713-3749160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!