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LOS ALTOS, Calif. (KGO) -- A 7-year-old girl in the South Bay heard the Monterey Bay Aquarium was in need of donations and decided to launch a fundraising campaign by creating fun interactive calendars for children.

"It makes me feel like, we needed to help them and find someway to do that," said Ava MacDonald, creator of Otterly Rainbows.

Ava was introduced to sea otters by her first-grade teacher who shared the love for the marine mammal with her class.

"I love otters so much because they're adorable and I think they are so playful," said Ava. "Monterey Bay has this little otter hole and I love to play peek-a-boo with them."

Ava has frequently visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium since the age of two and during the coronavirus lockdown she has become a devoted watcher of the Aquarium's live sea otter cam.
While she was watching the live cam, Ava noticed a donate button to support the aquarium's animal care and maintenance.

"Ava became an otterly lover of sea otters. She just started to read and noticed the little button that said donate now, said Amber MacDonald, Ava's mother. "I read the paragraph to her that the Monterey Bay Aquarium has been closed for so many months and we don't know when it is going to open again. Yet, all the animals still needed care until they can get back open."

RELATED: East Bay 6-year-old girl makes bracelets to raise money to help save Oakland Zoo


Ava started to brainstorm creative ways to raise money to help the Monterey Bay Aquarium especially the Sea Otter Program. But this isn't the first time Ava has started a fundraiser to help others. At family gatherings, she would set up a lemonade stand to raise money for the local zoo's flamingo exhibit and a special book bench for her first-grade classroom.

"Since we have been home, she has been entertaining herself by making her own crafts or coming up with her own science activities, said Ava's mom. "She went through a lot of business ideas. We were brainstorming and trying to think of things she really loves to do that other kids could also do."

Ava decided to combine her love of celebrating national holidays, creating crafts, STEM activities, sea otters and rainbows into a calendar called Otterly Rainbows.

"We came up with ideas based around holidays, there are four to five craft activities and another two being science activities," said Ava's mom. "We thought it was such a good way to be able to (keep) kids busy during this and also to give back to a program that really needs help right now."
A purchase of the calendar includes online access to how-to videos, instructions and supply lists for each activity.

RELATED: 10-year-old East Bay girl launches art fundraiser to provide meals for frontline workers battling COVID-19

"All our proceeds are going to Monterey Bay Aquarium," said Ava. "The Sea Otter Rescue is really struggling right now. They need money to pay their staff to help all the sea otters and other animals and that's why we are donating all the money to Monterey Bay. I hope people buy my calendar so we can help save all the sea otters."

ABC7 Better Bay Area: Project Thanks is a way to share some of your thanks-and to help uplift the thousands of people working to keep our communities safe and cared for.

Take a look at how some people are saying thanks:

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  • Customers raise over $90,000 for Gilroy Donut House family dealing with health, economic crisis


If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here

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Celeb-loved Hamptons spot transforms into a lavish WELLNESS retreat

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Suspect ‘extremely apologetic’ after attempted kidnapping of Joe Montana’s grandchild in Malibu

By Andrew Dalton | The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — A 39-year-old woman was charged Tuesday in what authorities say was an attempted kidnapping of the 9-month-old granddaughter of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana from his Southern California home.

Sodsai Predpring Dalzell of Los Angeles pleaded not guilty in LA County court to felony counts of attempted kidnapping of a child under 14 and burglary.

“Miss Dalzell is extremely apologetic and is very well concerned about the well-being of the family,” Dalzell’s attorney Ayinde Jones said outside of court. “She understands the harm that this has caused the family, friends and also fans of the Montana family. So our heart goes out to them.”

The 64-year-old Montana told sheriff’s deputies that the girl was asleep Saturday in a playpen in his house in Malibu when a woman he did not know entered and picked up the child.

Montana and his wife, Jennifer, confronted her, tried to deescalate the situation and asked her to give back the baby, authorities said.

After a brief struggle, Jennifer Montana pried the girl away, and Dalzell fled from the home, authorities said. She was later arrested nearby.

No one was hurt.

Jones said he plans to present a credible defense, “focused on ensuring that Miss Dalzell gets the help that she may need.”

The attorney said he has “no hindsight, no clue as yet on why she did what she did, only that she is very apologetic. She has told me over and over again that she understands the harm that she has caused. As a parent myself, I can only imagine the pain that it has caused the Montana family.”

Dalzell’s bail was set at $200,000 and she was told to return to court Oct. 20. She could get eight years in prison if convicted as charged. She has no previous criminal record.

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“Scary situation, but thankful that everybody is doing well,” the former San Francisco 49ers star tweeted on Sunday.

Montana played 13 years of his 15 year-career with the 49ers, who won four Super Bowls with him as starting quarterback. He retired in 1994 after two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.

He and Jennifer Montana, a philanthropist and former model, have been married since 1985 and have four adult children. It is not clear which of the children is the girl’s parent.

 

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