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Philanthropic Hero Biography

Elmhurst, Illinois

After seeing news accounts of the refugee crisis in the Yugoslavian province of Kosovo, 10-year-old Gil Castellanos was alarmed. Immediately he began talking with his mother Laura about the effects of war and asked her what he could do. Laura told Gil to keep the refugees in his prayers-- Gil said that that was not enough.

Working with his 11-year old sister Ashley, 4-year-old brother Michael, and three children from two other families - Janet, Ray and Diane Barry and Taylor Thorpe, Gil created Simply from the Heart, a door to door effort to raise $1 from each resident of his hometown. Accompanied by parents, and under local supervision of The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, Simply from the Heart's six week effort raised $7,100 for Kosovar refugees.

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