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This article was published 11/4/2012 (1954 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
ELEVEN-year-old Denice Villanueva's artwork stands out from her classmates' chalk drawings.
"I'm allergic to chalk," she says, looking critically at her oil pastel of a dove flying above a red rose on a rainbow-coloured backdrop. "I like the rose; I feel like it matched the theme."
The theme is Hope and Courage, and while Denice can change her artistic medium to avoid sniffling allergies, the children she's drawn the picture for are fighting terminal illnesses.
The Clifton School student's artwork has been selected by her Grade 5 teacher, Antonio Di Geronimo, to be sold in the second annual Starlight Art Auction, a countrywide auction of children's original artwork benefiting the Starlight Foundation.
The international foundation raises money to provide entertainment, education and family activities for children living with chronic life-threatening illnesses or injuries that have altered their life.
Denice's is one of 12 pieces of artwork Clifton School is sending away to be sold, but all students in grades four to six took part in the project.
Their only instruction was to incorporate a dove with the theme but out of it, they grasped how their art makes a difference.
"They use the money to help sick kids," said Fong Ma, 10, who later said he's never seen a "sick child" before.
A poster on "how to build a global community" greets students as they enter the classroom, and Di Geronimo hopes the kids understand their connection to others.
"A lot of it is citizenship, how we can connect to others," Di Geronimo said. "I tell them we're building a community here, Canada, and the world."
And while Grade 4 student Stefi Remonte couldn't explain what being a "global citizen" meant, she could talk about how the project made her feel.
"I'm happy that I get to help somebody," she said.
The profits of the auction are shared between the foundation and the participating school; Di Geronimo said the money Clifton raises goes back into creating projects for the kids.
The national art auction takes place online at starlightartproject.org and bidding runs from May 28 until June 8. Anyone interested can search based on schools; bidding on artwork starts at $25.