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Teen looks to better world

Philanthropist reaches out to families while launching career

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POSTED: December 27, 2010 8:49 a.m.
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Charlotte Foxx signs an autograph for a fan at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah during a March of Dimes partnership event with her charity, Bundles for Babies. Foxx is the spokesperson for the Georgia March of Dimes foundation.

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Thirteen-year-old Charlotte Foxx has a lot going on in her life.
Between balancing online class work, launching a music career and founding a national charity called Bundles for Babies, the list of things the young Liberty County resident can do appears endless — even mind-boggling. 
Her charity, Bundles for Babies, partnered with March of Dimes in 2008 to help provide education and resources for families who have premature babies. Donations from Savannah to Nashville, Tenn., and many places in between have poured into the charity.
“With this charity, we want to comfort the families,” Foxx said. “I also want to make young teenagers aware of prematurity so they are prepared for when they are ready to have children. We also provide bundles of little blankets and gifts for the families who are basically living out of the hospital and things like that, just to help them and make them feel like there is hope and people who can help them.”
As an 11-year-old, Foxx founded the charity based on a personal experience that impacted her family.
Foxx’s mother, Samone Norsworthy, lost one premature child before Charlotte was born.
Faith Terese, who would have been the oldest of Norsworthy’s children, was born at 24 weeks. She weighed just 1 pound and survived for only five hours.
Norsworthy also had Georgia, Charlotte and then Tillman, who was born 10 weeks premature and weighed 3 pounds.
“It was terrifying because I had gone through it before. Every single day it was a struggle,” Norsworthy said while trying to hold back tears. “I think it had a profound impact on both Charlotte and her sister. I remember Charlotte saying, ‘He’s smaller than my baby doll.’”
As Foxx watched her little brother struggle for life during his first year — he was put on oxygen and needed several blood transfusions — she said she felt hopelessness overwhelm her.
“We were all just hoping and praying that he would get better,” she said. She remembered the pain her family endured with Tillman and wanted to ensure that other families in the same situation would not feel alone.
“It is very heartbreaking to talk about it with them, but that’s one of the reasons I wanted to start this charity and, of course, for my younger brother who was premature,” Foxx said. “I feel like he’s an example; you can overcome it and you can grow out of it and it’s going to be OK.”
As a result, she founded the nonprofit organization and often goes to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah to visit with families. Her group donates blankets, clothing and other items as a show of support.
As for her inspiration, Tillman, now 8, is full of energy and healthy as can be. “Ever since he hit the 1-year mark, he’s been great,” Norsworthy said.
When she’s not logging hours with her charity, the teen philanthropist is also a singer, dancer and actress who has lived in New York and Los Angeles.
She trained professionally with a Rockette while in New York, and also worked with music producers and others in the industry to build her image as an artist. When she starts touring next year, Foxx plans to link her foundation to concert events as a way to boost donations.
“I’ve already had some performances where all the proceeds go to the March of Dimes, which I’ve partnered with my charity, or to Bundles to Babies so I can donate to these smaller hospitals across the state because I’ve already been to some major hospitals,” Foxx said. “I want to get to the smaller hospitals that may not be as popular or may not have as much money.” 
Even though she just finished taping her first music video, “One More,” in Atlanta and her singles will debut in 2011, Foxx insists she will stay grounded. She doesn’t plan to become the next Miley Cyrus.
Sometimes, she said, her career seems surreal, but mostly, it is just a business for her — something she is good at.
“I always loved theater because I could be someone else, but I could always put my own little spin on it — the little Charlotte spin of my own little character,” Foxx said. “It is just crazy to think about and it is crazy all my dreams have come true. Sometimes I just get inspiration from the craziest things.”
If Foxx’s music career doesn’t pan out like she hopes, she already has two back-up plans. Since she has always loved science, Foxx would pursue a career in environmental science or marine biology.
“My dreams are coming true — I’ve recorded. I don’t really care how far the songs go or I don’t care if they’re No. 1 or No. 100,” she said. “I don’t care where they end up, I don’t care how much money they make. I just care that I’ve done what I’ve wanted to accomplish and that’s record and put my songs out there for the world to hear.”
But at the end of the day, the teenager said what makes her life meaningful and makes her hard work worthwhile is seeing the families she touches with her charity.
“Seeing their faces after I’ve helped them in any way, I can see that they really appreciate it and even if they don’t respond, I don’t want a ‘thank you,’ I just need to see their face — and their face says it all,” she said. “Their face says a thousand words and I know that I’m helping them, which is amazing that I’ve walked out of there changing a life in some way.”   Bundles for Babies is also chartered in seven states and four countries. Donations may be made through the organization’s Facebook page or at www.bundlesforbabies.weebly.com.

 

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