Bieber fever boosts charity

Cape teen Lia Naselli organizes fundraising effort
Lia Naselli holds a poster encouraging people to donate to Pencils of Promise. BY MELISSA STEELE
January 1, 2013

Lia Naselli has Bieber fever - and she's using it for a good cause.

The Cape High ninth-grader is a huge fan of pop singer Justin Bieber, who supports Pencils of Promise, an organization formed to help build and fund schools in needy parts of the world.

Bieber recently challenged high schoolers to raise money for the organization, promising to visit the high school that raises the most money. That's all Lia needed to hear.

Motivated by the possibility Bieber would visit Cape High, she created a fundraising site to raise money for the cause.

"I've never done anything with charity before, but I thought this was a good idea," she said. "We want to strive for the big prize."

It's a great cause that Lia, 15, said she discovered through a Twitter feed by Adam Braun, the brother of Justin Bieber's manager.

Braun started the organization in 2008 after backpacking in Asia; he describes its inception on his website While hiking in India, he says, he asked a begging child what the child wanted most in the world. The child's response: a pencil.

"At Pencils of Promise, we focus on building strong structures and sustainable education programs. By forming long-lasting, collaborative relationships with communities, we increase access to quality education and positively impact students and parents in high-need communities throughout Laos, Nicaragua, and Guatemala," Braun writes on his website.

With Bieber's support, Braun said his organization hopes to raise money for children's education. For every $25 donated, Lia said, Cape will earn a ticket placed in a lottery drawing for the Justin Bieber appearance. The winning school wins the appearance - other top earners will be flown to the winning school to participate in the festivities, she said.

"The more lottery tickets, the bigger the chance to win," Lia said.

So far, Cape has 36 tickets and has raised $915. As an added bonus, Barnes and Noble has pledged to match every $1 raised before Dec. 31.

Most of the money donated at Cape's website has come from Lia's family, but she said she intends to expand the reach with a matinee showing of "Pitch Perfect" from 1-4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 13, at Movies at Midway. Tickets are $5 each, and proceeds will go to the fundraiser, Lia said.

The top fundraiser as of Dec. 26 had raised nearly $6,000, according to the website.

Thursday, Jan. 31 is the last day to donate money.

To donate to the fundraiser, go to


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