‘Builders Club’ at Coral Springs Charter School Raises $1,000 for Families in Need

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Builders Club secretary Mackenzie and member, Bella, make the $1,000 donation to Officer Gasper [photo by Jeffrey Marsman]

By: Jen Russon

A middle school club, led by four eighth grade officers and their adviser, Jeffrey Marsman, got into the holiday spirit early this year by raising $1,000 for families in need.

Mackenzie Maniscalco, club secretary, said the money fed families whose children attend Coral Springs Charter School over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The fundraiser was made possible by collecting items for two large gift baskets, part of a November raffle.

“The recipients of our fundraiser are anonymous. The police department handled distribution of the funds,” said Maniscalco.

Maniscalco’s classmates and fellow officers, Gianna Weingard, Riley Floyd, and Jeeya Patel, partnered with the Coral Springs Police Community Outreach Department to create a list of beneficiaries for their fundraiser.

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Builder's Club

Builder’s Club Officers

She added the fundraising was handled 100 percent virtually, via a site called My School Bucks, culminating in the handing off a $1,000 cashier’s check to school resource officer, Brian Gasper.

The fundraiser required more than just multiple Zoom meetings; it also demanded creativity during a time when social distancing makes philanthropy on this scale a real challenge.

Builders Club officers agreed that deciding what to put in the gift baskets was the hardest part, despite it being gratifying and fun.

“We had to be really flexible when it came to donations, but in the end, it all went much better than we expected. We sold lots and lots of raffle tickets,” said Patel, one of the officers.

The baskets contained items such as gift cards to the Pepperoni Grill, which one of the officer’s parents, Gianna Weingard, owns.

Weingard said students whose parents are teachers donated fancy stationery materials. Others brought in gift cards for movies and added a little popcorn, rounding it out with a fun and valuable basket.

Builders Club adviser and business teacher Jeffrey Marsman said the students impressed everyone with their resilience as COVID-19 prevented them from ever once meeting in person.

“Theirs is really a story about creativity, resourcefulness, and persistence in overcoming challenges posed by the pandemic. These young women are amazing, and the whole school is proud of them,” said Marsman.

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