By Jill Fox
Over the summer, three students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took their newfound free time to do something special for others.
After their summer internships were canceled due to COVID-19, seniors Roni Paz and Ariela Vaca, and junior Jaycie DeVona decided they wanted to help those in need.
“We didn’t want to just sit around and do nothing,” said Roni, “We all pitched in, and it took a few weeks to figure out what we wanted to do.”
The teens came up with a business creating homemade masks called “Masks With a Meaning,” where all of the money raised would be donated to SOS Children’s Village in South Florida.
“We wanted to help the children in our community that were struggling most,” said Ariela.
Jayce’s mother, Lisa, had some leftover fabric she was able to donate to the girls. Lisa is part of The Masketeers of Coral Springs and Parkland, which was formed during the pandemic to make homemade masks for first responders.
“Tie-dye was becoming more of a trend, so we thought if it was on a mask, more people would want to buy it to help the cause,” said Jayce.
The teens just made their first donation of $500 to SOS Children’s Village and hope to make an even larger one in the next few months. Additionally, they have donated masks to Aston Gardens Senior Living Center.
Roni said they would love to grow their organization, not only to raise more money but also to help influence young people to make a difference during these difficult times. They are asking for the community’s help by buying masks and spreading the word.
Masks With a Meaning has an Instagram account, where the girls post pictures of the variety of masks that come in both kids and adult sizes. Masks are $8 each, three for $20, or six for $40. They accept Venmo and Zelle and even provide contactless delivery for free in Parkland.
For more information, email Roni or call Lisa at 954-675-3524.
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked on the public relations side as well as the television side of marketing for NBC Universal. A true Floridian, Fox grew up in Ormond Beach and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Advertising from the University of Miami. During college, Fox enjoyed working at Walt Disney World. She loves living in Parkland with her husband, Brian and their two children, Madden, 10 and Randi, 7.
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