Gina Rose Montalto

By Jill Fox

Partnering with families, community leaders, local volunteers, businesses and nonprofit organizations, HandsOn Broward is creating 17 unique service projects to honor the 17 lives taken at Marjory Stoneman Douglas on February 14.

One of the upcoming service projects honoring Gina Montalto will support Kids in Distress.

The focus of the project will be the renovation of the Kids in Distress children’s library located at the KID Campus in Wilton Manors, where the computer lab and arts and crafts areas will be remodeled as well. The project will include a local book drive to gather donations from the Parkland community.

Her parents Tony and Jennifer Montalto said they were honored that their daughter, Gina Rose, was chosen to be the Artist of the Month at the Parkland Library.

Gina was an artistic, athletic, intelligent and kind person. She always loved drawing, and was taking an art class at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. For the month of January, her drawings and sketches will be on display at The Parkland Library.

“Gina loved art from the time that she could pick up a crayon. It was a way for her to express herself that was very special to her,” said Tony Montalto.

Gina was seriously interested in progressing with her art and had always dreamed of seeing something she created on display for public viewing.

“Each project has been carefully planned to create a meaningful impact for causes that were close to the hearts of those we lost,” said Kristina DaSilva, Chief Operating Officer of HandsOn Broward.

According to Jennifer, this project is a perfect fit for her daughter. The decision to support Kids in Distress came very organically.

“Gina and I were always doers,” she said.

The family helped Kids in Distress on multiple occasions, raising money volunteering for various activities.

Tony said that Gina was always positive, giving compliments, helping others and demonstrating these attributes out in the world, and he is feels that is why people want to do such things to memorialize her.

Although there are other local groups collecting books throughout the month, residents are encouraged to drop off book donations during the artist’s reception on January 9, at the Parkland Library.

Montalto’s project is just one of 17 service projects that HandsOn Broward has created to benefit local nonprofits in the community.

Some of the projects are still in the development stages, and as they become available, Parkland Talk will update the community.

Learn more about Parkland Hearts and how to help make contributions to Gina’s project or any of the ongoing initiatives by visiting the Amazon wish lists at www.ParklandHearts.org. Contact HandsOn Broward at contactus@handsonbroward.org to arrange a separate drop off for books at their office. Financial donations are welcome.