As global citizens, Lynn University students recognize that universal issues—such as homelessness, school safety and cancer—affect the local community. And they’re moved to take action. Students raised more than $20,000 last semester for three local organizations.
Social Impact Lab fellow Ivar Guerrero Ruiz spent a semester assisting staff at The Lord’s Place, a nonprofit serving the homeless in West Palm Beach. He participated in the organization’s annual fundraiser, SleepOut, raising money and attending the overnight event.
SleepOut is an evening of family activities, music and testimonials, concluding with a candlelight ceremony where those present commit to help break the cycle of homelessness. Attendees were invited to spend the night sleeping in the open air or in the United Methodist Church of the Palm Beaches, where the event took place.
Former clients of The Lord’s Place, which provides housing, job training and support services, shared their success stories at SleepOut.
“I want to invest in them. I can see potential in them,” said Guerrero Ruiz, who was inspired to work on behalf of the homeless after sharing a restaurant meal with a homeless man in Atlanta. He raised $500, which was matched by local philanthropists.
Community comes together
The February 2018 tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) prompted students David Czarlinsky, Baylee Howe ’18 and Lourdes Rubero to sell “#NeverAgain” and “#MSDStrong” wristbands, raising $1,800 to support the victims and their families.
“There was an incredible level of support from the whole community that I just didn’t see coming,” Czarlinksky said. “Everyone we asked for help—whether it was a student, a dean or a faculty member—was so supportive. It made me proud of the community and the way we were able to come together for a cause.”
The Lynn student government, the Knights of the Roundtable, advanced the funds to order the wristbands. Other student organizations and individuals, including a few students who graduated from MSD, helped with sales, Czarlinsky said.
Czarlinsky, Howe and Rubero organized a walkout on March 14. “We sold about 100 wristbands at the walkout alone,” Czarlinsky said.
In April, Lynn Leadership Institute students organized the first Knight-a-Thon, a 12-hour dance fundraiser that netted more than $18,000 for the Pediatric Oncology Support Team (POST) at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital.
“Their goal was to raise $15,000, and when they announced that they’d met that goal just before the Knight-a-Thon started, everyone cheered,” said Stephanie Peguillan, student involvement coordinator.
POST provides social, emotional and financial support to families of children diagnosed with cancer. “My grandpa has been battling cancer for years, and I know the impact it has on a family,” said Howe, who also served as one of the fundraising chairs and who will pursue an MBA at Lynn this fall.
“I wanted to be involved with this event because I think a kid’s life shouldn’t be defined by the fact that they have cancer. The Pediatric Oncology Support Team’s mission and values state that no child or their family should walk alone through their battle with cancer,” she said.
The next Knight-a-Thon will take place on April 12, 2019.
Many other students and campus groups work hard to raise funds throughout the year for programs on campus and off—including Lynn’s Greek organizations (which raised over $2,000 for nonprofits last year) and club sports teams.
Follow Lynn on social media to find out how you can contribute.