The Lightning Strike

“Branches of Bravery” hosts inaugural event at Aventura Mall

Angelique+Meneses+opens+the+event+singing+%22Somewhere+Over+the+Rainbow.%22+The+event+was+hosted+at+Aventura+Mall+on+Mar.+17.
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“Branches of Bravery” hosts inaugural event at Aventura Mall

Angelique Meneses opens the event singing

Angelique Meneses opens the event singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." The event was hosted at Aventura Mall on Mar. 17.

Angelique Meneses opens the event singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." The event was hosted at Aventura Mall on Mar. 17.

Angelique Meneses opens the event singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." The event was hosted at Aventura Mall on Mar. 17.

Hilly Yehoshua, Spread Editor

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After the Parkland Shooting that killed 17 individuals on Feb. 14, six students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas created a nonprofit organization called Branches of Bravery.

Branches of Bravery was founded by upperclassmen Madison Leal, Karter Cooper, Ma’ayan Mizrahi, Kaylee Nezwek, Drew Schwartz and Amanda Regen. This organization was created with the purpose of raising money towards planting 17 trees in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

These students began raising money by simply sharing their story on social media, collecting $5,000 through their Go-Fund-Me campaign. This Saturday, Mar. 17, they had their first benefit at the Aventura Mall. The event, hosted from noon to 4 p.m. at the Central Court, opened with Angelique Meneses singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and several students presenting short speeches.

To raise money for the building of a reflection garden in their community, students sold “Branches of Bravery” bracelets for five dollars, shirts for twenty and tiles for ten. The five hour event saw people coming in and out of the Central Court, paying ten dollars to decorate small tiles with permanent markers. Children, parents, students and elderly residents created an assortment of tiles with different messages and images that will create a temporary wall to stand at Aventura Mall. Visitors will pass by dozens of tiles honoring the victims and promoting peace in the community.

Several students from Krop attended the event to show their support.

“I think it’s amazing what these students are doing. They’re creating something that isn’t only for their school,” Elle Biton said. “They’re trying to keep the memory of all victims of these tragedies alive. The event was very enjoyable, it was a lighthearted way of  keeping these students’ memories alive.”

The “Branches of Bravery” logo presents a a large green tree, surrounded by 17 butterflies. This logo represents roots of courage, blossoms of love and branches of bravery. It embodies the strength and endurance that the Parkland community has seen since the tragedy.

With the funds raised, their current mission is to plant 17 trees in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Additional funds will be allocated towards building a reflection garden in the community of Parkland, and donating trees to several other communities. These students are the face of change and are encouraging others to branch out, yet stay rooted in times of tragedy.

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“Branches of Bravery” hosts inaugural event at Aventura Mall