Students driven by generous hearts develop philanthropic organization

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Perla Vilches-Garfias, Evelin Calderon at left work together mixing batter while Hunter Smothers, Emily Turner, and Matthew Whelchel shop for ingredients to make the cake pops. (Photos provided)

“Philanthropy on a Shoestring” (POS) is the name of a recently formed student organization at Bristol Elementary School, and it has some lofty goals. Led by sixth-grader Saleem Al-Azawi and other members of his class, the group’s long-range goal is to provide a playground for the 30 to 40 children living in Bristol Mobile Village.

Lorie Freet, an adult volunteer advisor to POS, says the group will hold its first fundraiser on Sunday, February 5, at the Stone Soup Emporium. On sale there will be up to 1,200 cake pops made with the help of personnel at Lucchese’s Restaurant.

Other local businesses are also assisting. The Lavender Patch taught students how to make potholders, and Camille’s Floral is contributing carnation bouquets. Other items on sale will be T-shirts, calendars, and more. Interested persons can consult the student-constructed website at www. for more information.

Saleem, who lives in Bristol Mobile Village, provided the impetus for Philanthropy on a Shoestring. He noticed that children in the mobile home park were playing in the streets, because there was no safe play area for them.

The students and their adult advisors are hoping, through grants and/or donations, to acquire land near the Bristol Little League complex on CR 27. A playground so situated could also be used by children of parents watching older sons or daughters play ball on the nearby diamonds. Starting with a sandbox, the POS group hopes to eventually construct equipment similar to that in Congdon Park in Bristol.

Community members interested in this student-led project can contact Lorie Freet at Bristol Elementary School (848-7421).

Veronica Love, Evelin Calderon, Hunter Smothers, Saleem Al-azawi, watch Chef Zach Lucchese as he demonstrates how to add special touches to the cake pops. (Photo provided)

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