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Parkland Hearts Project

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In an effort to remember the victims of February’s massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, an area nonprofit organization has partnered with family and friends to organize service projects based on the victims’passions.

HandsOn Broward has worked with loved ones and friends tocreate 17 unique service projects, one for each victim. While details about the projects are mostly private to protect the privacy of family and friends, thecommunity can play its own role in remembering those who did not survive.Specifically, people can participate in the Parkland Hearts Art Project. Thosewishing to become involved can create paper heart cutouts with thoughts,feelings, hopes, and messages. Those close to the victims will be able to readthese messages. For more details, visit handsonbroward.org/ParklandHearts.

Kristina DaSilva, HandsOn Broward’s chief operating officer, said immediately following the February 14 tragedy at MSD, people called the organization looking for ways to help in whatever capacity they could. It wasn’t long after calls came pouring in that the Parkland Hearts Art Project was born. HandsOn Broward began receiving paper hearts with messages from all over the country.

In creating the project, HandsOn Broward followed a model from one of its affiliates, HandsOn Orlando. The latter helped organize “ThePulse Scrolls,” in the aftermath of the June, 2016 massacre inside Pulse Night Club in Orlando. A gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 in whatauthorities described as, “The deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman inthe country at the time.” Also, the Pulse attack was the deadliest terroristattack in the U.S. since the September 11 attacks in 2001. Meanwhile, the MSD massacre was the deadliest shooting at a high school in U.S. history. Itsurpassed the  Columbine High School mass shooting in 1999.

The mass shooting spawned an outpouring of gun control activism from our community and around the country. The Parkland Arts Project and the planned community service projects are among the many efforts at healing following the February rampage. DaSilva said, “The projects present opportunities for healing through service.”

Keeley McBee, marketing and events manager of HandsOnBroward, said that volunteers, the majority of whom are Parkland residents, have “selflessly given of their time” to see the projects through. “They are amazing and awesome,” she continued. “We are reaching out to the community to gather supplies that will be donated directly to each project.” Visit www.parklandhearts.org/contributeto see how you can help. A wish list exists of specific needs. Click the link on the aforementionedwebsite to see the list and shop. Those wishing to bring items in person cancall Zakiya Becca at 954-233-1300 to set a drop off time.

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