Hospitalized children benefit from FIU students’ altruism.

Over the course of a week in February 2010, Florida International University (FIU) students celebrated hundreds of kids in local children’s hospitals.

“The success of our ‘A Tribute to Children’ week was truly a dream come true,” said Megan Lee, finance major in the College of Business Administration and vice president, community service for FIU’s Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL). “We wanted to get the message across that this week is all about the kids.”

FBLA-PBL partnered with other organizations on campus—including FIU Dance Marathon, Phi Mu, Phi Delta Epsilon and Sigma Chi—to raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN), a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of children through donations to its connected local children’s hospitals.

Energy and imagination mark activities.

At the Monday kickoff, “Miracle Ball Day,” the students garnered attention by rolling an eight-foot beach ball around campus, while asking for donations and getting signatures on the ball. The week concluded with a Target-sponsored “Children’s Miracle Gala,” a semi-formal dinner dedicated to providing the children with a night of enjoyment.

Hospitalized children benefit from FIU students’ altruism.
The “Tribute to Children” began on February 8, 2010 with “Miracle Ball Day.” Community service committee members Abdel Perera (blue shirt), Daniel Fernandez (orange hat) and Lilian Dennis (white Miami Children’s Hospital t-shirt) encouraged students to donate to Miami Children’s Hospital and sign the Miracle Ball, shown here in the Betty B. Chapman Plaza.

In between, FBLA-PBL hosted “Raising Awareness Day”—at which volunteers raised money by selling custom-made buttons, CMN paper balloons and cupcakes—and “Kids Giving to Kids Day,” during which elementary school kids wrote “get well soon” cards to their peers in Miami Children’s Hospital.

Raising Awareness Day
February 9, 2010 was “Raising Awareness Day.” FBLA-PBL members, along with members from its partnering organizations, volunteered at an information table situated outside Green Library. In addition to information, the tables offered donors the chance to buy commemorative items such as “I Saved a Child” buttons and lollipops.
Kids Giving to Kids Day
February 10, 2010 focused on “Kids Giving to Kids Day.” Committee members Megan Lee, Abdel Perera, Lilian Dennis and Cristina Rodriguez show “get well soon” cards prepared by students at FIU’s Creative Learning Center to be given to kids at Miami Children’s Hospital.

On a “Day of Service,” three FIU FBLA-PBL members took a more hands-on approach by spending the day at Miami’s Children Hospital volunteering in the playroom and participating in special activities with the children, including a sing-a-long and arts and crafts.

Day of Service
February 11, 2010 was “Day of Service.” Clockwise: Megan Lee, Jose Betancourt and Francoise Blanco paid a visit to children at Miami Children’s Hospital and helped them prepare maracas with cans of soda and toilet paper.

“The members are to be congratulated for their creativity and outstanding efforts in surpassing their fundraising goal of $1,200,” said Maria Moldes, CMN director at Miami’s Children Hospital, who attended Friday night’s gala.

Children's Miracle Gala
The week’s activities culminated on February 12, 2010 with the “Children’s Miracle Gala.” Maria Moldes, center, received a $1,300 check representing the total funds collected during the weeklong “Tribute to Children.”

The evening raised $800, propelling the total funds raised for the entire week to $1,300, all of which went directly to CMN.

“The gala was an honor to attend,” said Jennifer Iguina, whose son’s congenital heart defect has required three open-heart surgeries and other procedures since his May 2007 birth. “We were amazed to see how the students are so involved and so into helping these children. It was truly amazing to share our story and give back to CMN and FIU.”

Miracle Ball
A new FIU tradition is born. The “Miracle Ball” is positioned alongside the Deuxieme Maison Cube, one of FIU’s most enduring and meaningful symbols, said to bring good luck on exams to those who spin it.

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