PEMBROKE PARK (CBS4) — Many students spend their summer break on the beach or at the movies, but as Neighbors 4 Neighbors discovered, there’s a group of teens that used their time off to give back to some South Florida charities.
While taking a break from the books, teens like Cristina Palazzese, committed to community service through summer camp at HandsOn Broward.
“I’ve learned like a million more things about our community,” said the 13-year-old Palazzese..
Her fellow camper, Joshua Stanley, agreed and added, “I’ve experienced a lot of cooperation with a lot of my team members inside of the camp.”
Field trips turn into service experiences and ultimately, inspiration for the group of 41 diverse students.
“It energizes you, it makes you want to help and actually reach out,” said Stanley.
One of the team members from HandsOn Broward, Darril Gaschler, said it gives teens a better perspective of their community.
“In a matter of about 5 days, [they] have not only connected with each other but really had an opportunity to connect with the critical social issues around Broward County,” said Gaschler.
He also described the different experiences and causes the campers were exposed to, “environmental issues, senior citizens, helping to serve the homeless and hungry here in South Florida.”
One of the places where the team served was Feeding South Florida where they packed boxes of food for the families the organization serves.
“We have about 600 non-profits that we help support right here in South Florida and it’s expanding every day,” explained Gaschler.
Though camp ended after just one week, you got the sense that the campers’ dedication to service was just getting started.
“I’ll probably come back to the places we visited and do more with Handson Broward in the school year,” said Palazzese.
HandsOn Broward helps people of all ages become volunteers for projects across South Florida.