MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Parkland’s Westglades Middle School is getting the latest in protection for its students, thanks to the help of a mom who knows the pain of losing a child.
When a butterfly floated past Lori and Ilan Alhadeff at their daughter’s grave two days after she was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, they were inspired.
The Alhadeffs lost their Alyssa, 14, oldest of three children and their only daughter during the massacre.
“A big yellow butterfly flew past us representing love and hope that Alyssa was in a better place,” said Lori Alhadeff.
Thus, blossomed the Butterfly Project.
The Alhadeff’s organization Make Our Schools Safe teamed up with West Glades Middle School for a fundraiser.
“The goal was to sell 60 butterflies for $60,000 and then make our school’s safe would match that $60,000 for a total of a $120,000.”
In five weeks they exceeded their goal.
The school put the money towards new bulletproof windows installed a few months back and will soon build a fence big enough to enclose the building.
PTO president Pam Miller says she was honored to work alongside Alhadeff and her husband to make a change.
“Any kind of security makes the parents feel better and plus even some of the kids feel a big relief when they know it’s going on in our school,” Miller said.
Each butterfly represents a business or family that donated to the fundraiser, but the artwork alone is a symbol of everlasting love Alhadeff has for her daughter.
“Yeah, I think Alyssa would have said that she was proud of us and thank you for helping to keep our friends safe mom,” added Lori Alhadeff.
The fencing for the school hasn’t been installed just yet.
In the meantime, the Alhadeffs are hoping to do more fundraisers for schools in the area.