TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa 5th grader at Mitchell Elementary School has raised more than $600 selling beaded jewelry. She says the money will go toward new supplies for students, but not at her school but a neighboring school in much more need.
Every bead that goes into one of Lilly Kubler's bracelets or necklaces is threaded with love for Caminiti Exceptional Child Center.
"Just because they may be different and may need some more help doesn't mean they are any less of a person than you or I," said Kubler.
Caminiti is a title one school for students with significant disabilities in Hillsborough County.
"Due to the fact that our students have disabilities, they do need some extra devices such as iPads, communication devices and different things in order to be successful. And as we know, those things cost a little bit more money," said Caminiti teacher Laura Meehan.
Caminiti relies heavily on its annual gift basket fundraiser, but 2020 has been tough. Last year 40 baskets were donated, but this year only 11.
"Due to the pandemic, we didn't get quite as many donations as we normally do from local businesses," said Meehan.
Kubler and her fellow classmates at Mitchell Elementary learned about Caminiti students from their 5th-grade teacher.
"Mr. Jones, my teacher, told my class about this school and did a whole presentation about this school, and I just thought it was an amazing school, and I would like to help them," said Kubler.
"It's not just about test scores, yes academics are important, but we are looking at life skills, building social and emotional awareness, and just empathy," said Mitchell teacher Deacon Jones.
Kubler alone raised over $600 selling beaded jewelry, but that still wasn't enough. She wanted to meet the students at Caminiti in person.
"For Mr. Jones and his class to go above and beyond this year of all years has been really heartfelt and very special," said Meehan.
They even made a music video together, where students from each school sang the song "We are going to be friends."
It's a partnership both schools plan to continue for years to come.