Twins Annelise and Micheal Viera, Dunedin Highland Middle School students, and friend Ronnie Riccobene — weren't trying to raise money for a dance, a trip or even their back to school wardrobes at Safety Harbor's latest 3rd Friday event.
No, the eighth-graders were selling their brightly-colored hair bows, flower clips and headbands at their All Tied Up Bowtique with the goal of raising $500 for a UNICEF water filtration project.
"We started making the bows this summer while we were attending a St. Pete College for Kids camp at Curlew Creek Elementary School," Riccobene explained. "We made $160 and donated it to a Rotary program to help end polio."
"Then we decided we wanted to keep doing it when we got out of camp."
What began as a summer school project turned into a desire to keep helping a cause, much to the delight of the Viera twins' mom Linda.
"It was completely their idea to do this," she proudly stated. "They've worked so hard at it, and they've done everything themselves. We're thrilled at their determination."
The teens' newest cause is a water pump project being funded by UNICEF. The pump will help provide clean, safe drinking water for children and their families in Third World countries.
Linda and the girls estimate they've made 300 to 400 bows so far this summer. The prices ranges from $2 to $3 each, and they might start producing pet bows, which have been requested from patrons.
So what would make a trio of teenagers spend a bulk of their summer vacation making bows and collecting money for charity?
"It's something we're passionate about," Annelise Viera said. "And we like doing it."
To help support the cause, or to find out where the girls will be selling their bows next, email firstname.lastname@example.org.