Fanjul family sponsors ‘Do the Write Thing’ for nearly 19,000 youth
Pepe Fanjul Jr. and his family, through their sugar company, Florida Crystals Corp., have partnered with The National Campaign to Stop Violence to bring the Do The Write Thing Challenge to Palm Beach County.
“Violence is so prevalent in our society, and with teens it’s so unnecessary,” said Mr. Fanjul in a prepared statement. “The program creates awareness of the problems that teens face today and offers a solution for it. It is making a difference in our community.”
Do The Write Thing offers middleschool students an opportunity to examine the impact of youth violence, and write.
“The response has been amazing,” Fanjul said, noting that 18,984 Palm Beach County students participated this year. “The program has grown 10-fold in just a few short years.”
Mr. Fanjul recruited attorney Bill Bone to chair the organization’s Palm Beach County steering committee and his wife, Lourdes, to co-chair the final judging of student essays with Judge Ronald Alvarez from the Palm Beach County Circuit Court Juvenile Division. The county’s program now ranks second in the nation, behind Houston in the number of participants.
The Fanjul family also underwrites the luncheon for the student finalists, their parents, teachers and principals. More than 600 guests are expected to attend the May 9 event at the Kravis Center.
Community leaders will speak and about 40 students will read selections from their writings. A boy and a girl will go to the national conference, the trip underwritten by the Fanjuls.
The program teaches students that violence doesn’t need to be physical to hurt; teasing, bullying and threatening words on their phones or the Internet can lead to more threatening situations.
“Some of the essays are about bullying, others are about coming from broken homes. Many are an inspiration,” Mr. Fanjul said. “When you read them, it makes you want to support the program over and over again.”
“This may be the first time some of these kids have been to the Kravis or, for the winners, the first time they will go to Washington D.C. It’s a reward.
“It reinforces having really participated in the process,” he said. “They can now be role models and have the courage to stand up and take a position against violence.”
The steering committee includes Mr. Fanjul, Mr. Bone, Judge Alvarez, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, Public Defender Carey Haughwout, Chair of the Criminal Justice Commission Barbara Cheives, Interim School Superintendent Bill Malone, County Commissioner Paulette Burdick, Sheriff’s Captain Jeffery Lindskoog, State Attorney Michael McAuliffe, Department of Safe Schools Assistant Director Kim Williams, Director of Curriculum Palm Beach County Schools Liz Perlman, Palm Springs Middle School Principal Sandra Jinks and assistant Alan Gallardo.
For more information call Mr. Gallardo at 832-0623. ¦