A Southampton special education student was so inspired by television commercials for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital that he spearheaded a series of school fundraisers that raised more than $3,000.
Carlos Bernal-Mendoza, a third-grader at Southampton Elementary School, hosted three separate bake-offs last month for teachers and staff to share their best homemade brownies, muffins and cookies. Those interested in taste-testing and voting were asked to donate $2.
The charity-minded child also coordinated three “dress down” days in which faculty and staff districtwide were permitted to wear casual clothing for a $5 donation to St. Jude.
“I just felt bad for those parents with their children,” Carlos, 9, said of the commercials. “I just wanted to try to help.”
The winning bakers received gift bags containing gift certificates from local businesses including Sip ’n Soda and La Parmigiana Italian restaurant.
Carlos’ efforts, meanwhile, resulted in him being invited to speak at St. Jude’s Hope in the Hamptons fundraiser on July 9.
“He literally brought the whole school together,” Southampton special education teacher Dan Bozzo said of Carlos. “He doesn’t let a disability come in the way of his heart.”
Carlos is also a member of the school’s Performance Club and will appear next month in a production of “The Lion King, Kids.”