After 14-year-old Schreiber freshman Charlotte Kerpen heard the news of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, she texted her parents, Board of Education Trustee Dave Kerpen and local author Carrie Kerpen, that she needed to do something to help.
“As soon as this tragedy happened, I knew I couldn’t just sit back,” said Charlotte. “I knew I had to stand up. I wanted to help the victims and prevent this from happening again. I texted them at midnight that I can’t sleep and let this happen. They were really supportive and the next day my dad contacted the Landmark [on Main Street].”
“I was touched and overwhelmed when I got the text from my daughter,” said Dave. “I wanted to help, but I also wanted to empower her to do this on her own.”
Inspired by the One Love Manchester benefit concert organized by singer Ariana Grande in 2017 and Charlotte’s love for performing, she decided to put on a benefit concert with 17 acts in honor of the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting.
“Fifty percent of the funds raised will go the Broward Schools Foundation for the victims’ families and 50 percent of the funds raised will go to Sandy Hook Promise,” said Charlotte. “We’re trying to keep the entire thing all students. In my opinion, they are who are affected most by this.
The Broward Schools Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit direct support organization solely dedicated to raising funds for Broward County Public Schools. The foundation will serve as the central repository for the Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund, which was set up through a collaboration among the Broward Schools Foundation, the National Center for Victims of Crime and GoFundMe. The funds donated will be used to provide relief and financial support to the victims and families of the horrific shooting.
Sandy Hook Promise is a national nonprofit organization founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. The funds donated will go toward helping the nonprofit organization build a national base of supporters, organize at the community level and develop and deliver mental health and wellness programs. Sandy Hook Promise educates and empowers parents, schools and community organizations on how to prevent gun violence before it happens by providing mental health and wellness, early-identification and intervention programs, gun safety storage practices and advocating for sensible state and federal violence prevention policy.
Landmark on Main Street donated the Jeanne Rimsky Theater for the benefit concert which will be held on March 14 at 7 p.m.
“The very name of this building—the Landmark on Main Street and its origin as Port Washington’s Main Street School—really underscore our mission to be a cultural center for our community,” said executive director of the Landmark Laura Mogul. “One important piece of that mission is to make our theater a home for as many student performing arts opportunities as possible. Another is to welcome and facilitate dialogue and action on issues of social justice. So when Charlotte reached out about holding the concert here, we didn’t even hesitate. This event, and the people behind it, represent the best of Port Washington and we are honored to be part of it.”
The Port Washington Youth Council Teen Center (PiT) will assist in advertising for the event, selling snacks and working crew. The youth council’s presidents’ band will also perform.
“The PiT is all about empowering the teens of Port Washington,” said executive director of the Port Washington Youth Council Michael Donnelly. “What Charlotte is planning to do embodies that. Teens are often the forgotten population, they are not children but not yet adults so often their voices go unheard. What happened in Parkland was a complete tragedy. However, if there is any good that does seem to be coming from it, [it] is teens realizing they do have the power to stand up for what they believe in. We love what Charlotte is doing and we are completely behind her.”
For tickets, visit www.portforparkland.com.
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