Terra High School senior Tatyana Bidopia is president of the teen-run organization Knots for Hope. The group makes string-beaded bracelets that they sell to help hospitalized children and their families. They also make bracelets with the children.
Bidopia took over as president of the charitable organization Knots for Hope when founder Priscilla Suzal-Wright went off to college. Bidopia joined Knots for Hope in 2008 when she was in the seventh grade at Suzal-Wright’s invitation.
“I needed to do community service for one of the clubs I was in, but then I stopped seeing it as an obligation and became very, very involved,” she says.
These days, the 20 members go to Miami Children’s Hospital and entertain children in the oncology/hematology playroom or they go to the Michael Fux Family Center and work with kids there.
“We decorate the bone marrow transplant unit for the holidays and we make bracelets with the patients,” she says, adding that even the boys enjoy the crafts. “At first they are a little apprehensive when we start making the bracelets because they think it’s just for girls, but then they see we have sports charms and then they get all excited. We usually spend about three hours with the patients. Usually, when we go to the hospital we have five or six patients and they bring their family members. We also make bracelets for the other patients who can’t walk toward where we are.”
In addition to the bracelets they sell, the girls in Knots for Hope also hold fundraising events to help the children. They have a big gala each year – this year it’s scheduled for April – and they have a pre-gala event.
“In June we had a pre-gala event and we raised more than $10,000,” she says.
More than half of that money went to buy chair beds for the bone marrow transplant unit at Miami Children’s Hospital so parents who are staying with their children can be comfortable if they stay overnight.
In order to help by donating more funds, the girls hold garage sales and Scoop Nights at the Haagen Daz at The Falls. The weeknight events are usually held the Thursday before a teacher planning day.
When Knots for Hope began, the organization was tied to the Transplant Foundation. But when one of the people they worked with closely at the foundation moved to a new job at Miami Children’s, the girls decided to follow.
Along with her involvement in Knots for Hope, Bidopia keeps busy with extracurricular activities at Terra. She is the vice president of the National Honor Society, treasurer of the Class of 2014 and co-editor-inchief of the yearbook. She is also president of the Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA).
“We compete based on medical competitions,” she says. “We also host fundraisers in order to raise money for the competitions.”
She helps the members by organizing things so they have the capacity to study for competitions and register for the events. Bidopia has competed in the epidemiology category. She made it to the state competition in 2012 by scoring third in the regionals. She also scored third at the state level that allowed her to go to the national competition.
After college, Bidopia hopes to enter the medical field as a pediatrician. She is applying to Duke, Harvard, Brown, Boston College and Tulane. She is looking to do pre-med and psychology.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld