Belen junior Daniel Silva is one of the founders of 305 United, an organization that was created by 30 boys and girls to help families that are less fortunate. The students hail from several area schools, including Columbus, Belen, St. Brendan, Lourdes, Florida Christian and Archbishop Carrol High.“We had decided to do something together, but we didn’t know what to do. Abig step was to find out how to be a leader,” Silva says. “It’s the biggest thing I’m proud to be in.”
The idea was sparked by a leadership course he attended every Sunday for eight weeks. “It inspired us to create something to give back to the community,” he says. “We have five different groups. It’s divided equally. We have people on five committees. One committee is in charge of Christmas, one in charge of Easter, one for Mother’s Day, Back to School and Thanksgiving.
It’s a team effort.”
The first event took place during the 2013 Christmas season. They collected money, toys and clothes and then went to a Camillus House facility that was filled with needy families where they distributed the toys and the clothes.
“We had a lunch for them,” he says. Easter was the theme for the next event. It took place the first Saturday of Belen’s spring break at Robert King High Park.
“We invited around 500 kids and their parents,’ Silva says. “My friend dressed up as the Easter Bunny. We gave out Easter eggs and we had a big breakfast for all the kids that attended.”
The group has sponsored four of the five events so far. For Mother’s Day, the group went to a women’s shelter and spent the day making the moms at the shelter feel cared for and happy. “We had a bunch of activities planned out,” Silva says.
“We gave them food. Some didn’t have their families.”
In honor of Back to School time, the students used money they had raised to buy 200 backpacks for migrant children. Each backpack contained two folders, pencils, notebooks and colored pencils. “We went out there and distributed them ourselves,” he says.
Now that the Back to School event is over, they are turning their attention to Thanksgiving.
“I’m in charge of the Thanksgiving drive,” Silva says. “We are going to the senior center, where the old Belen used to be. I chose to go there.
We are going to serve dinner to a lot of families.”
In addition to the 305 United, Silva volunteers at Blue Lakes Elementary, a school that Belen has helped in the past.
“It’s a school for kids with autism,” he says. “We take them out of the normal routine. I’d help them with their homework or their classwork.”
Silva says he enjoys his time with the kids at Blue Lakes.
“I feel really good after I’ve come out,” he says. “Because I feel like I’ve helped another kid that wasn’t as blessed as I am.” Silva also volunteers for the San Juan Bosco food drive.
At Belen, Silva plays second base on the varsity baseball
team. He used to play basketball and lacrosse. “Baseball is my talent and I wanted to focus on one sport,” he says, adding that he’d love to play in college if he gets any scholarship offers.
Analysts say the Belen team has the potential to have a great season and there are even whispers that they might have the talent to go to the state tournament.
Silva is also a member of the National Key Club and the Future Doctors of America Club.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld