Youth donate to Sandy Hook playground project

Isabella Antonetti, Suzeth Daiz, Bella Berrocal with BGCG program staff member and Torch Club co-adviser, Conner Gaffney. — Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich photo

Isabella Antonetti, Suzeth Daiz, Bella Berrocal with BGCG program staff member and Torch Club co-adviser, Conner Gaffney.
— Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich photo

As the one year anniversary of the tragic Sandy Hook shooting approaches, Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich (BGCG) Torch Club members are focusing on the positive, having used the proceeds from their most successful fund-raiser to support The Sandy Ground: Where the Angels Play playground.

The news of the Newtown massacre devastated communities nationwide, and locally, compelled Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich Torch Club members to do something to help ease the loss of one of the town’s angels.

Thirty-seven members of the BGCG Torch Club — a character and leadership program for members age 11 to 13 — found out about the Sandy Ground and unanimously voted to use the proceeds from their most successful Halloween Haunted House, to date, to support the playground dedicated to one of the children, Daniel Barden.

On Oct. 27, 11 of the Torch Club members traveled 2 hours to attend the “Daniel Barden Park” ceremony in Highlands Park, N.J. to honor Daniel’s life, show respect to his family and donate $502 raised on his behalf. Daniel’s parents thanked each kid individually and expressed to them that they were touched by their compassion and generosity. Daniel’s parents and the entire Torch group even embraced each other, forming a large memorable hug, the organization said.

“We are so proud of the kids for doing their due diligence and finding out about this project, voting to fund-raise for it and for being so kind to the family,” said Dawn Berrocal, Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich aquatics coordinator and Torch Club advisor. “The ceremony in NJ was so touching. The kids were proud to be a part of it and hoped that Daniel’s family received some peace that day.”

The Sandy Ground: Where the Angels Play project is a venture developed and executed by Giordano Contracting LLC in collaboration with the Where Angels Play foundation & New Jersey firefighters to produce playgrounds for 26 communities throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy. The Highland Park, N.J. location was chosen for Daniel Barden because the Jersey Shore, which is near to Highland Park, was the place Daniel enjoyed vacations with his family.

Each playground will be dedicated to one of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.

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