Dreaming of a better world
As we reflect on the year since the senseless act of violence and hate that took 49 of our neighbors and friends, it's a tough day here in Central Florida. But there is always hope. And for us, it's in the children who not only dream of a better world, but put action behind their vision.
We're so grateful to be part of this year's Dreamer and Doer award winners, Central Florida students recognized by Walt Disney World Resort for their "heart and hard work." We were thrilled to learn in April that Brock was chosen one of Disney's Dreamers and Doers for his part in our family's #49for49 project! And Saturday night,at an event Disney hosted for Shining Star award winners, we got to meet kids doing amazing things to help their families, friends and neighbors.
From the beginning, we saw this endeavor as a way for our family to work through the shock and grief of the Pulse tragedy. Today, as we look back on the year since we lost 49 members of our community, the grief and shock still overwhelm us sometimes. But with each act of lovingkindness - no matter how small - the dream of a better world lives in each of us.
Brock's Dreamer and Doer Essay and Teacher Comments
Before I knew, I was just a kid enjoying summer vacation. Then the news came. As my sister and I were getting ready for bed one night last June, our parents told us about Pulse. I felt sad, angry and just disappointed in the world. My sister and I wanted to do something. But what?
Then together as a family we came up with the idea for 49 kindness projects for the 49 who died at Pulse. Little did we know, we were starting a mission that would help us just as much as we helped others. We started by donating gift cards to the family and friends of victims coming to Orlando to be with their loved ones. Other projects were making dinners for people who were sick or sad, collecting towel sets for seniors, and sorting potatoes at the food bank.
I expected to work hard and help people. But what I didn't expect was how much fun I would have with my family. And how I felt incredible helping others. My favorite project was when me, Mom, my sister and my friend, Brennan, went to Lake Eola to draw sidewalk art. We drew a rainbow and wrote "you are loved." As we finished, we met a Pulse survivor who had just started walking without crutches. He lifted his shirt and showed us his scars where he was shot. We were doing the project in honor of Leroy Valentin Fernandez, who sadly didn't make it. But I think we helped Junior, too.
Though our 49 projects are done, we decided we'll continue to work at making the world kind and loving to all. No matter what race or religion, there should be equality for everyone... because everyone deserves a chance.
Brock’s inspirational spirit reminds us to lead by example; to be brave, strong, courageous and loving in times of tragedy. He was determined to take a tragic event at Pulse and transform it into a positive endeavor; by fulfilling 49 kindness projects for the 49 who had died. Brock’s acts of kindness enabled him to realize the significance in giving during times of darkness. Though his 49 projects are finished, he’s decided to continue working on making the world a better place. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King Jr.