In an effort to raise funds for the family members of Saugus High School shooting victims, Valencia High juniors Julia Unas and Ayden Reading began a campaign to sell bracelets they had specially made throughout the months of November and December.
Unas and Reading are the organizers of the Valencia High club Help4Kids, and said they quickly began ordering the bracelets as a way to raise money for their neighboring high school after the Nov. 14 shooting that left three students dead, including the shooter, and wounded several others.
“We wanted to do something immediately to spread awareness and raise money for those families because we thought of how horrible it would be for that to happen to our family,” said Reading.
That same night, Reading and Unas agreed to make bracelets in support for the community and ordered 1,600 bracelets the next morning that say “Saugus Strong” and “#SCVUnited”
Unas explained how a similar campaign took place the year prior so they were both aware of the steps needed to make this a successful campaign.
Once the bracelets were delivered, Unas and Reading began selling them the week following the shooting, at breakfast and lunch times in school for one dollar. They brought music and other decorations to draw attention to their stand, which worked because Reading said they began to sell out quickly.
Along with Valencia High, Unas and Reading took the bracelets to Highlands Elementary School, which is located on the hill above Saugus High.
“We sold them for one day there and we sold out immediately,” said Reading.
The Help4Kids organization also provided “care baskets” to kindergarten students at Highlands Elementary School, which included scissors, glue sticks, stickers and other school items.
“It was just one more thing to help distract them from what happened,” said Unas.
After selling the bracelets at Highlands, Reading said they had to order another shipment of 1,600 bracelets because they were in high demand.
After demand for the bracelets began to decline, Unas and Reading said they raised about $2,000, and after paying for the bracelets and engravings, donated $1,400 to the Santa Clarita Disaster Coalition.
“It was amazing to see all the support,” said Unas. “Even from people who didn’t go to Saugus. It also distracted me from what was happening, I was only focused on helping these people instead of all the sadness.”
A remaining 500 bracelets are still in Unas’ and Reading’s possession. They plan on taking the bracelets to future events to hand them out to those who would like them.
“We just want to thank the Santa Clarita community in general,” said Reading, “for supporting Saugus. It’s awesome to see all this support.”