The bus ride home was all smiles and loud singing thanks to the dedication of six UCF students.
The Bright Knights Cornerstone group took a group 16 kids from the Boys Town of Central Florida to the Kennedy Space Center on Saturday. This was made possible by the students of Bright Knights because of the events they hosted in ordered to raise the money. Mark Witte, a Bright Knights group member, said they saw this as an opportunity for the kids to not only have fun but to learn something as well.
“We went on a bus tour of the Kennedy Space Center property,” Bright Knights Member Sean Hyatt said. “We went around the VAB and the other different facilities that Kennedy Space Center has. We went to another building where they gave us a presentation on the Saturn V rocket where we got to stand under it. We did a lot of fun stuff, like all the rides and simulations, like the space shuttle simulation and then we were all singing on the car ride back.”
Bright Knights will be hosting their last event, and their second car smash, tonight at the same location as their last one, Knights Library. The car smash will begin at 9 P.M. and go until 1 A.M. All of the money raised tonight will go directly to the Boys Town.
“We chose to do a car smash as a fundraiser because it was different from what most people do. It is a fun way for us and for others to enjoy while raising money for a good cause,” said Ariel Baner, another member of the Bright Knights.
Just like their previous car smash the group will charge $1 for one swing, $2 for three hits and $5 for a rampage. Although this time the $5 rampage will include a free raffle ticket, for a $30 bar tab at Library that will be raffled off at midnight. When asked what the group would qualify as a rampage Member David Castillo said it was thirty seconds of rampage against the vehicle.
A minivan was smashed at the last event and this time a Lincoln Continental will be the victim. Bright Knights got both of the vehicles for the two car smashes through the company LKQ Pick Your Part. The group said they have high hopes for an even bigger car smash this time thanks to the help of LKQ.
“Automatically we’re gonna raise more money this time because the company who provided the car is matching whatever we raise,” Baner said.
At the groups previous car smash fundraiser they raised over $200. Baner said he thought the night went really well and that everyone enjoyed themselves, leaving with a big smile on their faces.
“We had people from 10 years old to people in their 40s come out and hit the car. Overall we are very happy with our event,” Baner said.
Leading up to the final event the group hosted a comedy show on October 5 at Taste in College Park. The show consisted of seven comedians and at the end of the night the group had raised around $230.
“Taste was happy to give us the venue since it was for Boys Town,” Hyatt said. “We advertised for the restaurant too so it was kind of a win-win. It was a really good night and everyone really enjoyed it.”
The group also held a fundraiser at the Publix off of Curry Ford Road, where group member Joshua Murray works. They raised a little over $300 and Hyatt said it was surprisingly successful.
“We basically just sat outside of the exit and asked people for donations. We just told them what we were about,” Murray said.
When asked how the group felt about their overall experience working as social entrepreneurs for their Cornerstone class, Murray said it’s been rewarding to be able to plan these events out because he never really had the opportunity to do so before. Baner and Hyatt agreed and said it was rewarding to plan events for such a good cause.
“It was really fulfilling and a different experience to be able to do these kinds of events, like the car smash and the comedy show. And it gave us a reason to do it, for the Boys Town, opposed to just doing it for ourselves,” Hyatt said.
All of the group’s hard work and dedication to their fundraisers paid off when they were able to take some of the kids from the Boys Town to the Kennedy Space Center. Hyatt would have liked to stay longer at the center and said that it was unfortunately short because they were having fun and then it was time to leave. Although their trip with the kids may be over they still have one last chance to raise money for the Boys Town and said they hope people will come out and support their last event of this whole eye-opening experience.
“When we were going back to the Boys Home to drop off the kids the chaperones were telling them what to do when they go back to the house,” Baner said. “You just got a sense of what they do every day. One of the girls told us how she has to wake up every day at 6:30 in the morning to do chores; everybody does. It just makes you think about how different it is.”