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Youth add to nonprofit’s legacy

Build a Miracle has done much for Centro Comunitario Florida IV, a community center in the neighborhood of El Florido in Tijuana, Mexico. (courtesy of Build a Miracle)

Youth add to nonprofit’s legacy

When it comes to the local charity organization Build a Miracle, it’s all about keeping the legacy of charitable work going across generations.

The organization, founded by Scripps Ranch residents Chris and Julianne North, is focused on the mission of building homes for underprivileged families on the other side of the border.

“Right now, there is a group of (students) who are almost all young men from Scripps Ranch High School and Cathedral Catholic, and they’ve all joined together, and their goal is to raise $50,000 to put a playground at the community center,” Chris North said.

Volunteers with Build a Miracle work on a construction project. (courtesy of Build a Miracle)

That community center, Centro Comunitario Florida IV, was a project constructed by Build a Miracle in the neighborhood of El Florido in Tijuana, Mexico.

For the local Nastrini family, this cause has lived on through the ambitions of the family’s sons. The campaign to construct a playground on the property, organized by Cathedral Catholic student Jake Nastrini, was inspired by a previous effort made by his older brother to fundraise $35,000 to build a soccer field at the community center. With this, North said, it is clear the spirit of doing good work can be inherited.

Build a Miracle makes this idea central to their mission in many ways. When Chris and Julianne met during their college years at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, the monthly trips he took to do charity work in Mexico were only lightly organized, Chris said. Now, that same group has become one of the university’s largest student organizations.

“The club at Loyola Marymount exists to this day, 35 years later, and they still go down every month but now they come to help us build houses,” Chris said.

The lasting approach to Build a Miracle’s mission is something North said makes their organization stand out from other home-building charities. While the organization could simply build a few homes and move on to the next family, North said there is also the concern of providing families with the skills they need to better their situations in the long run. Since the organization started, its has helped produce 18 college graduates from the assisted families, North said.

“We build probably fewer homes (than other organizations), but we build homes that last generations and we commit to the families themselves to break the cycle of poverty,” Chris said.

As for ways Scripps Ranch residents can get involved, Chris said the most effective method is gathering one’s friends and family members and making a fundraising goal.

“Whether it’s between one person, an entire class at Scripps Ranch High or whoever, (the goal is to) raise enough money to either furnish or build a whole home,” he said.

Visit buildamiracle.net to learn more.

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