TAMPA, Fla. (December 4, 2017) — Michelina Damianakis is an 11-year-old girl with a heart of gold. At age 9, she started Floppies, a line of creative flip flops that she sells to raise money and buy toys for children at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.
The idea came to her after she was a patient at All Children’s Hospital in 2014. Her stay in the hospital came around her birthday. She was nervous and scared, but recalls receiving a birthday gift from the hospital that put a smile on her face. Now, she is working hard to make sure that children who find themselves in the hospital during the holidays receive the same kind of love and attention that she experienced.
“It makes me feel so good to give to others because they gave to me,” said Damianakis. “The best part is that I get to deliver gifts around Christmas time, so the kids who can’t go home will feel more at home and will have a happier holiday.”
Last year, Michelina raised $1,000 to spend on toys for the children at All Children’s Hospital. And on December 8, she will make her biggest donation yet thanks to The Watermark at Trinity and Watermark for Kids – a national nonprofit associated with Watermark Retirement Communities.
Michelina’s mother, Lisa, works as a personal trainer at Zone Fitness Club in Trinity. She also teaches art and exercise at The Watermark at Trinity – an assisted living and memory care community in Pasco county.
Over the last several months, residents and associates at the community have rallied behind Michelina as she worked toward her goal of raising $2,000. They hosted a bake sale, pink ribbon sale and held a 50/50 raffle. At the same time, Christina Barzelay nominated Michelina to be the community’s next Watermark Kid.
“In addition to giving back to children in the hospital, Michelina also volunteers with her mom at our community. She reads to residents, paints their nails, and even helps her mom teach exercise classes,” said Barzelay, who serves as the Community Life Director at The Watermark at Trinity. “She’s such a great kid and truly deserving of this honor.”
On November 17, The Watermark at Trinity presented Michelina with a check for $503.50 from their various fundraising efforts. They also surprised her with the news that she was named the next Watermark Kid and presented her with another check for $1,000, helping her exceed her goal by more than $200.
Michelina and residents of The Watermark at Trinity will be delivering gifts on Friday, December 8 at 2:30pm. The media is invited to attend. For more information of Floppies, visit their Facebook page or contact Lisa Damianakis at LisaFLemail@gmail.com.
About Watermark for Kids
Watermark for Kids is a national non-profit organization whose vision is to help deserving local kids thrive. Funds are raised through payroll deductions and fundraising projects spearheaded by residents and associates of 38 Watermark retirement communities nationwide. In return, Watermark Kids are asked to “pay it forward” by mentoring others and vowing to help another youth in their own unique way. To learn more visit www.watermarkforkids.org.
About The Watermark at Trinity
Located in Trinity, Fla., The Watermark at Trinity is a 117-apartment assisted living and memory care community in the Pasco County suburb of Trinity. Differentiators of the new community include certified associates, continuous care and hands-on educational programming. Owned and managed by Watermark Retirement Communities, The Watermark at Trinity is committed to creating an extraordinary community where people thrive.