The Gladiolus Project: Aiding the Most Vulnerable

Three teens try to make the world a better place by starting at home

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Three Carmel Valley teenagers are channeling a flower to help their community.

“When we did some research, we actually figured out that the gladiolus flower represents strength and empowerment,” said 16-year-old Sarah Mirsaidi.

Mirsaidi teamed with her friends Lily Pfeizer and Kyra Wu to start the Gladiolus Project.

“We’re trying to assist communities that are most affected by communicable diseases,” said Mirsaidi. “We’re really excited to reach our goal. It’s really exciting that we’ve gotten so close.”

Mirsaidi, a soon-to-be senior at Canyon Crest Academy, said the Gladiolus Project’s first beneficiary will be UC San Diego’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, which will put money in everything from studies to much needed equipment. The teens are trying to generate at least $1,000 with a GoFundMe fundraiser.

“They’re trying to improve environmental and community health and that’s what we want to try to do, too,” said Mirsaidi.

“UC San Diego is so is grateful for this support,” said Allison McKenzie Schneider, UC San Diego’s Deputy Director for Advancement Operations and Campaign. “Our philanthropic partners empower us to support the health and well-being of our students, health care workers, and the San Diego community. Gifts of all sizes from many donors have been critical in our momentum to ensure an agile response to COVID-19.”

Schneider said they’ve already received more than $1.5 million in donations from around the world. She said they also received nearly $6 million in gifts and in-kind contributions.

Mirsaidi said raising money for UC San Diego Health is just the Gladiolus Project’s first fundraiser.

“We were hoping that we could maybe make some care packages and things like that to send to communities that need help that are being most affected by this disease.”

Mirsaidi said they are also collecting personal messages for doctors and nurses. They’ll put them together to present to UC San Diego healthcare workers.

“Hopefully that can make them happy and cheer up their day a little bit,” she concluded.

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