caitlyn-vastine_web.jpgFORT LAUDERDALE — Works of art created by fourth, fifth and sixth graders attending the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale’s summer program at the AutoNation Academy of Art and Design are expected to help encourage the donation of school supplies for kids in need.

The paintings, which were selected by a panel of judges, will be used to decorate containers donated by Waste Management and placed in 10 Broward County McDonald’s owned by Rio Vista Management Group.

The containers are being used to collect school supplies for the Broward Education Foundation’s Kids In Need Resource Center in Pompano Beach. The center serves more than 6,100 teachers working in Broward County’s poorest schools.

The Tools for Schools drive will start on Saturday following a free family kick-off event. Those who donate a school supply item will receive a McDonald’s coupon.

Items needed include pencils, dry erase markers, paper, composition books and glue sticks.

“Anyone can become an artist but, if you give, you grow,” said fourth-grader David Friend, who attends Beachside Elementary School in Hollywood. His painting depicting a silhouette of a person will be one of the pieces on the collection bins.

Another piece created by Lauren Keeling, 10, a fifth-grader at Aventura Waterways, shows an image of art supplies being put into a bin with a student enjoying art as a result.

Other students whose works will appear on the containers are  Caitlyn Vastine-Smith, and Alexys DaSilva, fifth-graders, at Parksprings Elementary School in Coconut Creek; Frances Aldana, a sixth-grader, at Hollywood Academy of Arts and Sciences; Isabel Yianilos, a fourth-grader at J.C. Mitchell Elementary School in Boca Raton; Sarah Bauman, a fifth-grader at Bayview Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale; Alexandra Knapik, a fourth grader at Bayview; and Isabella Escabar, a fourth-grader from Georgia who is spending the summer with her father in Hollywood.

Judges of the art work include Anthony Lauro, deputy director, Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale; Jorene Jameson, president and CEO, Broward Education Foundation; Bill Ellis, Pirtle Construction and board member, Broward Education Foundation; Christa Johnson, paralegal, Waste Management; and Rory Cooksey, market manager, McDonald’s.

Since it was founded in January 2001, the Kids in Need Resource Center has provided more than $2 million in new school supplies to teachers in Title 1 schools.   In 2011, the center moved to a new 8,000-square-foot location in Pompano Beach, where more donations can be stored and more teachers can get supplies for their students.

“On average, teachers spend $1,000 of their own personal funds to help equip their classrooms,” said Jameson. “As the sixth largest school district in the nation, Broward County has more than 130 Title I schools, with more than 52 percent of the families struggling to equip their children for the new school year.  Our store helps teachers help kids get the supplies they need to learn properly.”

Donation bins will be located through Aug. 14 at the following McDonald’s:
• 1310 S. Federal Hwy, Dania Beach
• 4101 SW 64th Ave., Davie
• 4701 S. State Road 7, Davie
• 1630 S. Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale
• 1600 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, in Broward General Hospital
• 1201 State Road 84, Fort Lauderdale
• 111 N. Federal Hwy, Hallandale Beach
• 835 W. Hallandale Beach Blvd., Hallandale Beach
• 3501 Johnson St., Hollywood

Other companies participating in the drive include Broad and Cassel, Bank of America, Whole Foods, Tropical Coast Bank, Mahoney and Associates, University of Phoenix, Kaplan, PNC and Florida Atlantic University.

WHAT: Tools for Schools school supplies drive launch.

WHEN: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Saturday, July 30

WHERE: McDonald’s restaurant, 300 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale 
Free. Visitors who donate school supplies will get a McDonald’s coupon.

WHOM TO CALL: For more information, call Mari-Lee Baxter, Broward Education Foundation, 754-321-2034, or e-mail


Budding ARTIST: Caitlyn Vastine-Smith