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Extending a helping hand from Atlantic Beach to the Bahamas

Children of New York Beach Club members collect for Dorian victims

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After Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas, Atlantic Beach resident Teddy Candella was determined to help, and enlisted family, friends and the New York Beach Club to assist.

Diana Candella said that her 10-year-old son Teddy, came up with the idea to raise money and for storm victims after seeing the devastation in the Bahamas unfold. “He came up to me and said he wanted to help out,” Candella, an Atlantic Beach native and Lawrence High School alumna said. “He decided to get his two siblings involved and we went down to the beach club with art supplies to make signs to convince others to donate.”

Teddy’s sister Danielle, 9, and brother Dylan, 6, joined in on the efforts that began on Sept. 14 and ended Sept. 29. They also had some friends join them as Summer and Ethan Jacobson, the children of beach club owner Alex Jacobson, also helped. “I felt bad for the people that got caught in Dorian and I wanted to do something to help them out” Teddy said. “If you help others, hopefully others will be inspired to pay it forward and do the same.”

Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas as a category five hurricane on Sept. 1. Top speeds were measured at 185 miles per hour. The death toll is 53 and more than 1,000 people are still missing as of Oct. 3.

Bob Sands, the beach club’s director of marketing, said he overheard the children talking about the storm at the club. “The kids were watching the TV and seeing footage of the devastation in the Bahamas,” Sands said. “Diana then mentioned to me how the kids expressed in interest in helping out the people of the Bahamas and I thought that was a great idea.”

Sands noted it was extra thoughtful of the children to come up with this idea since Atlantic Beach residents lived through the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. “The devastating storm that the Bahamas was just hit with is something that we all went through with Sandy,” he said. “This is something that touches all of us here in Atlantic Beach.”

The efforts led Sands to put up a post on the beach club’s Facebook page asking for money donations. $175 was donated through the Facebook post. Sands said the fundraiser has been a great way for people to get connected at the beach club. “It is always great seeing families come together at the beach club,” he said. “It’s beautiful to see people helping other people.”

Candella noted her appreciation for the beach club for allowing and promoting the donation fundraiser. “It’s so exciting to see young kids think of doing something like this fundraiser,” she said. “Not every beach club would be supportive of this like New York Beach Club has been.”