Daniel Clein couldn’t keep a smile off his face when he was watching children at Palm’s West Hospital play with Legos that he had just donated.
But when one of them gave him a quick handwritten note, his grin got even wider.
“Thank you Daniel for giving Lego sets to us. God bless you,” read the letter, written in black marker on a piece of printer paper.
Moments like that make the Wellington High School senior’s months of preparation all worth it.
“It melts my heart,” Clein said. “You have to remind yourself that this is what you’re doing it for.”
He started Bricks Busting Boredom more than a year ago, with a donation to Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s Hospital in Hollywood. This time he collected 230 pounds of used Legos and 50 boxes of new Legos for Palms West.
Clein has come far in the last year.
He successfully pitched his organization to the Palm Beach Philanthropy Tank in March, securing a $12,000 donation and mentoring from the program. He also got attention from the village, who made a “Hometown Hero” video about his work. He’s finishing up incorporating into a public nonprofit. And he started a Bricks Busting Boredom club at his school to carry on the effort locally after he goes to college.
Daniel’s mother Deb Clein said they’re “always in proud parent mode,” but she and her husband Ken Clein were beaming at the event.
“It’s gratifying to know that our kids want to be leaders and want to help other kids,” Ken Clein said. “To see that come to fruition is magical for us.”
The organizers of the Palm Beach Philanthropy Tank are also proud of how far Daniel has come. President Mike Kohner was happy he could see the smiles on the kids’ faces when they got to pick from a table full of Legos. The initiative funded 9 projects in its first year and is accepting applications for the next round, which will be picked in March 2017.
Clein hopes to continue to take the organization to new heights. He wants to have Lego drives in as many local schools as he can so he’s able to donate to more hospitals.
It’s a lot of work, but sitting on the floor with nearly 2-year-old Benjamin Cano, playing with Lego trucks is a great way to recharge his batteries.
“It’s not all contacting schools,” he said. “There are people’s lives that we are bettering.”