Parkland teenagers impact the world with their web-based nonprofit, one bracelet at a time


When Sofia Rothenberg was 11 years old, she crafted bracelets with a handful of colorful beads and a spool of stretchy fabric. It began as a summer camp pastime. But by the end of the summer, demand was up. Everyone wanted a bracelet like hers.

So during the following school year, in 2015, Sofia partnered with her two best friends to continue her summer activity. 

The three girls created 3 Heart Strings, an international, web-based nonprofit organization that donates proceeds to a different charity every month. 

Different bracelets made by 3 Heart Strings for different charities, worn by those in the Gainesville community (Emily Palazzotto/WUFT News).

In 2018, there was a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the girls hometown of Parkland, Florida. Two days later, they had an idea. 

Their bracelets had the ability to make an impact beyond international charities. They could make a difference in their own backyard. 

“We always wanted to help people, that is why we chose a new charity to support different people every month,” Rothenberg said. “But we never thought that we would be giving back to something literally in our own backyard.”

Earlier this month, Feb. 4 marked the four-year anniversary of the shooting, and the nonprofit is still finding ways to show support for the families of the victims. 


Since 2018, 3 Heart Strings has raised $180,000 for the families of the victims who were killed during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting (Emily Palazzotto/WUFT News).


Since 2018, 3 Heart Strings has raised about $180,000 for people like Jen Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the MSD shooting. 

“The way this organization stepped up for us and the other families who lost a loved one was truly amazing,” Guttenberg said. “Their kindness and generosity still continue even four years later.”

Jackie Snytte, 20, is a Parkland native and MSD alumni who proudly wears her “MSD Strong” bracelet on Gainesville’s University of Florida campus.

“It will always mean something to me, even if I don’t always wear it,” she said. “Everyone has it, and it’s still a reminder that we were together at the time.”

The nonprofit partnered with the family of Sophia Lambert, who was killed in a pedestrian crash last year. 

Lily Dvorchik, 19,  Lambert’s sorority sister who was also injured in the crash said she still wears her bracelet a year later. She was bedbound, recovering when she was gifted her orange and blue bracelet, branded with the letters “SL” on it.

“It’s something cute that people can wear on their wrists to show our support for her, and show that they remember her,” Dvorchik said. “I know that I don’t want her legacy to ever be forgotten.” 

In honor of Sophia, 3 Heart Strings raised and donated $1,245 to Camp Jenny in May 2021, a summer camp where she was a counselor for four years.

Gabby Fisher, 18, who is the acting vice president of the nonprofit said it is touching to see the difference the organization’s bracelets make. She cherishes the bonds made with those they donate to, and the relationships that last after that charity’s month comes to an end. 

“This little act that we do really impacts people so much,” Fisher said. 

Taylor Benson, 18, said it is moving to see how the organization has had an impact on the community, in both her home and college town. 

“Now that I’m graduated, sometimes I get carried away with my new life. Having my bracelet is a nice, calming and positive reminder of what happened and the support system that I have,” she said. “I bet other people feel that way too about their bracelets.”

She said the bracelet also reminds her of those she’s lost, and those who will always be with her.

“It’s something special,” said Dvorchik. “I like to be aware and see the different types of people that are wearing their bracelets, no matter what the cause is for.”

Looking down and seeing a bracelet for something important to you is a daily reminder that there is more to life than school and work, said Benson. 

“We never want people to forget what happened, whatever it may be, and 3 Heart Strings has helped create mementos so that nobody ever will,” Snytte said. 

Rothenberg said when she and the founding members of 3 Heart Strings graduate high school and move away to attend college, the business will follow them. They will look for local charities and causes to donate to in new cities where their bracelets can make an impact.

About Emily Palazzotto

Emily is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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