A 2013 Highland Park High School graduate, Ben Siegel understands he is privileged.
“We just wanted a way to give back to something we take for granted,” Siegel said about the charity he founded. “Just being able to attend all of these schools and then realizing there are so many kids that are probably just as smart as us, who will never have equal opportunities.”
During his winter break last year, Siegel and three of his friends wanted to give back.
So they formed a nonprofit and named it Lone Star Charity Two-Step.
For the charity’s first big gala, titled Lone Star Two-Step, Siegel and his partners decided to raise money for Vogel Alcove, a nonprofit dedicated to providing free child development to children of homeless families ranging from 6 weeks to 5 years old. The gala raised $30,000.
“We raised a lot of money for them,” said Mikey Bryant, secretary of Lone Star and a HPHS grad. “The more important thing was the awareness and people understanding what Vogel is.”
For the 2015 gala, Lone Star will donate its proceeds to Bryan’s House, a nonprofit that serves the needs of children and their families by providing medically managed childcare.
Siegel, who is studying business and Spanish at the University of Georgia, has plans to expand the charity to Atlanta.
He said he’s received positive feedback about the Lone Star gala because it incorporates parents and their kids.
“We all grew up seeing our parents go to these charity parties, but we didn’t really know what they were, so our goal is to integrate the two and have a parents and kids gala,” he said.
Siegel said he formed the charity with help from alumni of the Episcopal School of Dallas, Ursuline, Jesuit, St. Mark’s, and Parish Episcopal.
Bryant, a sophomore at the University of Texas, said a lot of college students don’t give back to their community, when they have plenty of time to do so.
Siegel said he came up with the idea on his own and while he’s had support from some teachers and his parents, it’s been all his doing.
“I want this to be around when I have kids my own age and hopefully they’ll be running it,” he said. “I think that would be cool if we could do that. It will be hard, but I think it will be cool.”