Solana Beach community ‘play date’ raises money for a special fifth-grader


By Claire Harlin

If there’s anything that makes Solana Beach special, it’s the entire community coming together to help raise money for one standout kid to go on a study abroad trip this summer.

That’s what happened recently for Rubie Wexler, an Eden Gardens resident who was chosen by People to People to represent Southern California as a Student Ambassador. Rubie, a 5th grade student at Skyline Elementary, is one of 28 delegates nationwide to get to go on a study abroad program throughout Western Canada in July.

In order to make the trip possible, her family came together to plan a “community play date” on May 20 at La Colonia Park to help raise money for the trip. More than 350 attended the public event, which featured hula dancers, a magic show, zumba, a bake walk, face painting, shaved ice, funnel cakes and a variety of local vendors.

All proceeds from sales, a raffle and silent auction also benefited Rubie’s endeavor, said her mom, Lisa Wexler.

“We have a big family and we love parties,” said Wexler of the event. “So I decided we’re just going to throw it all out there and make a bam out of this.”

Wexler said she is so proud of her daughter and that it’s no surprise Ruby was chosen for this honor.

“When you meet Ruby, she’s just so amazing,” said Wexler. “She’s not even an all ‘A’ student, but she’s an ‘A-B’ student and she’s got a big heart. She helps the kids and she helps the staff … If someone gets hurt on the playground, she’s the one who will help, even if everyone else walks away.”

Wexler said Rubie, who wants to be a veterinarian someday, is the type that will speak her mind, yet she’s very caring — “a good, well-rounded little girl.”

On Rubie’s two-week study abroad, she will travel to different Canadian cities and learn about the history and customs of each along the way.

Rubie has also been selling homemade “Salsalicious” salsa made by her aunt, Margie Mongenel, for months to raise money for the trip. Mongenel runs a food truck called Margie’s Shuck Wagon, which serves up roasted corn, loaded baked potatoes, corn salsa and a number of other Mexican food-inspired dishes at local farmers’ markets and private events.

“The big picture is to fund this trip for Rubie, but it’s also about bringing together the community,” said Wexler. “I thought it would be good to help local businesses drum up some support.”

To contact the Wexlers or to purchase homemade salsa to benefit Rubie for $5 per jar, call (858) 794-0916.