Bracelets made of colorful beads are stringing together people worlds apart, from Florida to Ukraine.
Lee County 10-year-olds Emma Kithcart and Adree Brann spent their entire spring break threading beads and charms, each one with a simple message of love and hope: “Choose happy.”
“We make the bracelet first and then we find stickers that match them,” Emma said. “In second grade we started making them but we never started selling them. And then, in fourth grade, we just started, we just decided to start selling them.”
Choose Happy would have been a hobby for most 10-year-olds, but it turned into a business and is now a mission of hope for children in Ukraine.
The two were selling their creations at an art show when Monica Fry decided to order 100 bracelets to ship to Ukraine.
“I was at the art show on Sanibel Island, I saw the two little girls,” Fry said. “I called the mother and I said, ‘Would you please ask the girls if they would be interested in making 100 bracelets?'”
That motivated the girls to make another 100 on their own dime.
The three strangers-turned-friends hope the simple messages put smiles on the faces of families trying to survive the war.
“I made one for the Ukrainian and then I made one for myself, so we could have matching bracelets,” Emma said.
“We just felt like it was the right thing to do because we felt bad for them,” Adree said.
“I was just inspired by the girls and their eagerness and they did not let me down,” Fry said.
Wondering how they’ll get the bracelets to Ukraine? They met a local couple involved in medical work overseas with contacts there. They’ve already shipped one batch of bracelets and are getting ready to ship another.
You can buy bracelets of your own at the girls’ website.