A series where we highlight people using their passions to make a difference in their communities.
Olivia Pedrick’s kitchen table is splattered with paint of every hue.
Every weekend, the 12-year-old sits down at her table in Ashland, New York and paints pictures of animals for family, friends, and random strangers.
“I really do like turtles and dogs. Turtles are a lot of fun to paint because you can add so many different kind of greens,” she says. “I like painting dogs because of the shading.”
Customers pay her $10 per painting, or more if they’d like, and the money goes to an animal charity of her choice. Right now, Olivia’s waiting list is three months long.
Olivia, who’s been painting since she was four years old, thought of the idea after seeing a woman from a local wildlife rehab center speak as part of the Kindness and Caring club at school. She loves art as much as she loves animals, especially dogs, and brainstormed with her mom Anabel ways she could help out.
She started by selling paintings at a local town event. In one afternoon she sold them all, and her mom set up a Facebook page shortly after.
Anabel takes care of the logistics – managing everything from her web presence to choice of charities – to give Olivia freedom to paint.
Still, finding the time can be a challenge for Olivia, who is also involved in Girl Scouts, karate, skiing and more in addition to having heaps of homework to do. School vacations and summers are when she gets the most amount of painting done.
“It’s a lot of work. But it’s totally worth it,” Olivia says.
Since she started two years ago, Olivia has made 70 paintings and donated over $6,000 to charities. She’s also inspired a girl in the Netherlands to undertake a similar project, and a few friends from school have said they’ve wanted to do it, too.
As to how long Olivia will continue to paint to help animals, she doesn’t even need to think twice about the answer.
“My whole life,” she says. “Definitely.”
Want to use your creative skills for good or know a youth in your life who does? Feel free to contact Anabel Lago-Pedrick, Olivia’s mom, for tips and advice on how to get a project like Olivia’s Art for Animals going.
Do you know someone who is taking a small step toward making their community better? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.