By Indu Paudel, Rotaract Club Of Tinau Butwal, Nepal
Given the choice between crayons and pencils, I’m sure most kids would go for the crayons almost every time. We hope in color, we dream in color and we are happy when the world around us is colorful. But what happens when children don’t have access to crayons? When they don’t even know what a colored pencil is? I can only imagine their world is a little darker, theirs dream are a little smaller and their hopes aren’t quite as hopeful as their coloring peers. But all children deserve bright, colorful future, right? which is why 14-year-old girl from Pennsylvania has made it her mission to bring color to the lives of children everywhere to promote individual expression and creativity through arts. Her dream is for every kids to have their own box of crayons.
I was really blown away by this young girls altruism and compassion that we had special conversation regarding her dream, ideas and story. Talking with her she’s even more amazing than I thought. And here’s our conversation during her visit to Lumbini as part of the 2019 Humanitarian Mission to Nepal.
Indu: when did you start COLOR FOR KIDS, and why?
Bethany: I realize that not all kids have their own crayons, and that made me very sad and I wanted to do something to change that so, I was able to start COLOR FOR KIDS -a charity that’s helping kids all around the world experience a life full of color in November 2015 when I was 9 years old.
Indu: what inspired you to start it?
Bethany: I believe that all kids should be able to create art. The best part of art is that anyone can just do it and do it right, because there is no such a thing as wrong art. You don’t even have to show it to anyone. Coloring can be therapeutic, it can bring joy or it can just be fun. It helps to express their feelings when they are mad, sad, or excited. They can color -its easier to write things down or color something instead of talking to someone. Some feelings just feel like color more than they feel like word. I was inspired to start the program when a pen pal informed me that students in Alabama did not have access to basic art supplies. with help of classmate, we collected two big boxes and sent them to a class in Alabama -they were so happy and excited.
Indu: what’s your favorite color?
Bethany: I love all types of color but choosing one green is my favorite, it’s beautiful, relaxing, and fresh like plant.
Indu: what do you like to do for fun in your free time?
Bethany: I love art and coloring but reading might be my favorite thing of all to do. I read every chance I get. I love to read all the times, I also like to play golf, field hockey and tennis. I love to travel and visit all cities kids with carrying crayons . I keep changing my mind about what I want to be when I grow up. Sometimes, I think a bookstore owner other times a park ranger. I even think being a cultural anthropologist would be cool.
Indu: can you share your favorite moment that made feel really good about what you are doing?
Bethany: Every moment sharing a colored pencil to a kids, seeing their excitement and jolly face, coloring together with them makes me feel happy. I also get beautiful thank you pictures and letters that kids make and send to me, they were so amazing that I cried but it was happy crying. I have met a lot of kids who have never owned their own box of crayons or had their own coloring book. I couldn’t imagine that before I started sharing colors.
Now I see, how special it is, and how much it means to have a way to express yourself through art. The huge smiles and hugs make me want to do it again and again, more and more.
Indu: what do you feel about Nepal ? What did you do with color for kids here ?
Bethany: Nepal is amazing and a gorgeous and a colorful country combines with beautiful Himalayan views, golden temples, charming hill villages and Jungle wildlife watching to offer my attention and love. I didn’t want to leave such a gorgeous country filled with beautiful innocent and kind people. I carry 6000lbs of color supplies with me when I came here almost half is shared with kids and remaining we will share all over Nepal and there will be more kids having Color to art supplies and have a colorful living.
Indu: What are your future goals for color for kids?
Bethany: I don’t want to stop sharing color until every kid has his or her own box of crayons but more kids who need color are born everyday -it would be difficult to catch up with every single one.
For now, I just plan to keep sharing color for as long as I can. I love helping make other kids happy and I really hope to never stop.
Indu: Do you have any advice for other kids who want to help make the world better place, just like you?
Bethany: My advice would be to always speak up. If you have an idea dare to share it. More than anything just be kind by being kind you can change the world and make it better place to live.
Thanks to totally awesome kid, Bethany. She is an inspiring young lady who has vision to see underprivileged kids create with color . I would like to thank her for her precious time sharing her thoughts and visiting Nepalese kids with crayons and love. Also, I am thankful to Dr. Tulsi R. Maharjan, PDG RID 7475 sir for providing me such a tremendous opportunity to share the school supplies and love to kids. And also thankful for the 2019 The Asha project Humanitarian Mission team.