Monday, April 1, 2013

Philanthropy, Fashion and Fun

11-Year-Old Philanthropist 
Lets Her Fingers Do the Fundraising

Philanthropy, fashion and fun intertwined when 11-year-old Emma Geertgens hooked her friends, her grandmother and even her brother into helping crochet hats to raise money for the Burlington County Animal Shelter

When Emma’s family was looking for a family pet, they had visited the Burlington County Animal Shelter in Westhampton,NJ.  Emma was surprised and saddened to see so many animals waiting to be adopted.  The family eventually adopted a big, sad-eyed boxer named Betty, and Emma never forgot the trip. A Currency of the Heart seed was planted during that visit.

Completely engaged in life, Emma is always playing field hockey, roller-skating or biking. At home she is baking, reading, writing poetry, practicing the cello and crocheting.

Emma crocheted a stylish hat that all her friends loved. When she realized how popular the hats were becoming, Emma decided to sell her creations at the local Christmas fair to raise money for the animal shelter.

Instinctively Emma connected the dots. Her love of animals, the popular hats, and her enjoyment of a holiday fair in years past pulled all the pieces of the project together.  A designer, entrepreneur and a philanthropist emerged.

Emma’s  hobby took on a life of its own.  Her hands became a crocheting machine. She walked, talked, and watched TV while crocheting hats. One hat, one flower, finished in one hour. Done. Next.

After enlisting the help of friends and family last November, Emma set up a table at her local holiday fair and offered her hats for sale from inventory and made-to-order in additional colors.

This project captivated Emma’s imagination, delighted customers with a colorful accent to winter fashions, and helped the animal shelter. When all the orders were fulfilled, Emma tallied the results: $421 earned! Last Thursday she presented a check for that amount to Jackie Daniels, manager of the Burlington County Animal Shelter.

No one could have been happier than Emma, except of course, the folks at the shelter. Emma had turned her Currency of the Heart into cold, hard cash to support abandoned animals. 

Rosemary Williams launched Currency of the Heart to inspire readers to “pay it forward” from the heart’s most precious currency. We’d love to hear from you! To share your story or to request permission to republish this blog post, please email

© 2013 Rosemary Williams

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