When Emma Sheare started seeing people’s reactions to the Russian war against Ukraine on TikTok, the 10-year-old from Port Alberni wanted to help citizens in the war-torn European country.
“I really wanted to help because I saw it all over the place,” she said. She watched the news with her grandmother and learned about what was going on. She decided she wanted to help raise money to send to Ukraine, and with the assistance of her mother chose two charities: Ukraine Canadian Congress National (UCC National) to help people, and Save Pets of Ukraine to help the animals left behind as people flee the country.
Sheare started making bracelets after her father bought her a couple of clay bead sets for Christmas. She used some of those beads to make the first bracelets for her fundraiser. “I wanted to make a bracelet and then I thought about Ukraine,” she said. “I really wanted to help.”
She saw a bracelet design on TikTok that she liked, so she modified it to make it her own. She had some alphabet letters and included beads spelling out “Ukraine” in her design.
Sheare has set a fundraising goal for herself: “One thousand dollars could give Ukrainians a lot of food so they could live,” she said. She wants to split her fundraising 50-50 for both of her chosen charities.
She has created more than 75 bracelets so far. Each one takes her approximately 15 minutes to make, and she creates them after school and dance classes. After her mother, Christi Leask, posted the bracelets for sale on several social media pages, orders started coming in and Leask has jumped in to help Sheare wherever she can. They have scoured stores for supplies. Sheare’s first bracelets were made with yellow and blue beads, the colour of Ukraine’s national flag, but they have had to be creative with different tones of blue and yellow.
Sheare already has some loyal supporters at John Howitt Elementary School and Elite Dance Academy, where her teachers and fellow students have purchased bracelets. Esther Fenton of Royal LePage Port Alberni-Pacific Rim Realty has also been a huge supporter, Leask said. Bracelets are available at Royal LePage on Victoria Quay (No. 4505) as well as Dr. Farid Nikfar’s dental office (100-4115 Sixth Ave.).
Sheare was close to raising her first $500 last week, and plans to send it to UCC National. She will raise the second $500 to send to Save Pets of Ukraine.
Although Leask has ordered beads for Sheare, they are looking for more. If anyone has yellow, blue or alphabet beads that they would like to donate, please contact Alberni Valley News editor Susie Quinn at 778-421-8061 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.