|Barre3 Ft. Thomas. Virtual classes available! Gift card too. 90 Alexandria Pike, Fort Thomas.|
Late summer Mya Beets, a 4th grader at Woodfill Elementary, drew a picture of a woman with blue hair wearing a red mask. That drawing sparked a fundraising effort that will benefit many local men and women experiencing homelessness this winter.
“My mom liked it and put it on Instagram and then I drew more,” Beets says.
She drew nine more, people from her imagination, all different except for one constant – a mask.
Beets says one of her mom’s book-club friends said if those drawings were on a notecard, she’d buy it. “So we designed them and my mom said we could print them and start selling them and I made a video and my mom posted the video on Facebook,” Beets says.
But Beets’ motivations to make money went beyond her personal piggy bank. Instead she wanted all proceeds to be given to the Emergency Shelter of NKY (ESNKY).
“About two years ago we took some extra dessert or some chocolates over there and my mom’s friend is the director – her name is Ms. Kim,” Beets says. “And she took us on a tour of the emergency shelter and we got to see where they store the food and where they slept and all that kind of stuff and we got to see their building and I thought that would be a good place because it must be hard to be open during a pandemic.”
ESNKY opened in 2008 at 634 Scott St., Covington, as a response to homelessness by providing cold weather shelter for adult men and women. On December 15, ESNKY broke ground on a new 9,000-square-foot facility at 436 W. 13th St., Covington, which will double the shelter’s current capacity. The new facility will also provide guests with daytime mental health services, help with job searches, shower facilities and a place to do laundry.
Also on December 15 ESNKY moved its overnight shelter to Newport, which will allow them to shelter 50 adults this winter compared to the 24 that is allowed at the Scott St. location with social distancing in mind.
“We were offered space and asked by Campbell County Judge Executive Steve Pendery along with Campbell County Jailer Jim Daley to use the empty building since they knew the reduction of emergency shelter beds could be catastrophic and deadly since more people need services,” says Kim M. Webb, ESNKY’s executive director. “This is a huge win for Newport, Campbell County, ESNKY and our region, but more importantly for the human beings that need an immediate bed to sleep in.”
Beets made her video (she said she was only a little nervous and it took a few takes) in front of her family’s Christmas tree. Her mom posted the video and immediately orders –and comments – started coming in:
“So cool that Mya is using her artistic talent for good.”
“Very proud of you Mya. Your original collection of masked girls is beautiful. Though we might feel hidden wearing masks, your girls have expression and voice. Like you!!!”
“We are using them as Christmas cards. Thanks again, Mya!”
Beets’ teacher, Tina Reynolds, took note, too. “As a teacher, one of my main goals has always been to guide my students to become engaged, kind and productive members of society,” Reynolds says. “Providing the skills necessary for this is just the first step. It is my hope and dream that as the students grow and mature they will use the skills I teach them to do amazing things. Mya is doing just that! This project shows a very sophisticated understanding of citizenship and highlights Mya’s caring nature and personality. I am certain she is going to continue to do great and creative things for others in her future. She is making a difference.”
Beets initially ordered 250 cards and quickly sold out. So her mom ordered 500 more. To date Beets has sold more than 70 packs (with eight to a pack), raising about $750, which includes some additional donations.
“It was a total surprise,” Webb says. “Her thoughtfulness and creativity will help many adults have a safe, warm place to sleep tonight. Doubling our capacity means doubling our fundraising efforts. Every card she sells helps an adult in need of an immediate bed to sleep to any adult man or woman. Mya is to be commended for her efforts to make NKY a better community to live in. I enjoy working students as they are our future.”
Beets has 25 packs left, available for local delivery. To order, contact her mom, Angel Beets, via text at 513-305-9444 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can Venmo Angel @angel-beets. Let her know your address, and they will drop them off. Angel and her husband, Marty, are covering printing costs so no overhead is taken out of the $10. All money goes directly to ESNKY.
On the back of each notecard is a quote: “We can make a difference.”
“I just thought about people who needed help, who needed help in the pandemic, and I thought, well, I can make a difference and I thought that would be a good line,” Beets says.
Beets says it’s important for people, especially kids, to help one another. “Just one small act of kindness can help somebody in a way you can’t even think of,” she says. “One small thing can help them so much that I just think it’s really important to do that because people can do something nice for some people who just need a little help to just get them started and hopefully that can help them to get back to what they were or get them to a new place or just kind of back on their feet.”
And with a little creativity, thoughtfulness and ambition, that’s exactly what Beets has done.