Girls Come Together to Bring Joy to Kids with Cancer

When you mix college kids, little girls and crafts, you end up with glue-covered hands, pipe cleaners everywhere and lots of laughter. Girls With Purpose’s event this past Sunday at Whole Foods, Craft With Purpose, brought young women and elementary-aged girls together to give back to the community. Girls of all ages worked together to create care packages for kids in the cancer ward at Palmetto Children’s Hospital.

“We’re making cards and making stuff for kids like us but they have cancer,” said Mary Catherine, a bright and lively fourth grader at the event. “We’re going to be sending them to the children’s hospital and hope they brighten up everyone’s day.”

Girls With Purpose is a campaign that seeks to provide young girls with mentors to “empower these young girls to pursue leadership positions…and sometimes it’s hard for kids to get that kickstart, so we’re trying to help them along,” said Rachel Barnett, a senior PR major who has been working on the campaign since its inception this past August.

Girls With Purpose is a subset of its parent organization, With Purpose, which according to Barnett is “a youth-led movement to find safe and effective treatment options for kids with cancer.” With Purpose was created after its founder's 3-year-old son, Sam passed away after a battle with cancer. For Barnett, Craft With Purpose was both a way to tie Girls With Purpose back to the mission of its parent organization and a mentor-mentee meet-and-greet.

The girls painted canvases with things that made them happy as a homage to Sam, whose last words before he died were, “I am happy.” Mary Catherine painted a picture of butterflies and the sun “that represents that there’s always a little bit of light in your life.”

Attendee Natalie Fischer, 19, came to the event to help out and left knowing that she had made a difference. “It made me happy to know the kids were going to receive the things we worked hard on,” Fischer said, “Hopefully it’ll make them happy too.”

For Barnett and the rest of her team, this event was just the beginning of what they hope turns into a sustainable mentorship program. “Our hope is that the younger girls—the freshmen, the sophomores, the juniors—will continue on in the years to come.”

To donate to With Purpose or find out how you can help, visit their website.