Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Girl On A Mission

Read the story of how one 8 year old girl from North Carolina is using her entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity to help raise money for her youth group to build a home with Casas por Cristo in Guatemala. Cecilia's story inspired us, we have no doubt it will inspire you too!!
(This story was originally written by her parents here.)

I’ll just go ahead and say it…this post is unabashed praise for my sweet little girl. Uh huh, my peacock feathers are WIDE open. At 8 (and a 1/2, she will remind you) our youngest dauther, Cecilia, has shown us just how incredibly huge her heart already is by taking on a task born in her own head, to help others.

Rewind two weeks ago to a Sunday evening youth service. We are so blessed at Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, to have an amazing youth director in Steve Keaton. Our youth group is one of the largest in town and super active, mainly because of Steve and the wonderful youth volunteers. Each Sunday evening our youth group gathers and once a month, instead of the usual gathering, they have their own worship service. On this particular Sunday, I happened to be at church helping to serve dinner to the youth. So when the service started, my two older kids, who are youth members headed into the service. Not wanting to be left out, Celia joined right in. I poked my head in a couple of times amidst the kitchen cleanup and was delighted to see her standing on the front row dancing and singing praise music right beside her big brother. What a treat to see how taken she was with the whole concept.
I knew in advance that Steve encouraged the youth to come to the service because “they would have the opportunity to leave with cash” but I had no idea of what he had planned. Well of course, we had a great turnout…I mean what a fabulous way to attract kids! What the youth didn’t know is that they would be challenged. During the service, Steve spoke to the youth about the Parable of the Talents. And as they left, each was allowed to place their hand in a big box full of cash and pull out a bill. Then they were asked to take that bill and double it and bring it back to the church in a few weeks. All of the money collected would go towards sponsoring some of our youth to go to Guatemala this summer on a mission trip. In the box were 5′s, 10′s and 20′s.
Again, not seeing herself as any different from the big kids, little missy stuck her hand right in the box and pulled out a ten dollar bill. And immediately her mind was whirling and before she even got to the car she had an idea brewing. You see, recently Celia has been taking sewing classes. It has been the most wonderful experience. She is naturally gifted in this area…full of patience, detail oriented and creative. She also has a great eye for color and patterns and just does incredibly meticulous work…especially for an 8-year-old. One of their recent sewing projects was an adorable, reversible headband and she was certain she could make some and sell them to double her money.
So off she went to sewing class the following Thursday with a bag of fabric we had on hand…and she walked out with finished headbands! Over the course of the next two days she made more with other fabric we purchased. By Sunday morning, she had 19 headbands in her bag that she planned to sell for $3 a piece. On the way into the service, I mentioned to Steve about her project and he took a moment during the service to tell about Celia’s entrepreneurial spirit in the name of a cause. Following the service Celia was flooded with onlookers and customers shoving cash into her precious little hands. I wish I had my camera at the time to capture the look and amazement in her eyes. She was overwhelmed…and out almost of inventory! Yep, the end of the day she had turned her $10 into $69!
So needless to say, the Odoms have turned their basement into somewhat of a mini sweatshop. What began as a one-girl operation, has turned into a family project. We have had the most wonderful time working together to support her as she makes more headbands to take to various places this week hoping to increase the amount of money she gives back to the church.
Of course, I had to take a few images of my girl hard at work and showcase some of her fabulous pieces. Yes, folks, you may be looking at the next Project Runway winner!

Love the concentration on her face!
Above, sporting one of her favorite patterns.


Some of this week’s designs are shown above…get ‘em while they’re hot!

A finished piece.

No doubt, we have all learned something from Celia’s willingness to take an idea and literally run with it…never thinking that failing was an option. She jumped right in without hesitation because she knew she had been called to help others. I’m quite sure much of her inspiration has come from watching her older sister, Lydia, as she prepares for her mission trip this summer and I am very grateful for the example she has set for both her brother and sister. It should also not go unnoticed that both of my other children have at least doubled their money to give back as well. But the extent to which Celia took this has been inspiring, to say the least. I’m constantly amazed at how much we can learn and be inspired by our children. Makes me smile!
Also, a huge shout out to Steve Keaton for coming up with such a creative way to challenge our youth! Can’t wait to see what comes of it!

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