It's a lesson others could learn: Use a talent for the good of others.
Caroline Andrew, a pupil at Augusta Preparatory Day School, makes and sells pillows to benefit the American Red Cross.
Caroline Andrew learned to sew several years ago after taking lessons at Sewing Gallery in Martinez. With the gift of a sewing machine this past Christmas, the 11-year-old quickly learned to sew outfits, purses and pillows. After the Asian tsunami in December, the Augusta Preparatory Day School sixth-grader decided she could make pillows and sell them, with profits going to the American Red Cross.
After Hurricane Katrina hit in late August, she wanted to do the same thing.
"I felt really bad for them and I thought if I did something and didn't raise that much money, I'd still be helping them," said Caroline, the daughter of Mark and Tania Andrew, of Martinez. "It really made me feel good."
When she sold the 22-by-18-inch pillows earlier this year, she made $90; this time, the pillows sold like hotcakes and she had to continually fill orders. Her total sales netted $310.
"I spent about 15 minutes per pillow and made about 60 pillows," said Caroline, who credits older brothers Edward, 17, and Lawrence, 14, both students at Augusta Prep, for helping her sell the pillows to students in the high school. "They really supported me."
"I think it has taught her a lot of skills," mom Tania said of her daughter's sewing abilities. "It also relaxes her."
When she was making the pillows, which she sold for $5 each, Caroline had her mom's help. Tania would iron the fabric for her, while Caroline stitched and stuffed.
"She went in originally having made 15 over a weekend," Tania said. "Those sold and she got orders for more. We had to go back to the store to get more fabric and stuffing."
The entrepreneurial experience was very productive, Tania said.
"Her daddy said it was like a little factory," she said. "It was interesting to hear that little sewing machine going."
Caroline, who enjoys playing tennis and running cross country, also knows how to knit. It's a talent taught to her by her maternal grandmother, June Perrett, of England.
"She sewed pillows for two friends who were moving and she sewed pockets in them for them to put a teddy bear in," Tania said. "They got great satisfaction from them, and I think the idea to make pillows to raise money for the tsunami and hurricane victims stemmed from helping others feel good. She basically did it herself, and we are very proud of her."
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