Amber is a twelve year old, sixth grade student going to a local middle school in Lowell. She really enjoys being creative. Her creativity is expressed in her writing, acting, chorus, cooking and her personality. Her passion for writing began when she was very young when she learned that writing was a great way to express her emotions, especially when she felt upset. In first grade she started attending Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell and has developed from a once shy child to a vibrant young woman.
She credited most of her learning from Girls Inc. programs and the support that come from staff there. The learning experiences are structured differently than the typical classroom. She has become more socially active, more productive and has a stronger interest in the world around her.
Leah Okimoto from Aaron’s Presents had come to Girls Inc. to introduce a grant program for young people with ideas. Amber had the opportunity to apply for a grant and begin developing a small idea into something more tangible. Her idea was to develop a reading program for young children – with a particular focus on mermaids. Her fascination with mermaids came out of watching different online video series about mermaids. Leah Okimoto helped make the connections with the American Textile History Museum to hold a reading program there. From this introduction, Amber was hoping to first purchase a mermaid tail, yet Denise Webb from the textile museum offered to help Amber make her own mermaid tail.
This was one of the most extensive sewing projects Amber had completed. The mermaid tail was made to fit her, with growing room, and is versatile. Not only can she read mermaid stories to young kids while wearing her tail, she also hopes to further her project by going to kids’ swimming pool parties as a mermaid since the tail is made out of swimsuit material. The largest challenge for Amber during making the tail was learning how to pin the fabric properly without hurting herself.
She had been very nervous before reading to nearly twenty young children that attended the February vacation reading program at the American Textile History Museum. However, after the program was over she was very excited to share her experience. She was really surprised how engaged the young children were, with little ones in the back wanting to choose the next story and others asking her questions. She felt she made a positive impression on these kids and looks forward to possibly reading at local libraries, becoming more involved in the community, and hopes to babysit for local youth one day.