What is creativity? People think the simple deﬁnition is artistry in any form: dancing, singing, acting, designers, illustrators…But, what they do not know is that creativity is individuality. It is a form of expression of human passion and feeling. When you think about it, everyone is creative, different, and unique to themselves, that’s what makes us all special!
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast of the US leaving in it’s wake ruins of homes, lives, and schools; those affected were forced to rebuild. At the time, my sister, Tehya Rose and I lived in New York City and decided we were not going to idly stand by and watch as others reconstructed the city we call home. We wanted to help in any way we could, but because of our young age (I was 11 and my sister was 14) we were turned down by many organizations and weren’t allowed to help. “You’re too young” people would say, but, what really is the right age to start giving back to your community and helping those around you? We were brought up to help whenever we could, and being told no was just even more of a motivation to us.
We decided to raise money to help Sandy survivors in the best way we knew how: using the arts and creativity 🙂 In the United States there is not a lot of money set aside for natural disasters because some politicians see them as too atypical to create a relief fund, so, when Sandy struck, we were not so surprised when the arts were being cut in schools that needed more money to help rebuild and recover what once was due to this terrible disaster. In one particular school we worked with, the arts budget was gone and being used on repairs to the school gym. Realizing that this was a way to help because it was something we knew and were passionate about, Tehya and I created our do-good business: 13 Wishes by @theyasisters with the goal to raise money for the arts in places that are limited or non-existent. What also was super important to us was creating 13 Wishes in a way that kids could give back to kids, similar to how Ignite is a social good platform by kids for kids.
The two of us, along with a neighborhood art studio, started off making and selling bracelets and over the course of a few weeks more and more of our friends wanted to be involved! We combined efforts and it was kind of like a bake sale at lunch time, but with bracelets, or whatever else they wanted to make to help raise funds. It was a way to involve lots of kids from all over the US and bring them together for a cause they felt passionately about. Tehya and I believe it’s so important to have giving back be related to what you are passionate about so it stays with you for the rest of your life.
Our ﬁrst project was an arts day at a school in New York and seeing the smiles on their faces showed Tehya and I how important creativity is an a child’s life and how it can be used as a sort of therapy, especially from a life-changing disaster. Without the arts and an outlet for creativity, we would not be who are today, and it should never be taken from kids. The arts are just as important as English, math, and science; artists help to shape the world as well, we can never forget that.
My sister Tehya and I founded theyasisters.com; as a place dedicated to share a glimpse into our world of rad friends, beauty inside and out, and fun videos to make you smile. It’s a space for our really awesome-sauce friends to share how and what they do everyday. It is more beneﬁcial to give back when you have a platform ﬁlled with other people to support you, and I think that is what my sister and I have created with The Ya Sisters. We hope you will check it out, and join our crazy fun adventures! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Maya Jade Frank
Photos by Anna Zhang