Chatham girl using art to help support residential school survivors

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A 12-year-old Chatham girl is showing her support for survivors of Indian residential schools.

Hayley Sowinski is making and selling orange bead bracelets for $2 each. All of the proceeds are going to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.

The St. Angela Merici Catholic school student said her class was recently talking about ways students could show support for residential school survivors after learning about the remains of 215 children being found using ground-penetrating radar on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.

“It made me actually feel pretty sad,” Hayley said of learning many Indigenous children were taken away from their families to attend residential schools and never returned home to their families.

She imagined what it would feel like if one her friends was taken away to this type of school and she never saw her again.

Hayley decided to make bracelets to show her support. She’s selling them her Facebook page – Hayley’s Creations.

“This has been all her idea,” said Hayley’s mom Amy. “The kid has a heart of gold.”

Hayley has raised funds in the past for local causes, including Chatham Outreach for Hunger food bank, the Chatham Goodfellows annual Christmas campaign and the Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre by selling bookmarks and scrunchies.

“It makes me feel really good because I know I’m doing good for others,” Hayley said of using her artistic talent to raise money for different causes.

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