Words by Tess Becker
Going into middle school, most kids look forward to growing up: having a little bit more independence, perhaps, and spending time doing hobbies.
But 12-year-old Arsh Pal wants to use this time to support charities by making art, selling it, and donating all the proceeds.
It all started when he was eight years old, trying to find something he enjoyed. He came across drawing and painting. “I was exploring new things to do such as piano or karate,” Arsh tells Smiley News. “But when I did art, I just started getting better. For my 8th birthday, my mom and dad got me canvases and brushes and paint.”
Early on, he gave away small paintings to friends and family. But eventually, his elementary school’s principal let Arsh display his paintings for sale, some of which were bought by teachers.
“For my first customer, it was a small painting sold for 15 or 20 bucks and then I got new opportunities to sell my paintings,” Arsh says. “I've sold them at libraries and restaurants, and whoever wants to buy it can. I've also done art shows and art galleries, and live auctions.”
His first goal was to raise $1,000 for charity, something that people told him would be nearly impossible given his age. Not only has he raised $1,000 but far surpassed that raising over $16,000 to date.
Some of the charities that he’s taken interest in are St. Jude's Research Hospital, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Compass to Care Therapy Center, and Easterseals. He donated $10,000 to Easterseels in particular thanks to an art auction that he took part in there.
His goal now is to do at least $1,000 every year but would love to do more if it comes out that way.
“I would be happy if I kept it to myself, but it makes me even happier helping somebody with that money,” Arsh says. “And really helping somebody doesn't have to be with just money it can be being kind.”
As Arsh got better, he started teaching small art classes at a nursing home where his mom, Divya Pal, is an occupational therapist.
“They really enjoyed it since they're always wanting me back,” Arsh says. “My younger brother helps me out with all that, too."
He’s not totally sure what his future holds but he definitely wants his art to be a part of it. “My future goal is to provide free art lessons for kids," he adds, "because through art, anybody can express their feelings and emotions."
His mom, Divya, couldn’t be happier with what her son is doing.
“Arsh has been an inspiring person to many people,” Divya tells Smiley News. “We have lots of stories where people had an interest in art and then never pursued it but now they have started doing it back again to help support someone. A lot of people are inspired to do good, kind deeds.”