8-Year-Old Entrepreneur Starts Apparel Line to Combat Homelessness
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A local girl who is wise beyond her years turned her compassion for the community into action.
Following a $1,900 donation last week to the Christian Center, 8-year-old entrepreneur Hadley Light received a gift from Mayor Linda Tyer to commemorate her clothing business that benefits the homeless.
"So when I called your dad, I said, 'Do you think it would be OK if I could meet Hadley?' Because you are really special," Tyer said on Monday. "You are really special. So thank you for doing what you did. Raising all that money for the Christian Center was really, really hard. Some of us grown-ups work to raise that much money. And you did it. You did it."
Hadley recently began selling T-shirts, bags, fanny packs, and drink koozies through her apparel company Waves, which donates all profits to two organizations working to fight homelessness in Pittsfield: The Christian Center and ServiceNet.
The young advocate was inspired to help unsheltered folks after seeing people without homes forced to sleep on the street. Light couldn't imagine the struggles those people were going through.
"I feel really bad for them," she said.
Her father, Leonard Light, said this donation is only the beginning, as his daughter will be continuing the business as long as possible.
"We're not done. It's only in that it's picked up a bit even since that first wave, no pun intended, of course, but again, the momentum has continued," he said. "What's been great is the way the community has reacted, I think we have a lot to be proud of as members of the community because everybody embraced the concept. It was a cute 8-year-old girl who embraced the concept of helping those that need help."
Astonished by Hadley's drive to help, Tyer said she called Leonard Light and requested that she have a brief, COVID-19 compliant meeting at City Hall to commend Light and give her a gift.
Tyer presented Hadley with Chelsea Clinton's book "She Persisted," which profiles 13 American women who helped shape the country, and noted that they were girls just like Hadley and herself.
"You are amazing. When we met in my office today with your mom and dad, you are only 8 years old. But you have already united your creative spirit," Tyer wrote to Hadley in the cover, "And your heartfelt kindness into generosity for our neighbors who are less fortunate. Please accept this gift for me. With my deep gratitude for the young girl that you are and for the young woman you will become. This book is filled with powerful stories about brave kind determined women who just like you have left a lasting legacy in the world. I can't wait to see the brilliant things. Next. Keep riding your wave."
Light and his wife, Kate Light, say their daughter is quite the young businesswoman and that they want to support her ideas.
"We wanted to jump on it, that's really what we thought," he said. "Holy moly, I don't ever remember thinking when I was 8 that I wanted to start a business, and so every time she comes up with an idea, she's had a couple of them, we want to try and do it and let her explore that sort of thing."
Hadley began with selling Waves merchandise — branded with three curls, or waves, overlapping in a circle — to relatives to make sure business was running swimmingly. After receiving all positive feedback, her parents shared the Waves website to their social media pages and sales blew up.
"I guess we thought they would be receptive to the idea and want to help but it's gone above and beyond what we were expecting," Hadley's father said. "We severely underestimated everyone's appetite for helping an 8-year-old girl."
One of Hadley's school friends is even interested in becoming a part of the business. After submitting an email on the Waves website voicing interest, the young man put a PowerPoint presentation together for Hadley and she conducted an interview.
The Lights say their daughter's teachers at Williams Elementary School are very proud of her, along with everyone who hears about what she has done.
Tags: donations, good news, homeless,