Isolation has stood out as a common theme throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the Tri-Valley’s senior population.
Vulnerability to the virus forced senior citizens to cut off in-person contact with friends and loved ones. In response, a group of Pleasanton teens started a nonprofit organization, HappyArt, to combat isolation through handcrafted cards.
Led by the group’s president, Aditi Balakrishna, and vice president, Ishmeet Dhillon, HappyArt consists of 15 teens who create and send cards to senior centers, health care workers and firefighters.
“HappyArt's goal is to help support all those who need help and create a movement to empower others to do good in their communities,” said Ishmeet.
The organization got its start during May of last year as a way to show love to seniors in the community during the height of the pandemic.
According to Aditi, HappyArt was initially just a project among her friends and family to support local seniors. Their initial effort produced 100 cards, which they donated to the Pleasanton Senior Center.
Since last May, HappyArt has grown to include 15 card creators, and the team has produced a total of 754 handmade cards for various causes.
“Our talented card creators use their calligraphy skills to make impactful cards that we know the senior citizens will love,” said Aditi. “Even though most of us are in high school, we put our time and efforts into HappyArt, because it is a great way for us to show appreciation and just genuinely create smiles on seniors' faces.”
Above all, HappyArt aims to spread positivity in a time when people need it most. Through a simple handmade card, these teens hope to show their recipients that they’re not alone and that there are people out there who appreciate them.
“We know a card doesn't cure anything, but with each card, we hope to bring a smile on people's faces,” said Ishmeet. “HappyArt's one of many purposes is to bring hope and shed light, especially during hard times.”
HappyArt recently started offering community service hours for high school students as well. Students can earn 15 minutes of community service hours per card.