ODESSA, Fla. — Odessa 8th grader Emily Nelson has a million dollar smile.
But the 13-year-old Walker Middle School student is certainly not always happy. Far from it these days.
“My friends struggle, and I struggle too,” she said. “You never know what people are going through.”
She says the past two years have been difficult for her and her classmates.
“My friends get so negative,” she said.
So Nelson decided to do something about that pervasive blue mood after his mom gave him a pep talk.
“When I was struggling a little, my mother would always tell me to find joy,” she said.
A few weeks ago, she launched her ‘Finding Joy’ clothing line: brightly colored homemade shirts, shorts and sweatshirts emblazoned with this uplifting reminder to seek out things that make us happy.
The clothes and the mission are a success. She has already made and sold over 100 “Finding Joy” items.
Nelson donates a portion of the proceeds to three different mental health organizations: the American Association for Anxiety and Depression, the International Foundation for OCD, and the Center for OCD in South Florida.
Nelson’s father, Rob, principal of Sumner High School, is proud of his daughter for encouraging students to talk openly about how they feel.
“Over the past two years, the kids have really isolated themselves and been lonely,” Rob said. “We need to let them know it’s okay to come out and talk about it.”
To order “Finding Joy” products, click here or email [email protected]