BARNEGAT – Pretty blonde and blue-eyed Emma O’Brien ran into the Barnegat First Aid Squad for an acknowledgement she well earned.
Emma, who is 11 and attends the Horbelt School, was a bit red-faced after an evening basketball game. Although Emma’s schedule was jam-packed with activities, she found time to do something extra special.
A bit of an entrepreneur, Emma began stringing together beaded bracelets and offering them for sale. Each is unique and Emma finds her inspiration in matching colors and creates themes for different holidays and occasions.
“I first started selling bracelets by putting a table at the end of my driveway,” said Emma. “I would go there every other weekend and started off by selling five or six each weekend.”
Since Emma lives on a quiet street, she decided she needed a place with a little more exposure to promote sales. Her mom, Jenn O’Brien came up with the perfect place where people would see Emma’s work.
Deb Bower, who owns the Brunch Spot on the Waretown/Barnegat border, said the O’Briens have been coming to her place for years. She happily allowed Emma to set up a display and collected money for bracelets picked up by customers.
What happened next didn’t necessarily surprise Bower. It actually made her smile as she considered the generosity of the young girl she’d known from early childhood.
“For the last 12 years, we’ve been donating a portion of our October sales to the Barnegat First Aid Squad,” shared Deb Bower. “We call it a Pumpkin Palooza.”
As Bower tells it, she has a whole list of regular customers who look out for one another. Emma’s parents and grandmother are among the many who try to help those in need. When Emma asked Bower about the Pumpkin Palooza, the six-grader decided she wanted to do her share.
“I asked Miss Debbie to take $1 from each of my bracelet sales to include in the donations,” Emma explained.
According to Bower, the check donated to the First Aid Squad was over $500. A room filled with first aid volunteers applauded the young girl as she was presented with special recognition.
“We want to thank you so much for your generosity and kindness,” said a Barnegat First Aid Squad representative to Emma. “We hope you will be a beacon for other children your age to learn of generosity.”
As a token of their appreciation, the First Aid Squad presented Emma with a gift card to Michael’s – a gesture that will undoubtedly lead to the creation of more custom bracelets.
Emma’s craft business has grown to the point that she includes cards with each bracelet under the name “Beaded by Emma.” One weekend, Emma sold over $150 worth of her inventory at a local craft fair. Anyone looking for last minute gifts can stop in the Brunch Stop to see what Emma has for sale.