Two girls sell art to buy defibrillators, Christmas gifts for needy

Aug 26, 2013

Maggie Hartman (left) and Hannah Gooding (right) hold the gifts they made for eachother.
Credit Elizabeth Geese

Hannah Gooding and Maggie Hartman are two little girls who have made a big difference through their art. 

Hannah Gooding, of Fennville, is eight years old and has been painting for over a year. When asked, Hannah says her favorite things to paint are owls. She also does nature themes and her signature hand-prints. Hannah paints every week and sticks to acrylic paints. Aside from painting, Hannah also as a knack for making bracelets in under a minute.

"I make friendship bracelets," says Hannah.

She does all of this for the Wes Leonard Heart Team. The Wes Leonard Heart Team lobbies for all schools to have Automated Electronic Defibrillators, better known as AED's. Hannah has raised over fifteen hundred dollars for the Heart Team and has sent her paintings all over Michigan, and even to states as far away as Texas. She says she got the idea to paint for charity from her mother.

"My mom, she went to an AED training class and then I found out they needed more AED's and I just wanted to help buy some for schools that don't have any," she says.

Hannah's mom, Angie Gooding, says she supports her daughter fully.

"I think she [Hannah] has realized she can do whatever she wants if she puts her mind to it and she can really accomplish whatever she wants to do," says Gooding. "I'm really proud of her. I'm just so amazed at what she has done and how much she has been able to raise."

Hannah isn't the only young person making a difference. Maggie Hartman of Hudsonville was only four years old when she started gardening. Now at the age of seven, she has become an expert when it comes to flowers. She has a hand painted brightly colored fence surrounding her garden and says her favorite flower to grow is the dahlia. Maggie uses the flowers she grows to make bouquets that she sells for one dollar in her front yard.

"I just liked flowers and I wanted to go hang gliding, and my grandma came up with the idea of selling flowers," says Maggie.

Maggie says she uses half the money she earns to buy Christmas presents for the less fortunate and also to "adopt a family," which means that she provides a Christmas dinner and covers a few needs and wants. She says she donated over a hundred toys last year alone.

Like Hannah's mom, Maggie's mom, Jil Hartman, is grateful for the experience Maggie has gained from her cause.

"It's made her more of who she is going to be," says Hartman. "The lessons that she's learned and the opportunities that she has are endless. It's kind of like the pebble in the lake and the ripples just go out further. It starts with one little flower bouquet for a dollar and it brings happiness to the people who purchase it, it brings happiness to her when she goes out and buys the gifts, and to the people who receive it. It's amazing what one little dollar bouquet can do."