Diocesan News

Kids Sell Handmade Jewelry to Raise Money for St. Jude Hospital

Jacob Lee, Mark Lee, Stella Pettit, Morgan Pettit, Natalie Grace Quaglione, Olivia Quaglione and Katya Kobichev (left to right) show their bracelets. (Photo: Paula Katinas)

BAY RIDGE — Look out, Tiffany & Co., you’ve got competition from the kids on Shore Court.

Youngsters living on the quiet Bay Ridge cul-de-sac have created a jewelry-making business and are selling hand-crafted bracelets to raise money for charity.

The little entrepreneurs sold bracelets made from rubber bands and raised $146, which they recently donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The children picked the hospital for a reason. “They help children. I don’t think children should be sick. But if they are, St. Jude is there,” said 9-year-old Natalie Grace Quaglione, who spearheaded the business and got her friends on the block to join in.

Natalie Grace is the daughter of John Quaglione, deputy press secretary of the Diocese of Brooklyn, and Kerry Quaglione, an assistant principal of P.S. 127 in Bay Ridge.

She was also inspired by the life of Sally Kabel, a little Bay Ridge girl who was diagnosed with leukemia and who died in 2018 at the age of 6. 

Known by the nickname “Little Sally Sunshine,” Sally is remembered by local residents who affix gold ribbons to trees in the neighborhood every September during Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. 

Natalie Grace’s fellow jewelry makers are Nadia Muchinsky, Katya Kobichev, Stella Rose Pettit, Morgan Pettit, Jacob Lee, Mark Lee, Zach Goldberger, Saam Kher, and Bridget Meir.

Not all the kids were there the day The Tablet paid a visit to the block. But the kids who were there were eager to talk about how they became jewelry designers.

“It’s a lot of fun and it’s not hard,” said Morgan Pettit.

The kids use a Rainbow Loom pegboard to weave the rubber bands together to make the bracelets. They sometimes use their fingers to do the weaving. The kids can make jewelry in solid colors but they really like to strand together two or three different colors. 

The youngsters also create themed bracelets for fans of “The Avengers” and “Star Wars.” For Halloween, they sold black and orange bracelets. For Christmas, they will be making red and green jewelry.

The kids, who have been making bracelets since the summer, are now branching out into necklaces and rings. They plan to sell the items and make a second donation to St. Jude Hospital within the next few months.

Natalie Grace’s dad created an email, NandNRainbows@gmail.com, where people can write to request more information. A website is also in the works. 

The business was launched after Natalie Grace was at the beach this past summer with her parents and her little sister, Olivia, saw a boy selling bracelets from his wagon. 

“I asked him where he got them,” she said. It turned out that he made them.

“I liked the idea,” Natalie said. She asked her friend, Nadia Muchinsky, to help her and the two girls started the business. Before long, nearly all of the kids on the block joined in.

The children are learning valuable lessons, according to Quaglione. 

“They’re learning teamwork. They’re learning new skills. They’re also learning how to make change so that if someone gives them a $20 bill, they know how much the person gets back,” he said.

Natalie Grace is no stranger to the concept of donating to charity. Born prematurely in 2011, she has experienced some of the medical issues kids can go through. Every year, she takes part — with her parents — in the March for Babies, a walk-a-thon that raises money for the March of Dimes.

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