December 18, 2013
Updated Dec 18, 2013 at 8:21 AM EDT
Williamsville, N.Y. (WKBW) - A penny can go a long way especially for college student and philanthropist Ariella Sharf.
“It all started with one penny. I made a bracelet putting a piece of string on a penny and that was it,” Sharf said.
The bracelets caught on and last spring Ariella decided to start a fundraising group called Heads Up for Charity.
“Within the first week 100 bracelets sold and that's when I knew I needed to do something more,” Ariella said.
She started a website and team up with some big businesses to bring even more money for her cause.
‘We recently collaborated with a scarf brand called Donny Charm. Basically, every scarf they make has a charm on it. This girl had made it in honor of her father who passed away and it has an angel's wing on it. We are going to make scarves with a penny on them,” Sharf said.
Sharf didn't stop there. Now, she's taking her creative ideas for charity to the next level.
<”I wanted to start my own clothes line so I decided to jump right into it. I was on the Internet and saw the cent sign and immediately thought of change. I used a play on words as in change and money and of course change in the literal sense,” Sharf said.
The proceeds for the clothing line go to one special charity, the Darnell Barton Fund. Barton was a man who saved a woman suffering from mental health issues from committing suicide. He coaxed her off a bridge by sharing his own struggle with mental health.
“I have anxiety so his story really touched me because he is being proactive toward mental health. Some people don’t realize that mental health isn't an illness where people should be secluded from society. I saw that he wanted to start a foundation and that's where the change campaign came in,” Sharf said.
Besides getting money from the sale of the clothes, there is another element to the project.
“When people buy a change product they will get an envelope that says change and they can collect their change and donate it back,” Sharf said.
Sharf said she has a journal chalked with many more ideas that will help her to make a big change in the lives of those who need it most.