Kansas Girl, 7, Makes Art for Charity, Builds Orphanages With Her Profits

Isabelle Redford raised more than $10,000 to built an orphanage in Haiti.

July 10, 2009, 4:27 PM

July 10, 2009— -- Seven-year-old Isabelle Redford is a long way from grown up, but her art is more than just kid stuff.

"I kind of always drawed because I loved to draw as I grew up," Isabelle said. "And I just was an artist."

Her drawings are good enough to earn some real money but she isn't spending it on toys or candy.

"I like to draw cards because I can raise money to help the orphans and help them have a home to live in," Isabelle said.

Helping orphans has become Isabelle's cause. It started two years ago when she was 5. Her mom, Kelly Redford of Parsons, Kan., told her a story about twin girls in Haiti whose mother died during childbirth.

"She immediately looked at me and said, 'What can we do, we have to help,'" her mother said.

Isabelle said, "I brainstormed and I thought of a way to help them. ... I thought of cards because I love to draw."

She started by selling cards at garage sales and to her friends and family. Her sales took off and, now, the cards are sold through the Global Orphan Project in Kansas City, Mo., a charity that builds and runs orphanages around the world.

So far, Isabelle has earned more than $10,000 -- half of that was enough to build an orphanage in Haiti, where she visited last month.

"It was the first night we were there and ... I saw the girls and, as I came to where my house was, they were chanting my name, and I thought that was really amazing," she said.

Isabelle spent two nights with her new friends at the Isabelle Redford House of Hope. "I also loved the girls in my house," she said. "I was glad that six girls had a place to live. We were just friends immediately and I, we didn't have to speak the same language. We just were having fun and we laughed and played a lot."

Isabelle Works Toward Her Next Project

But one orphanage is not enough for Isabelle. She continues selling her artwork and collecting money to put toward her next project.

Her mother said, "I thought we'd get to $5,000 and then she'll feel like she's accomplished something and she'll be done. We got to $5,000 and the amount of money that she received was actually more than she needed. ... And she quickly said, 'Well, no Mom, this is a perfect amount for the start of my second home.'"

The Global Orphan Project is about to break ground on another Isabelle Redford house -- this one in Malawi, Africa.

"I really want to do this all over the world where they really need it," Isabelle said.

Her mother is not surprised. "Her heart and her compassion and her love is just so huge, and really from as early back as I can remember," she said, "she's always been full of compassion."

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