A Coronavirus Fundraising Initiative: Love Through Colors
I have seen social media transform before my eyes throughout the ongoing pandemic.
From something often viewed as a mindless, time-consuming activity, it has morphed into a way that teenagers have united to help those in need through this crisis. One stellar example is the work of Lila Gimbel, a student working out of her bathroom to make tie-dye sweaters and selling them on Instagram and on her website (www.danceeverythingnyc.com/shop) which has donated over $3,800 to Lenox Hill Neighborhood House which supports the elderly community in New York. I reached out to her to share how she was inspired to take action during these unprecedented and uncertain times.
Ava: Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Lila: My name is Lila Gimbel, I am fifteen years old and I am a Sophomore at The Spence School. I am very passionate about science. It has been my favorite subject in school for as long as I can remember and I was planning on pursuing my interests in science at the Yale Young Global Scholars program this summer, but unfortunately, it has been canceled. Outside of school, I am a retired competitive gymnast – I was a member of the NYC Elite USAIGC competitive gymnastics team for 10 years, but I recently retired due to an injury.
Ava: Is this the first experience you’ve had in service work?
Lila: I just went through the process of getting certified to be a gymnastics coach, so I am planning to go back next year to coach the younger kids on the weekends. I have also founded Dance Everything NYC, which is a dance troupe comprised of high schoolers from around New York that travels to various senior centers nearby and performs short, cheerful dances for the seniors. I have volunteered at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House serving food to seniors on some weeknights and checking seniors in at the front desk on Sundays. Through these service opportunities, I have been able to develop a great connection with the community at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House. In addition, over spring break, I volunteered with Invisible Hands delivering groceries to elderly or immunocompromised people around the city.
Ava: Tell me a little bit about Love Through Colors and how it started.
Lila: Love Through Colors is the brand I started which sells tie-dye clothing and accessories and donates every dollar made to Lenox Hill Neighborhood House. We have recently expanded, and we now also sell embroidered clothing and beaded bracelets which are made by some of my close friends. We have had over 60 orders from New York to Michigan. We ship across the United States and on the weekends, my mom drives me all around New York City, hand-delivering packages.
I started Love Through Colors by myself. I was dyeing the clothes myself and the only items for sale on the website were tie-dye clothes. However, recently my friend Tessa DeMann has started beading bracelets which we sell on the site, and my friend Micayla Kates has started embroidering hoodies and t-shirts which are also for sale. I hope to expand further in this way, allowing my friends to sell items they have made in order to raise money for Lenox Hill Neighborhood House and other charities.
Since I can no longer perform at the centers nor volunteer at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, I thought of ways to continue to support the elderly community in New York. I then came up with Love Through Colors. I order the dye for the clothing off of Amazon and I order the white clothing in bulk off of a range of other websites. I make all of the items in my bathroom, dyeing them on a plastic sheet in my bathtub. Each tie-dye piece requires about five minutes of dyeing, but each piece has to sit in the dye for over six hours before it is washed out. The main reason for donating my profits to Lenox Hill Neighborhood House is that senior centers are being hit extremely hard by COVID-19, as senior citizens are among the most vulnerable to the disease. In this time of crisis and unpredictability, raising money has helped me feel like I am making a difference. I enjoy all aspects of running Love Through Colors: From managing the social media to dyeing to shipping out products. It is definitely something I couldn’t have done without the extra time quarantine and online school has given me.