By Charlene McKellar
The Haldimand Press
CAYUGA—Seven-year-old Marisa loves the colours white, black, purple, pink, and grey. She also has a big heart and big aspirations. Because of this, Marisa, with the help of her parents Christa and Zachary Burke, started a small local business called the Kindness Club.
“We sell hand-dyed, hand-screen-printed shirts along with other mindfulness products,” explained Christa, while Marisa made clear, “We do a lot of things!”
Marisa started the business about a year ago hoping to spread kindness one shirt at a time. She explained, “I started Kindness Club because I wanted to make the world more kind because people were not being nice and I thought Kindness Club would help them be kind.”
Christa related that she, herself, had been running a home business and so Marisa had already been exposed to entrepreneurship. She added of how it got started, “(Marisa) wanted to spread kindness. We created a logo together and screen printed a few shirts.”
After having those shirts quickly sell out in a consignment store in Hamilton, they decided to continue with the idea.
The Kindness Club has certainly grown in the time since then, with numerous clothing options and designs as well as other items available for purchase on the business’ website. When asked about the designs, Marisa answered, “We design them together. I help pick the colours.”
It’s no wonder that Pink Shirt Day, which is February 22 this year, would be an important event for the Kindness Club. In Marisa’s words, the day “represents the story of when a boy wore a pink shirt to school and got bullied.”
The day is also known as Anti-Bullying Day, and wearing a pink shirt represents standing up against bullying. Christa noted, “We work with many schools, educators, and businesses to raise awareness for Pink Shirt Day and donate back to participating schools and businesses.”
Four dollars from all the products in their Pink Shirt Day collection are being donated to Dare to Care, a Canadian anti-bullying organization. Last year after being in business for only a few months, the Kindness Club sold over 65 products and made their first donation to Dare to Care, as well as offering shirts to Marisa’s school and raising money toward a playground there. To date this year, they have sold just over 100 Pink Shirt Day products. The shirts themselves are available for purchase on the Kindness Club website at kindness-club.ca.