Isabel Sutton, 12, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, a seventh-grader at Slauson Middle School, made more than 350 bracelets out of recycled material and then sold them to benefit environmental causes and aid families and businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. Isabel got her first taste of volunteering when she was in fifth grade after learning that most plastic water bottles end up in landfills or the ocean instead of recycling bins. She delivered a slide presentation on the problem at her school and followed up with a petition urging her school district to reduce its use of plastic. “It was exciting to see my friends’ reactions and desire to help and I kept thinking about ways I could do more,” Isabel said. So early last year she decided to make and sell bracelets to benefit a variety of causes that were important to her.
She decided that all the materials in her “Just Izzy” bracelets had to be environmentally friendly, so she used charms made out of recycled alloy, along with recycled paper and string. With her mother’s help, she created an online shop and ended up with sales of more than $2,200. The proceeds went to a sea turtle rescue organization in Florida, a bird center in her county, an equestrian rescue operation, and meals for healthcare workers from local restaurants. Isabel also helped pay for gift cards, toiletries and household items for 40 local families in need. In addition, Isabel volunteered to monitor nine bluebird nesting boxes and track over 40 bluebirds and swallows in 2019 and 2020.