Crafts of Compassion

Neelam Vashi, MD, Boston Medical Center dermatologist, loves doing arts and crafts with her children. “You should see my basement,” she jokes. It’s full of paint, canvases, and whatever else a child might need to be creative.

One day her children, Ava, 8, and Ethan, 6, expressed interest in creating jewelry. Together, they made so many pairs of earrings that Ava wanted to give some away to family and friends. Neelam saw an opportunity to spend valuable time with her children and contribute to a great cause. That’s when she learned about BMC’s community fundraiser program.

Fundraisers receive an online fundraising page to collect donations for their effort—from fun runs and lemonade stands and more to benefit BMC programs. In 2023, Neelam, Ava and Ethan raised $4,000 for BMC’s Homelessness Support General Use Fund by selling earrings to colleagues in the dermatology clinic, family, and friends. And it’s not their first fundraiser—in 2020, Ava and Neelam sold handmade decorative pencil tins and raised $2,000 to support BMC’s COVID-19 Emergency Medical Response and Social Service Fund. Committed to BMC and exploring the arts, they recently created a name for their fundraiser: Crafts of Compassion.

Nowadays, instead of sleeping in before school, Ava wakes up at 6:30 am to make custom earrings for her best friends.

Neelam is proud of who her children are growing up to be. On a recent family trip to India, they visited a small village where Neelam’s mother was raised. “There are lots of schools there where children often live without their parents,” she says. “This was really powerful for my kids to see – and they ended up giving all their American candy away to those children. I wanted them to see that life extends beyond their usual surroundings – they tend to live in a bubble otherwise.”

In the future, Neelam hopes to find more ways to get her children involved in the community. Ava and Ethan work on making earrings every weekend, with the profits going to BMC. “I’m really proud of Ava and Ethan, they’re really good young kids,” she says.

Take inspiration from a hobby you love and create your own fundraiser in support of Boston Medical Center. Learn more.