How High School Sophomore Jasmine Clark Started Selling Jewelry to Feed COVID-19 Frontline Workers

Jewelry has personality, and Jasmine Clark’s is as vibrant and precocious as she is.

A sophomore at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, Jasmine has been designing jewelry since middle school, and she’s got quite a knack for it. Her necklaces and earrings, lithe and graceful, conjure feelings of springtime out of basic arts-and-crafts beads and latches.

And when Jasmine found herself, like many of us, cooped up in the house with nothing to do, she decided to start selling jewelry online and donate all proceeds to Frontline Foods.

“Not only do I enjoy (helping a good cause),” she says, “but it’s also therapeutic for me. I enjoy making jewelry, and the fact that it’s for a good cause motivates me even more.”

Jasmine is not going to have the summer she expected. Her drama and choral program were slated to take a trip to New York City and sing at Carnegie Hall before this pandemic. She was selected to travel to Spain in June for an opportunity with the school’s Spanish program, and that won’t happen, either.

“And my entire sports season,” Jasmine adds, referring to her place on New Trier’s Junior Varsity soccer team, “got cancelled, too.”

But making jewelry for frontline workers has, in some ways, filled that void.

“When I had free-time in the past, I’d just sit at home and watch Netflix or go out with my friends,” Jasmine says with a laugh. “I wouldn’t do anything productive unless I was forced to, but (with this pandemic), I just thought “I’ll never get this much free time ever again, so I don’t want to waste it.” And I really want to give back to the community in some way.”

Jasmine lists and markets her pieces on Instagram under the account “jewelryforcovid.” She’s been surprised by an initial wave of support.

“I’ve made more money than I expected to in a week,” Jasmine says. “I thought it was going to be just a small thing with a couple people donating, but $100 turned to $200, which turned to $300 in a week, and I was like, “Wow!” I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do so far. I didn’t think people would like the stuff I’m making.”

Her parents, two younger brothers, both 14, and her friends have all been a big help, sharing her initiative with their social circles. Jasmine spends a lot of time with her family now, with nowhere else to be, and it’s brought her closer to her siblings. But she misses normal life with her friends.

“It’s been lonely, for sure,” Jasmine says. “I miss going out on the weekends like any normal teenager.”

No one knows when life will return to any kind of normalcy. Even when quarantine ends and Jasmine can hang out with her friends, there will be rules and regulations limiting activities they once took for granted.

But in the interim, in this weird, purgatory-like state for high schoolers desperate for clarity on their futures, Jasmine is making the most out of a few scraps of metal and plastic beads.

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