LIVINGSTON, NJ — Burnet Hill Elementary School fifth graders Mahi and Disti Khanna, who are both enrolled in the prestigious Livingston Public Schools Gifted and Talented Art Program, recently decided to lend their talents to the community by creating and selling beaded face mask chains in support of Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors (LNHN).
In addition to raising money for a local charity that assists neighbors in need, the twins felt this project would provide an opportunity for peers to add a little flair to the face masks they are now required to wear in school and other public spaces.
“[Mahi and Disti] were so excited when they [took] the district’s Gifted and Talented Art test and were allowed admission,” said Monika Khanna, the twins’ mother. “They have had an inclination towards art from a young age. Their art [has been] displayed at the Livingston Mall during the annual art show by the district since they were in kindergarten.”
According to Monika, her daughters have individually painted and drawn many lovely pieces of art, but the beaded face mask chains are their first foray into jewelry making. Now, the twins head straight to their workshop after completing their schoolwork each day to fulfill their beaded chain orders.
“They came up with some unique Christmas and Hanukkah designs for the holiday season and are looking forward to selling them this year,” said Monika.
Since learning about LNHN “and the great work they do” in 2015, when her family moved to Livingston, Monika said she and her family have donated to the local nonprofit’s causes whenever possible. Monika has also taught her daughters the importance of generosity by donating food and toys to various organizations throughout the holiday season.
Inspired by their parents, Mahi and Disti are already seasoned volunteers despite still being so young.
In addition to this latest endeavor, the twins also recently collected school supplies—such as backpacks, pens, binders, folders, pencils, toys, notebooks and more—for an all-girls orphanage in India. By asking for donations from neighbors and classmates, Mahi and Disti managed to fill two suitcases that they personally delivered to India while visiting their grandparents last year.
According to Monika, Mahi and Disti have witnessed poverty firsthand during their three trips to India and “realize how life is not the same everywhere.”
“[My husband and I] come from humble beginnings, so want to instill those values in them,” she said.
Monika described Mahi as an “extremely funny girl who is reserved in the beginning; but once she opens up, there is no stopping her.”
“She is very artistic and creativity flows easily in her,” she said. “You can see that in her drawings, paintings etc. She is very hardworking. Her hobbies are playing viola, swimming, beading and painting.”
According to Monika, Disti is “extremely outgoing, opens up very quickly to people and is a very independent personality.”
“If she has interest in something, she will also give it her all and invest time and effort into it,” she said. “She also plays viola and enjoys swimming.”
Mahi shared that she has been enjoying designing the beaded chains, stating that it is “fun to create ideas and put them in the real world.”
Until recently, Mahi’s white bead design has been the fan favorite, and she was also excited to create a rainbow chain for one Livingston resident last week.
Her sister agreed that it has been “exciting to make creative designs.”
“What makes it even better is we are doing it for a good cause,” said Disti.
Orders can be placed by texting Monika at 908-347-5321 or by following @mdezigns2 on Instagram, where customers can find additional details about designs, pricing and ordering options.
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