WESTFIELD, NJ — With the COVID-19 pandemic causing difficulties for many, two Westfield students have made the most of their crafting skills to spread positivity throughout the community.
Since last Monday, 12-year-old Bianca Vesuna and 15-year-old Annika Vesuna have been selling sets of handmade coasters in a project called Tiles for Smiles. All profits are equally donated between Imagine, a Center for Coping with Loss and the Westfield United Fund’s We Love Local Campaign.
“These types of situations are when the community can really come together and make a difference,” said Annika, a freshman at Westfield High School. “In our regular lives we get so busy and caught up, and we forget to slow down and to really help others. This is where we can all come together and make an impact.”
The coasters are sold in a set of two, with one tiled glass coaster made by Bianca and one hand-lettered coaster made by Annika. Each set costs 10 dollars.
Bianca initially began creating glass mosaic coasters as a hobby, using arts and crafts supplies at her house, and Annika practiced hand lettering for fun. However, the sisters decided to work together by hand lettering inspirational messages on the coasters and were inspired to help the community by donating all of their profits.
“When we give these coasters we want them to bring a smile to somebody’s face,” said Bianca, a seventh-grader at Edison Intermediate School. “We ended up naming this whole thing Tiles for Smiles so every coaster can bring a smile to somebody’s face.”
On the first day that they began selling the coasters, all of their products sold out in just a few hours, the Vesuna sisters said.
The two decided to donate to Imagine to help those dealing with the loss of loved ones during the pandemic. As for the We Love Local fund, the sisters just wanted to support their hometown.
“Between both of them, they both collaborate, they look at the colors that are available, and they make a design. There’s a lot of teamwork between the sisters,” said Binaifer Vesuna, the sisters’ mother.
Bianca and Annika received townwide acknowledgement for Tiles for Smiles through a social media post from Mayor Shelley Brindle after reaching out to her and sending her Westfield theme coasters.
Shreya Jyotishi is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.
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