Like a bolt from the blue, Addison Rizzi came up with her idea.
The notion also included bolts from the red, green, yellow, orange and purple.
Like others in the Capital Region, Niskayuna resident Rizzi is using rainbow colors to brighten dark days of the coronavirus. The 12-year-old and her mother, Heather Mason, are making wrist bracelets out of beads and donating them to nurses, seniors and anyone else who wants to show off a splash of color.
“I have been glancing at the news — digital and paper — and have noticed lots of dark, sad, information,” Rizzi said, “some about COVID-19 and others about life in general. Everyone could use a little more color in their life, and that is our goal — to help people find their way back to happiness.”
The plan started when one of Mason’s friends mailed her a batch of beads.
“My mom and I were like, ‘Well, what do we do with all these beads?'” Rizzi said. “We were sitting in our kitchen, looking outside at the bunnies playing in our yard, and I was thinking about everything going on with the virus and how there’s a lot of sad and dark news. I was like, ‘Why don’t we try to bring some more color to our community?'”
Mother and daughter began making bracelets at the kitchen table. They used social media to let people know they were available.
The accessories are free, but people have sent Rizzi and Mason donations anyway. The money is used to pay for postage — bracelets have been mailed to California, Tennessee, Vermont and Rochester — and to buy more beads and stretch-capable string.
Rizzi, a sixth-grader at Van Antwerp Middle School, has been delivering some of her creations personally.
“I deliver by bike, so it’s nice to see my friends,” she said. “The deliveries are contact free, but it’s nice to see people, you know.”
Rizzi, who has already distributed about 100 bracelets, is philosophical about her project.
“I have had a lot of mixed feelings about everything going on right now,” she said. “Some are confusing, some are sad, others are proud, proud of me and my country. But what I realize I am missing is the happiness and color we all used to have in our lives. We have all lost something, a sort of shine in our day-to-day lives.”
Rizzi wanted to do more than put a rainbow on her front door.
“I need to make a difference,” she said. “Everyone has their purpose and this is mine — helping others and guiding people home.”
The bracelets can be worn at the wrist or around the ankle. Larger pieces, such as necklaces, are a possibility. “We haven’t done them yet,” Rizzi said.
Mason loves her daughter’s initiative.
“I am totally supportive,” she said. “We’ve been having a lot fun delivering these bracelets and surprising people. I’m pretty impressed with this undertaking. It’s really giving us something positive during this time.
“It’s a good way to spend time together and spread some hope around the area,” Mason added.
Mason said the bracelets aren’t just for middle school students. Along with nurses and seniors, teachers have been wearing the rainbow fashion.
“Just wearing something on your hand is so pretty and colorful,” Mason said. “It’s giving people another resource of joy.”
Mother and daughter both hope people will post photos of bracelet-adorned wrists and ankles at #rainbowbracelet. They can be more than just photo ops: Mason believes the colored bands are symbols, and signs people will get through the current health crisis together.
“I get goosebumps just thinking about it,” she said.
Contact staff writer Jeff Wilkin at 518-641-8400 or at [email protected]