Damlanur Akden, a sixth grader at Beecher Road School, loves to paint – and she has created quite an impressive portfolio of her artwork. Encouraged by her parents, she has started displaying some of her paintings at the ice cream store her father owns, Billy’s Carousel Ice Cream in Westville.
“It brings a smile to people’s faces,” said her mother, Illnur Akden. She said Damlanur has started selling some of the artwork for a few dollars each. Instead of spending it on herself, the 11-year-old artist has been saving the money to support her family’s efforts supporting children in remote villages in Turkey, the country they originally came from.
Illnur Akden has been sending books and stationery to schools in those villages. She also arranged for delivery of 100 coats, hats and scarves for the children. The teacher video-taped the children’s reaction when they opened the packages. “I was crying when I saw those videos,” she said.
In the meantime, her daughter’s artwork is spreading joy this side of the Atlantic. It is this sense of service that she is trying to teach her children, Illnur said.
By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent