'Right thing to do:' 10-year-old makes bookmarkers for Haven House

Brandon and his mom, Brandi, display some of the bookmarkers he decided to make and sell for $1 each to benefit Haven House. He is scheduled to be a vendor during the Shopping for Change event on Saturday, Oct. 24, at First Baptist Church, Maryville.

Photo by Rachel Stafford

Brandon and his mom, Brandi, display some of the bookmarkers he decided to make and sell for $1 each to benefit Haven House. He is scheduled to be a vendor during the Shopping for Change event on Saturday, Oct. 24, at First Baptist Church, Maryville.

Some 10-year-olds spend their allowance on toys - cars, video games, trading cards.

Brandon Moss is donating his money - as well as his time and energy - to a good cause.

The Mary Blount Elementary School student makes bookmarkers that he sells for a $1 a piece. He then donates the money to help Haven House, the domestic violence shelter. Brandon will be selling his bookmarkers at the inaugural Shopping for Change to benefit Haven House. The event will be Saturday, Oct. 24, at First Baptist Church, Maryville.

Brandon and his mom, Brandi, shared how his whole initiative began. “I was sitting in the kitchen doing dishes with my mom. She gave me my allowance, and I asked if there were any homeless people I could give money to. She said there was someone in our church named Landra Kerekes who is raising money for Haven House,” Brandon said. “I said I wanted to help her. I gave my money to mom and she gave it to her (Kerekes).”

That was in August. “Since I heard she was selling stuff to make money for Haven House, I decided to make bookmarkers. I’m selling them for a dollar to everybody I know,” Brandon said.

Brandi Moss said she then learned about the Shopping for Change event to raise money for Haven House. Brandon asked if he could set up a booth and sell his bookmarkers there. He is now an official vendor at Saturday’s event.

Sales so far have been brisk. “I’ve sold like 20 bookmarkers, and I’ve made 170 bookmarkers for the event,” he said.

Brandi said her son also has received donations. “He had raised close to $55 last time I counted,” she said.

“I’m excited,” Brandon said

So how does the 10-year-old create the designs? “I start thinking about something to put on the bookmarker, and then I either draw or stamp the design on the paper,” he said.

Brandon said he has always been interested in arts and crafts, and his mom has helped him. “It helps that I’ve got a small scrapbooking business on the side,” said Brandi. “That is what helps him along.”

Brandon said Haven House uses the money to help others. “They raise money to buy food and clothes (the clients) need,” he said.

Brandi said helping Haven House is close to her heart because she knows women who have needed services like those offered at Haven House.

“I know people in the category of being battered women, so it is a big deal for me for him to give to them,” she said. “It makes all of us very happy to help out.”

Brandi said she and Brandon’s dad, Chuck, are extremely proud of the 10-year-old. “He’s always been selfless. He worries about others more than himself. At night, he prays for everybody he met that day. He might not remember their names, but he’ll recall what they were wearing,” she said. “He’s always done that. Ever year we collect things to help needy families for Christmas, and he’ll go through his closet and dig out everything he owns to give way. He gave $30 away one day at school because they needed it.”

Brandon said the reason he helps others is because it is the right thing to do. “And it’s really fun to help others,” he said.

Brandon’s favorite bookmarker was one with a Bible verse on it with two doves on either side of the verse. His grandmother bought five of them, as did his two aunts and his Nana.

Shopping for Change will feature 25 to 30 vendors who will donate a portion of their proceeds to Haven House, as well as a small portion to the First Baptist Church of Maryville’s Mother of Preschoolers group. The event is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, in the gym at First Baptist Church of Maryville. For an updated list of vendors, visit www.shopping4change.org.

Haven House is a nonprofit organization in Maryville dedicated to provide support to victims and survivors of domestic violence and education to the community with the hope of preventing future abuse. Services include:

* 24-Hour Crisis Line (24/7 staff availability via telephone)

* Emergency Shelter (30 day shelter for domestic violence victims and their children, clothing, personal items, food)

* Court Advocacy (accompany victims to court for orders of protection and criminal assault cases, advocate on behalf of victims)

* Adult Victims Support Group (facilitated discussions on women's domestic violence issues open to victims and community)

* Children's Support Group (facilitated discussions on children's domestic violence issues open to victims and community)

* Prevention Programs for Children & Teens (provide educational presentations and promotion of nonviolence)

* Counseling (individual discussions with victims regarding available options)

* Referrals to Other Organizations/Agencies (housing, employment, welfare, childcare, legal system, healthcare, local resources)

* Case Management (individual plan of action for victims developed with staff assistance)

* Outreach Services (advocacy, counseling, support for victims and survivors)

* Community Education on Domestic Violence Issues (presentations, special events and materials distributed within service area).

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