Ben, Logo Designer
I love drawing. I started drawing ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I drew whatever I could draw. My drawings would represent all my interests at the time, from Thomas the Tank Engine characters, to cars, to bugs. As I got older, I started developing some of my own characters to draw, and often made comics including them. My house would be filled with papers with my doodles on them, random pencil sketches that had no real purpose. When I was younger, my parents would try to frame some of my drawings that they thought were quite good. Now, they are more interested in recycling paper with my drawings to keep the house in order, because they couldn’t keep up with my doodles. Whenever my drawings ended up in the recycling bin, I always thought to myself that someday, I would make drawings that are meaningful and worthwhile, not just these doodles with no sentimental value that took some effort. I never realized that the opportunity of using my artistic skill for something meaningful would come so soon.
It was the summer after the fourth grade ended. My family was having a busy summer because my mother and four of her friends were planning on getting a charity started. They wanted to start a foundation to help families with special needs children purchase durable medical equipment. The charity was going to be called ‘Alice’s Dream Foundation’, inspired by my younger sister Alice who has Rett syndrome. They had to do a lot of things to start the foundation. One thing they had to do was to get a logo to represent their cause. Naturally, my mother turned to my uncle Keith, who was a professional graphics designer. He created a logo, but they couldn’t use it because it looked too much like another charity’s logo and we didn’t want to get people confused. This resulted in my mother calling my uncle and her friends, brainstorming ideas about the logo. I overheard their conversation over the phone. My mother was saying how she wanted to have a logo that was simple, positive, and hopeful.
I rushed to my room while my mother was still on the phone and started doodling Alice first. Coming up with a drawing of her was not a difficult task. I drew my family all the time, my mother and father, my sisters Bailey and Alice, and of course, me. Then, I wanted to think about what the word ‘dream’ in ‘Alice’s Dream Foundation’ meant. I thought ‘What would Alice dream about?’. If it was Alice’s dream, then anything could happen, right? So I drew Alice out of the wheelchair, standing. Unless Rett was cured, this could only happen in dreams, right? I drew multiple versions of the would-be logo, some having her hold a Genie’s lamp, or her under a rainbow. I also had a drawing of her flying, holding some balloons. By the time I had my sketchbook filled with different drawings, my mother was off the phone.
I approached my mother with my sketch and said, “I overheard you talk about the logo, and I have made some designs of my own that I would like to show you.”. She absolutely loved them, and immediately scanned my drawings and e-mailed them to the board members of the foundation who were the four of her friends and my uncle Keith. They unanimously loved the drawing of her holding the balloons. Soon, my uncle got busy making the rendering of the digitized version of my sketch. It did not take him long to do so. Soon, he sent us back a picture document of the sketches, vector drawn and with smooth edges. That’s how Alice’s Dream Foundation’s logo was born.
A couple months later, in the October of 2014, the foundation was official, the board had passed all the legal documents to become a non-profit organization. Alice’s Dream Foundation wasted no time. They started executing many fundraiser events so that they could start helping families in need, many of which my whole family had participated in. There were brochures, business cards and posters with my logo printed on it. The foundation also had a website that had my logo on its home page. It made me so happy and proud that my artistic skill was being used for such a big cause. I felt that I was finally part of something important.
On a snowy day of February, 2015, a TV crew from FOX news came to our house to do an interview with me, Bailey, my parents, and my mother’s friend who is the founder of Alice’s Dream Foundation, regarding Alice and how the organization started. Towards the end of the interview, my mother gave them Alice’s Dream Foundation business cards. They took interest in the logo and when my mother told them I was the one who created the logo, they started asking me a lot of questions about it.
The reporter: “Tell us about Alice”
Me: “She can’t do the things we can do.”
The reporter: “How did you come up with the design?”
Me: “Grasping onto a bunch of balloons somehow symbolizes she’s free from all that. Therefore being Alice’s Dream. It says Alice’s Dream Foundation.”
The reporter: “What does ‘Alice’s Dream’ mean to you?”
Me: “If this is Alice’s dream, then anything could happen, right?”
On March 11th, 2015, this interview was aired on FOX News.
It’s been a year since the interview, and I still feel proud that I was part of something so important, by creating a drawing that is actually meaningful. Alice’s Dream Foundation continues to grow and raise more money to help families with special needs children. Sometimes, I get to help with bake sales and yard sales, and I get to witness firsthand how this foundation is making a difference for many individuals and families. I may not have been able to help very much as a child, but I know that I am helping in my own ways using my artistic talent. That is what I learned about coming of age.
This is the link to the FOX News interview that was mentioned in my memoir.