When Redmond student Trisha Beher recognized the severe loneliness facing members of the senior community as a result of the pandemic, she utilized her passion for art to uplift the vulnerable population.
Beher, 17, established an international youth-led nonprofit called Art Shine Foundation (ASF) in May to provide her generation with an outlet for creativity and community service. The foundation spent the summer and fall months collecting teen-created artwork from around the world and messages to turn into motivating cards for senior centers across the country.
“It has been super rewarding because we’ve been able to help almost 550 seniors across five states,” Beher said. “It’s just so awesome to me that we are able to help a vulnerable population.”
So far, her team has delivered 550 cards, 400 masks, 250 food items, 80 books, gloves and several craft kits to eight facilities across Washington, California, Texas and Michigan. She said the foundation raised over $1,000 to purchase PPE and make care packages for nursing homes in need.
“I’ve delivered to three nursing homes in the Redmond/Sammamish area (Peters Creek, Aegis Living and Redmond Heights),” she said. “I have two more deliveries planned and will most likely deliver a care package to a retirement home in Woodinville sometime soon.”
The senior at Redmond High School started this project after hearing about the severe anxiety, depression and loneliness among the elderly community who aren't able to see their loved ones. Beher said she was watching the news in July when she saw footage of senior citizens looking at their loved ones through windows without the opportunity to embrace. Additionally, she said, there were “staggering statistics” about seniors’ deteriorating mental health.
“These are very anxiety-inducing times,” she said. “I think just being able to alleviate their stress a little bit actually lowered my anxiety and made me feel like I was doing something for my community during this time.”
Beher, who has been an avid artist since she was a child, said she grew up always looking for a space to showcase her art and talk with other young artists. As a result, she started looking for ways to use her art to help other people, she added.
“I realized that art could really help support people during a time of need,” she said. “So, I started this organization to bring teen artists together and empower others through our work.”
Beher said she used Twitter and Instagram as platforms to search for other artists who could both join the team and contribute artwork for projects. After a week, when she reached a following over 800 people, she launched applications for ASF’s core team of leaders.
“I didn’t know how to build a team from scratch or navigate a newly virtual landscape,” she said. “However, my commitment toward ‘artivism’ pushed me to research and address every logistical aspect necessary for success.”
Beher said she created the organization’s website from scratch, and did all the research to begin the nonprofit by herself. She used money earned from tutoring students to fund the creation of ASF and build her team from the ground up.
After reaching out to countless accounts in various communities and countries from all over the world, she was able to build a team of 50 youth artists from 11 states and eight countries.
“In two weeks, I got so much support from around the world,” she said. “And that just showed me the power of technology.”
She said her team continues to utilize the technology “at their fingertips” to get people involved and send more artwork. The Art Shine Foundation supports several other initiatives through the use of artwork for activism and community service. For more information on how to get involved, visit