PORTLAND, Ore. — If the weather’s nice, chances are you’ll find 10-year-old Manali and her 8-year-old brother Manav playing in the street. Today, they sat on the curb and talked about their interests.
“We both like reading. We like traveling,” Manali said.
With everything going on, it’s good to stop and remember that kids have voices too. “Our neighbor said it makes her really nice to wake up and come outside and see all the drawings, so I think it makes me feel really good that we’re making people happy,” she said.
“One day they were off and about,” said their mom, Mini Sharma-Ogle. “They took their little chalk bucket.”
Down the driveway and into the street, they’ve created their own little art gallery filled with smiles and positive messages. “I wrote ‘Black Lives Matter.’ I wrote ‘smile’ or ‘be happy,’” Manali said.
The two say they do it to lift the spirits of their neighbors.
“Because people can’t really come out and see other very much. Just to make people feel good inside,” Manali said.
Mini’s pride beams through when she talks about their qualities. “A lot of empathy, a lot of empathy,” she smiled.
Chalk is only the ones of the ways the siblings are bringing people together. “They’ve also figured out this newsletter they’ve created, and it’s called the ‘Cedar Mill Chatter,’” Mini said.
Four issues have been handwritten and delivered so far, but the circulation isn’t the point.
“They are thinkers and they are feelers and more importantly they are communicators,” Mini said. “It’s an opportunity for my kids to kind of see what life is, how to cope with it and how to nurture each other and take care of each other’s time.”
“I hope that people don’t think about people as Black and White, man, woman. Just human,” said Manali.
Call them good deeds or acts of kindness, the Ogles realize you don’t have to be at the end of the road to break down the barriers that are front of us.
“Don’t be shy to connect with family friends and neighbors at maybe a different level than you have before,” Mini said.