11-Year-Old Girl in New York Donates Homemade Face Masks to Local Autism Organization

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a frustrating time for everyone, with worries over health, money, and when we’ll see our loved ones next. Despite the uncertainty and stress, some people are choosing to use this time to look out for others in need. An 11-year-old girl in New York is doing just that.

Rome resident Caroline Holtslander launched her own business selling crafts as an eight-year-old. Ever since the pandemic began this spring, she’s added face masks into her repertoire.


Once she started sewing them, she told her mom she wanted to use them as a donation to some organization that could use them. Her mom steered her toward local organizations.

She told WKTV in Utica, “First, I wanted to donate to St. Jude’s Hospital, but my mom was reminding me that there was other organizations that were near us that I could donate to and the Kelberman Center was one of them. And we had these (puzzle) patterns which represented autism and Kelberman’s Center does such great work helping people with autism and I wanted to donate some autism masks to them. I’m still going to donate to St. Jude’s.”

For each mask that sells, Caroline is donating one to the center, a Utica organization that provides services to those on the autism spectrum. Its website says it’s dedicated to the advancement of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It provides evaluation and diagnosis, individualized education, social and life skills enhancement, and training and research services to ASD families across Central New York.


Caroline has already sewn more than 800 masks, and she said she’s glad that the puzzle piece ones are helping within her community, as well as helping to spread autism awareness.

The Kelberman Center posted a Facebook update this week thanking Caroline for her thoughtful donations.

Executive Director Tara Costello said, “Thank you to Caroline for spreading joy to our staff and families at The Kelberman Center this holiday season. It is amazing that Caroline has chosen the use of puzzle piece fabric, representative of autism awareness, to help further our mission, while also helping to keep everyone safe and healthy.”

Thank you to 11-year-old Caroline Holtslander of Rome, who is not only talented, but is making a difference in her…

Posted by Kelberman Center onThursday, December 17, 2020

To see some of Caroline’s work, visit her crafting business’ Facebook page.

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