A Chanhassen 9-year-old and her neighborhood friends are making a difference one friendship bracelet at a time.
After the death of George Floyd and the riots that ensued, Kamryn Johnson and her friends began selling friendship bracelets to raise money for Minneapolis residents in need. What began as a small sale quickly sparked into a large fundraising effort that has surpassed $135,000.
Various pop-up sales have been held throughout the Twin Cities and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Kamryn, and her friends will host a sale in Prior Lake outside Paar Sports and Thrivent Financial located at 16151 Main Ave. SE, Prior Lake.
Kamryn and her friends' efforts have been featured on Good Morning America, Fox 9, ABC News and other news outlets, but organizer of the Prior Lake pop-up sale Jackie Malley wanted to give locals the opportunity to show their support. While the suburb wasn’t directly affected by the riots, the events that transpired could have happened to anyone, she said.
“I think it'd be good as a southern suburb to show that we’re supporting too,” Malley said. “The more people that know, the more traffic. I want to make it worth these little girls' and little kids' while to get people out there and show them that they're still making a difference even though you know how things go, they spark and then they kind of fizzle out but it’s how many months later and they're still doing it and these kids are spending their summer doing it. So we can do our part.”
Malley and Kamryn’s mother Shani Johnson, former Gophers standout and 2008 Olympic qualifier, are old Apple Valley gymnastics teammates. When Malley heard of Kamryn’s effort she wanted to hold an event locally, but also show her three kids “what being kind can do regardless of your political affiliation,” she said.
“I think it’s a good example and I want my kids to know at the end of the day if you can be anything, be kind is what I tell them,” Malley said.
An autographed NFL football, autographed Adam Thielen picture, autographed Anthony Barr jersey and two mini Vikings helmets will be raffled off during the Prior Lake pop-up.
Kamryn's father Ron Johnson, former Minnesota Gophers and NFL player, said in the “Kamryn & Friends” Bracelets For Unity and Justice GoFundMe that funds raised will go toward buying food and supplies for the Sanctuary Church Food Drive, KyleRudolph Food/Supply Drive for Minneapolis and supplying funds to rebuild Minneapolis businesses affected by the riots.
Directions for ordering bracelets and donations can be made via the GoFundMe. For more information on future pop-up sales visit the Kamryn & Friends for Unity and Justice Facebook page.
“In today's climate where there's such a divide and hate and all this negativity, let's spin the positive, let's promote and put some sunshine in people’s world,” Malley said.