When 10-year-old Ashlynne Deason saw her mom volunteering for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Great Lakes, Ashlynne wanted to know what she could do to help. Her parents, Ashley Deason and Chief Petty Officer Shawn Deason were happy to nurture their daughter’s budding philanthropic spirit.
Ashlynne was wondering how she could make money beyond what she already earned doing chores around the house. She proposed making bracelets to sell for $5 each and donating half the proceeds from every bracelet to the Society.
The fifth grader creates colorful beaded bracelets with silver or gold anchor charms to symbolize the Navy. “She started out making 14 bracelets and we posted pictures of them online,” explained Ashley. “Once those sold out, we had more orders. We had to go back to Michael’s—her favorite store—for more supplies. Ashlynne covered the cost of supplies from her own money. So far she’s been able to make two donations to the Society of $50 each.”
In addition to selling the bracelets online, Ashlynne has donated some to a local military spouse who puts together sunshine baskets for military families. While she started out creating her own designs for the bracelet, now Ashlynne is taking custom orders from enthusiastic shoppers around the country. “People are excited to help her out,” Ashley said.
The Deason family first got involved with the Society when they lived in the Tampa Bay area. “The local coast guard helped out when my husband’s colleague—a fellow chief—had a boating accident and didn’t make it,” Ashley said. “We helped his family afterward and we heard that the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society had also provided support to the family. That was the first time I’d heard of the Society.”
Then when the Deasons PCSed to Illinois, Ashley became an ombudsman for her husband’s command. “As an ombudsman, I referred many people to the Society for monetary assistance and the thrift shop,” she said. After promoting the Society so enthusiastically, Ashley became a volunteer herself. So far Ashley has served as a client services assistant and helped process Quick Assist Loans, but she plans to do more training to become a caseworker. On occasional Fridays when Ashlynne has finished her schoolwork (she is enrolled in virtual school through the Florida school system where she used to live) she joins her mom at NMCRS Great Lakes doing whatever is needed around the office.
Thank you to the Deason family for your generous support of the Society!
By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso