Kindergartner spreading love, one drawing at a time
GLEN CARBON — With COVID-19 keeping so many people isolated from family and friends, 5-year-old Matilda Kassel has been doing her part to provide happiness to folks who might not otherwise have much contact with the outside world. Shortly after the pandemic began, with the help of her mother, Matilda began sharing her talent — sending out her youthful and beautiful artwork to brighten the days of others.
“Matilda has always been sensitive to other peoples’ feelings,” said her mother, Kim Kassel. “She watched the news one day and saw that there were so many people quarantined and not allowed visitors or could not see their families. This made her sad. She told me that she wanted to make everyone who was lonely or sad, happy. When I asked her how she would make people happy, Matilda told me she would write letters and draw them pictures.
“When Matilda (who was just 4 at the time) wanted to draw pictures for those who are lonely, she started with friends we knew who were in assisted living and working in hospitals,” Kim said. “I loved her passion and thoughtfulness, so I went to my Facebook page and asked if anyone knew of someone who was alone and needed cheering. I created a Facebook page, Matilda Cares, so people would continue to make requests and see her at work.”
Kim isn’t surprised her daughter, who has a “kind heart” has taken on her special service project. “I believe a lot of this can be attributed to her experience volunteering at our food pantry, being part of local charities, attending a Catholic school and emulating what her family does to help others,” she said. “My mother also lives with us, and she is a significant impact on the person I am as well as my daughter. My mom, Karen Kassel, introduced me to volunteerism and a selfless care for others at a young age. I like to think that Matilda is continuing on in our family’s footsteps.
“Every day, she never ceases to amaze me with her care and devotion to want to help others. She is at times an old soul who seems to know when and how to reach out to others,” Kim said. “Her emotional intelligence is beyond words. Every night when she goes to sleep and says her prayers, she asks God to help all those who need the help of a prayer. She has a calling, and I can’t wait to see where her kindness and love for others take her.”
Matilda completes between one to five drawings a day and so far, has completed more than 100 pieces of artwork. Kim — and sometimes her mother — mail out the pictures. So far that artwork has been sent to people in Illinois, Missouri, Oregon, Washington, Florida, Texas, and California and as far away as Scotland and England.
“Matilda makes every picture special,” said Kim. “When she writes to someone, she draws a special picture for each person. Her inspiration comes from within. She has always had a passion for drawing, however, her passion has grown for each person she draws for.”
Matilda, who is in kindergarten at St. John Neumann School in Maryville, says she has no real preference for color. “I like all the colors,” she said. Yet when it comes to designing cards, she does have a favorite subject. “I like to draw hearts. Sometimes I draw pink hearts and sometimes I draw red hearts.” Now that school has started, homework comes first — and then she begins work on her art projects. She appreciates that her mom and her grandmother, “Ya Ya” help her mail the pictures to her new fans.
With the determination of a person well beyond her years, Matilda is willing to keep her special ministry going as long as it takes. “I’m gonna draw them ‘til everybody is happy and normal,” she promised with enthusiasm. “I’m gonna draw until everybody is smiling!”