The West Shore Local Hero Awards are back! You can find this year’s special feature in the March 16 edition of the Goldstream Gazette or online under e-editions. Stay tuned for more on each of this year’s honourees, you will also be able to read their stories online at goldstreamgazette.com/tag/local-hero-awards.
Three young sisters are making the West Shore a better place to live, one little work of art at a time.
Metchosin residents Brylee, Maylin and Everly Dwinell sell the creations they paint on five-by-seven-inch canvasses, for donations to the Royal Canadian Legion.
They have raised $3,700 so far, with all proceeds going toward the many community initiatives supported by the Legion.
“Brylee came up with the idea six years ago when she was in kindergarten,” said the girls’ mother, Dani Dwinnell. “Her teacher asked the kids to bring in a toonie for the poppy campaign. A veteran came in to talk to the class, and that’s how it got started.”
During their walk home that day, Brylee told her mother she wanted to do something to help veterans and the Legion by selling paintings. She raised $126 the first year by knocking on neighbours’ doors to make sales, an amount that has grown every year.
Brylee, now 11 and a student at Dunsmuir Middle School, said the stories the veteran shared – “he talked about his life and going to war” – made quite an impression on her and got her thinking about ways to help.
“I really like drawing and stuff and it’s fun to do and the donations for the paintings help the Legion,” she said, thanking purchasers for their support. “It really makes a difference.”
The volunteer efforts have become even more of a family affair with Brylee getting busier with gymnastics.
“I’ve been taking gymnastics since I was two and it takes a lot of hours, so my sisters starting helping me. I just put a paintbrush in their hand and they got started,” she said.
Brylee works in oils and occasionally acrylics and said her favourite colour is blue. She’s done so many paintings by now, including specific requests, that it’s difficult to remember them all.
“The galaxy, water scenes, landscapes, animals – you name it and we’ve done it,” she said.
Maylin, a seven-year-old student at Happy Valley Elementary who shares her sister’s passion for gymnastics, said there’s no limits to her range of subjects.
“I like to paint everything,” she said. “When I get an idea, I just paint it. It’s a lot of fun and we help each other.”
Four-year-old Everly was quick to mention her favourite choice to paint.
“I love rainbows,” she said enthusiastically. “And I like painting pictures to help other people.” She also mentioned that although she used to do gymnastics, she now prefers dance class. “I like the costumes,” she added.
When it was suggested that Dani has done a remarkable job with her three girls, she simply said, “I just follow their lead.”
“I’m very proud of them. Lots of times people feel like they can’t make a difference, but these girls have shown they can make a difference for the Legion and the community,” she said.
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