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Ponies without Borders

While you might think a headband is nothing more than another accessory to add on to your hair, 15-year-old Helen Mistler from Nashville,Tennessee was able to start a successful program with them called “Ponies without Borders”. 

Inspired after hearing Dr. Jennifer Toben speak, Helen decided that she wanted to help contribute both to the funds of Dr. Toben’s mission trips and to the Rush Hospital in Chicago, Illinois by selling headbands. At first, it didn’t seem like much of a fundraiser. However, with both patience and determinism, Mistler was able to help Dr. Toben and others at the Rush Hospital by raising hundreds of dollars. In less than a year, Mistler has raised over $1000 for her cause. 

Mistler got the idea of selling headbands from a friend who had bought an overly expensive pair at the mall. Deciding that she could make her own that were much cheaper, she started selling them to friends at school. Soon, however, Mistler decided that her profits were better aimed at a cause. Getting some ideas both from her Church’s Service Learning Youth Leadership Council and from her own interest in pursuing a career in the medical field, Mistler decided to start donating the funds to a hospital a graduate from her high school worked with. Mistler says “It was nice because I could actually see where the money was going.”

Since then, the program has been a success. Mistler electronically mails application forms to those in her school, and asks for slips to her locker. Later, she sorts through the checks and cash in her home-office, shipping the  money to Chicago and delivering the headbands to her classmates. Mistler now sells headbands as well as pony holders- both in solid and patterned designs- for over 50 colors. Moreover, she has set up a website for out-of-school customers. 

Mistler says that the best part of her project is that she’s happy to do something she loves. She considers the medical field to be very fascinating, and thinks that helping people is more about interaction and compassion than anything else. Wanting to make an impact on the world about something she loved was what brought out “Ponies without Borders”. “If there’s anything I could advise the youth out there”, Helen says, “It’s to do something you love, even if you fail....because it makes life so much more fulfilling."