'There's a lot of young kids who have cancer and it's kind of hard to feel what they're going through right now,' the young artist shared.
A young artist who has raised thousands of dollars for charity is winning hearts and awards across the world. Arsh Pal, a 12-year-old from Dubuque, Iowa, started watercolor painting after he was gifted painting supplies on his eighth birthday. Soon, as his colored canvasses started piling up, the youngster started giving away some of his art to his family and friends as gifts. Around the same time, while accompanying his mother, Divya Pal, to a local nursing home—where she works as an occupational therapist—he began striking up conversations with residents who looked lonely and often had no one to talk to.
According to Des Moines Register, Arsh was eventually inspired to sell his paintings and donate the money to charity. "I thought, why not help people to be kind?" the young artist shared. He set a goal to raise $1,000 to donate to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and exceeded his goal in less than a year, Pal revealed. In four years since he started selling his paintings for charity, Arsh has raised more than $15,000 and donated to at least five charities, including St. Jude, Easterseals, Compass to Care, the Riverview Center and the Make-a-Wish foundation.
"He's never said, 'Can I use this money to buy a video game for myself,'" Pal revealed. "He keeps his life very balanced, like playing outside, playing electronics, and playing with friends, spending time with family, and he's really good with his studies." Arsh explained that he considers giving back to organizations, especially those that help children battling illnesses, a meaningful cause. "There's a lot of young kids who have cancer and it's kind of hard to feel what they're going through right now," he said. These days, Arsh also spends time teaching painting to the residents of the nursing home where his mother works with help from his 6-year-old brother, Yuvan, who hands out the brushes and painting supplies.
"I tried many different things just to find out my favorite," the young boy said. "So far, my favorite is doing abstract pieces because you can express your emotions with abstract pieces." Earlier this year, Arsh was recognized for his efforts to help others when he was awarded a prestigious youth humanitarian award in memory of the late Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales. He was presented with The Diana Award which, according to the initiative's website, is given to people between the ages of 9 and 25 who are "selflessly creating and sustaining positive social change" in honor of the late princess.
Arsh was nominated for the honor by Pal's former professor from her master's program in occupational therapy, who has known the boy since birth. He was among about 180 exceptional youngsters across the world to receive the award this year. "I'm from Iowa and everybody else is from everywhere else," Arsh said. "I feel really happy that I'm getting it because it's a pretty big award. Princess Diana represents charitable work and helping the community, so that's kind of what I do." As from The Diana Award, he has also received the High Flyers 50 award in India, which recognizes individuals for achievements in a number of fields including art, culture and entertainment. He also is a board member of the Loukoumi Foundation, a New York-based non-profit that highlights youth participation in community-building.