A young Portlander’s inspiring plan to promote—and celebrate—diversity.
In early June, Carolyn “CC” Ciolkosz, then executive director of the Pearl District Business Association (PDBA), received a request for help from a fifth grader with a big goal: to unite people of all ages, races, and genders through a project called 10,000 Hands. Eleven-year-old Chase launched the project after her teacher at Opal School asked her class what they would do to make the world a better place.
“I knew I wanted to bring people together and show that everyone is unique and we should celebrate our differences,” says Chase, who had already authored a book, Children Should Be Seen and Heard, while in the third grade.
“We all have different perspectives, and when we come together to share our unique views, we can come up with great ideas and solve problems together.”
Her idea was to collect 10,000 illustrated drawings of hands from people of all backgrounds. She asked participants to write a quality or feeling inside the hand that means something special to them. Words like “passion,” “empathy,” and “equality” have become common responses, underscoring the fact that—despite our differences—our values unite us much like interlocking hands.
She moved her project into the real world by reaching out to community leaders. “It was so moving to see someone her age be so in tune with the world,” says Ciolkosz. “I wanted to contribute—not only with my own hand—but as a leader in the community.”
The Portland Children’s Museum featured the project in an exhibit. And with the help of the PDBA, 12 businesses—including CENTRL Office, the Inn at Northrup Station, and the Mark Spencer Hotel—set up hand-drawing stations in August to support Chase’s goal of accumulating 10,000 hands.
More than 1,100 hands have so far been submitted, but the project continues. “It would be amazing if the whole world were involved,” she says, hoping the movement will grow. “We all have different perspectives, and when we come together to share our unique views, we can come up with great ideas and solve problems together.” —Lauren Kershner
Lend A Helping Hand!
Help Chase achieve her goal and submit your own drawing through the website, 10KHands.com, or by mail to:
Portland Children’s Museum – Attn: 10,000 Hands
4015 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97221
Follow Chase’s progress through her website and on Instagram at @pixchase.