Former President John F. Kennedy said “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” Callie Danysh, founder of Flags of Gratitude, lives her life by showing gratitude and helping others. I had the uplifting and memorable experience interviewing Callie and her mom Andrea.

There is always someone that we can thank to let them know how much they are appreciated.” Callie Danysh

Callie, who just turned 14 years old, , lives in Morristown, New Jersey, and has always been a kindness champion. Being generous to others is second nature to her as she loves doing things that make people happy. Callie has always been artistically talented and is self-taught with her artistic skills. When the COVID pandemic began in March of 2020 Callie was looking for a way to honor her “Big,” from a community program called “Bigs in Blue.” This program provided one-to-one mentoring with youth and police officers, Callie’s “Big” sister had COVID, so she was unable to see her in person to thank her.  This prompted Callie in all sorts of good ways, to not just thank one hero, but rather to thank all Frontline heroes in her community for their service, sacrifice, and everything they were doing to care for the community during this challenging time. Using her artistic talents and problem solving with her mom they came up with a plan that would inspire and thank these health professionals and first responders. Callie began creating flags with drawings and positive messages that could be placed outside all over the community to acknowledge their efforts. 

What started with sharpies, paint pens, and white flags from the hardware store became a movement to spread kindness and positivity.” Callie Danysh

Callie’s positivity then spread to thanking local businesses, non-profits, and other community volunteers by making, and placing, these special flags in front of businesses and organizations. Her mom happily helped by purchasing all supplies needed to make the flags, and drove around with Callie to place the flags around town. Callie and her mom shared seeing the smiles from business owners and receiving those thank yous meant the world to them. These thoughtful acts of kindness meant the world to others, especially during the unsettling times of the pandemic.  When a person does an act of kindness for others you never know how many lives it will touch and change.

Then something happened. The flags were so uplifting that it was time to make a more permanent version of the art for the intended heroes but also their fans.” Callie Danysh

After creating and leaving throughout the Morristown community hundreds of positive, inspiring flags Callie decided next she would use her art to help raise money for nonprofits and organizations. She began to create works of art that her mom transferred onto Mixtiles so that Callie’s works of art would become permanent. What is so striking is that Callie’s mom pays all costs connected to creating and shipping these Mixtiles, so that Callie can donate one hundred percent of the proceeds to her charities.  Andrea’s support of Callie’s kindness projects is unwavering. There have been times Andrea has asked Callie to create a Mixtile for someone going through a hard time or to celebrate a special occasion creating moments of joy for others. The money made from selling Mixtiles, whether it is a mixtile in stock or a personalized commissioned Mixtile, goes to the organization Callie is raising money for. 

Keep shining beautiful one. The world needs your light.” Unknown

The family’s dog Nika has a special place in Callie’s heart and she especially loves creating custom tribute flags or Mixtiles for pet owners. Since 2020 this Eighth Grader has raised $16,000 from selling Mixtiles. This money has been donated to “Help Morris Now,” “Good Grief,” “St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare,” and “Jersey Pits Rescue.” Callie is fundraising for “New Jersey Hills Pet Rescue” and “Save Animal Shelter.” On Callie’s website, people can purchase an already made Mixtile from Callie’s older art when she was younger, or can request a custom digital drawing that can be made into different sized Mixtiles, ornaments, custom gifts, or apparel. Callie’s digital drawings make special keepsakes and are truly unique gifts. When someone reaches out for help, Callie and Andrea will see how they can be helpful and supportive.  Making people happy matters. Helping others matters. Spending time to create these works of art after school and on weekends is fun because Callie knows these creations will make people happy. When this 14 year old begins to draw, a ripple of kindness begins touching lives by bringing joy to others. 

There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.” Mandy Hale

With joy and honor we shine the Kindness Champion Spotlight on Flags of Gratitude and Callie and Andrea Danysh. Where kindness, art, generosity, and giving are creating unending ripples of kindness. We thank you for being you and bringing your awesome to the world.

For more information on Flags of Gratitude here is their information: