When Paris Flynn was a student at Rockport High School, she served as president of the Lighthouse Project, which she described as a kindness club.
In that position, she founded a club scholarship and awarded $1,000 to a student "who acted as a shining light of positivity in the community."
A few years later, Flynn is a sophomore at Bryant University, and this past spring she founded the nonprofit Wave Foundation with a mission to offer more scholarships. Her first event is Wednesday, July 31, at Bass Rocks Golf Club in Gloucester with a silent auction of dozens of artworks from Cape Ann artists.
"The Wave Foundation is focused on providing scholarships to Cape Ann students who are pursuing higher education and embody the ideals of empathy, integrity, generosity and service. We are committed to supporting and empowering individuals who have lasting positive impacts in their community by filling their daily lives with acts of kindness," said Flynn.
She said her high school experience with the Lighthouse Project inspired her to create her own foundation to achieve the same goals but on a much larger scale.
"The idea is that kindness has a ripple effect, and by empowering kindness we can promote a wave of positive change in local communities," said Flynn.
To raise funds for the first scholarship, Flynn, 19, came up with the idea of the Cape Ann art auction.
"As a painter myself and someone who is lucky enough to have many generous and talented artists in my life, I thought a silent art auction would be a great way to merge my two passions of painting and serving my community," she said.
"In the past few months of planning, I have been fortunate to experience an overwhelmingly positive response from my community," said Flynn. "Over 30 pieces have been donated by massively talented local artists from Rocky Neck to Bearskin Neck. All of the pieces communicate the beauty of this community and why it is so important to recognize and support it, as well the shining individuals within it."
Featured artists include Brenda Malloy, Stefan Mierz, Sigrid Olsen and Scott Tubby among many others, she added.
At Bryant University, Flynn studies international business with a minor in Italian and marketing.
"All profits from the event will go directly towards funding our first scholarship. Every donation will help support the wave of kindness," she said. "Ever since I was little, I had a passion for volunteer work. As giving back and building community became a large part of my life, I realized I wanted to capitalize on this passion and start a foundation that could serve my community in an impactful way. I’ve always dreamt of a future where my whole career is centered around helping others and promoting kindness."
Each year, she said, the Wave Foundation will select a number of deserving students to be recognized for their efforts and awarded with an academic scholarship to help empower their positive efforts in their pursuit of higher education.
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-675-2706, or at email@example.com.
What: Cape Ann Art Auction
When: Wednesday, July 31, 4 to 9 p.m.
Where: Bass Rocks Golf Club, 34 Beach Road, Gloucester
The event is free and open to the public. This is a silent auction featuring about 30 artworks from artists, including Brenda Malloy, Stefan Mierz, Sigrid Olsen and Scott Tubby, among more than a dozen others. There will be hors d'oeuvres served. Cash bar. All profits will go toward scholarships. For more information, visit: wavefoundation.wixsite.com/wavefoundation.