Changing the world, one heart at a time.
“It began with a quarantine prayer: how can we be a blessing to others?”, says Emily Colson, mother of Max Boehme, the artist behind Heart By Max, who is living with Autism. For all of us, our “normal” day to day lives came to a screeching halt amidst an unexpected pandemic. “All of Max’s programs closed, he had a very active life with various jobs and volunteer positions several hours a day. The next thing I know we’re both home, and very isolated, so I thought, why don’t we paint some hearts together?” says Colson. Max ended up absolutely falling in love with it and they ended up with four masterpieces that now have a home on their living room wall.
Not long after that, Max began painting his heart yard signs. He started with just five yard signs to deliver to some of his teachers and friends as encouragement in uncertain times. To date, Max has painted and delivered about 125 of his heart yard signs, each unique and exploding with color. “Sometimes we’re just driving along and Max will ask me to stop so he can place one of his hearts. They’re in front of homes businesses, hospitals, senior centers, fire departments, police departments and even our town dump,” laughs Colson. “This project has become our bright spot during this time. Max wakes up every day and knows he can make a difference in the world.”
After sharing this story on social media, they never expected how many people would start asking for hearts. The demand became so great that this past October, Colson made some of Max’s heart paintings into note cards so others could share words of encouragement. Within the first two months of launching, 14,000 of Max’s cards were sent out, “When we first put them on my website, we only had 450 boxes and they sold out in 16 hours! I had no idea how to even ship them all, we really didn’t think that was going to happen,” says Colson.
All of the proceeds from Max’s cards go to charity; currently, Heart By Max is supporting two charities close to Max’s heart, Prison Fellowship Angel Tree, a program that supports the children of individuals who are incarcerated, and Joni & Friends which focuses on outreach work for families living with disability. “It’s been such a joy to see how many people have joined this mission Max started, he really is a world changer,” says Colson. “We hope this story will encourage others to think about how they can be a blessing to somebody else, especially during this hard season.” ♠
To learn more about Heart By Max and to purchase notecards visit emilycolson.com. Visit joniandfriends.org and prisonfellowship.org to learn more about the charities close to Max’s heart. Follow Max’s Story on Facebook & Instagram @emily.colson.79.