LITTLETON, Colo. — There is no quick solution to ending Colorado's homelessness, but one 6-year-old in Littleton is making a difference in her own colorful way.
Like most artists, little Lillian Benedik has always had the gift of empathy.
"She’s just in tune to the world around her and she soaks it all in," described her mother, Megan Benedik.
So when Lillian saw the growing number of desperate panhandlers on the streets near her grandma's home, it just didn't sit right with the 6-year-old.
"There’s lots of people on the streets holding up signs and I wanted to help them," Lillian said.
So Lillian went to her mom with an idea.
"She said, 'I want to sell my paintings, I want to help the homeless.' My instant thought was, 'That’s amazing. I don’t know how to do this,'" Megan said.
Together, they came up with Lillian's Big Heart Art and sent a video to Littleton's GraceFull Community Cafe with a proposal. If the cafe would display and sell Lillian's watercolor paintings, she would donate all of the proceeds to the cafe's foundation which helps feed the homeless through its Grace In Action meals.
Cafe owner Heather Greenwood was blown away.
"It just touched my heart," Greenwood said. "At such a young age, you know she’s 6, and she has such a beautiful heart already."
Lillian now spends hours painting her art room.
"I probably do two or three a day after school," Lillian said.
Her paintings have sold to people as far away as Georgia and Iowa. To date, she's raised $1,000 for the GraceFull Foundation.
"It’s amazing. It’s going to feed about 100 people, which is unbelievable," Greenwood said.
Megan said she was amazed by the support and encouragement her daughter received through the process.
People have been deeply moved by Lillian's art, but even more so by the artist and her watercolor reminders of just what's possible if we could all see the world through the empathetic eyes of a 6-year-old.
Molly Hendrickson anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30-7 a.m. She also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Molly on Facebook here and Twitter here. To nominate a hero in your life, click here.