Gen “Z” and Gen”erosity” January 28 2018

Bourbon & Grits Boutique’s customers literally range over five different generations! We absolutely love that about owning this business because we truly do have a “something for everyone” style. Our newest generation, Gen Z, has become super interesting to us. Some of the defining qualities for Gen Z? They have only known our world post-9/11, with cell phones, computers, instant flowing information and endless resources at their fingertips. What we found most interesting is so many of these young people are using their natural resourcefulness for good. One of our necklaces, the Macgill Choker ($12) was designed and created by a sweet 16-year-old, Lea Olszeski, for a purpose bigger than herself. She originally used only her social media accounts to sell the chokers as a means to raise money for someone close to her heart, and blew away even her own expectations. Please enjoy her story below. 

cross choker necklace

HI! My name is Lea Olszeski! I am in my sophomore year at Milton High School and have lived in Roswell, Georgia all my life. I cheer for Milton High School's football and cheer competition team, and love it so much! I used to be a gymnast which I was SOOO passionate about and practically lived in the gym before I fractured my back and was not able to continue. So, I told my doctor that cheerleading might have to be a “step down,” but I have to be active 24/7. One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is have friends over and have an enormous bonfire. It’s a tradition we have! So that’s a little bit about me.

But I am here to tell you a story that turns out to be a bigger deal than planned, thanks to Jesus. My gymnastics coach, Macgill, was my everything, just as gymnastics was. She was always there for me. At practice she would work my butt off but only to make me a better gymnast and a stronger person in general. cross choker necklaceI’ve known her kids since they were born and I’ve been blessed to be the only “pretty cool” teenager she trusts to babysit her kids whenever they need a night out.

So I was surprised to found out from Macgill’s Instagram that she had been diagnosed with cancer. After reading her post, my heart kind of fell apart. My mind was racing. I thought, "she doesn’t have time for this! She has 3 boys. What the heck is happening?" I knew I couldn’t just sit and do nothing. So I turned to another one of my hobbies - making jewelry. All of my friends always ask me to make necklaces for them, so I just figured my friends and I could make these necklaces and sell them to raise money to help her family out. I thought we might raise $100 and it would still be cool to at least get them a week's worth of groceries. But no, God's plan was so much bigger, as it always is bigger than anyone ever imagines. I raised $900 to date!

My mom also set up a meal plan that all of our fantastic friends have been contributing to since the day Macgill was admitted to the hospital. Thanks to the meal plan, her husband, Mark, did not have to make a meal throughout their entire crazy journey.

Meanwhile, the $900 from the chokers paid for a wig she will be wearing for the next 2+ years because of chemo, and so much more! Doing this small but grand deed for this family has definitely impacted my life so much. It’s crazy that putting my heart and time into something like this fills my heart with such joy. I am in shock that a sophomore in high school can do something so simple, but that it can make a huge difference.

I hope that everyone sees my generation as inspiring and encouraging. My generation has access to anything and everything with the help of technology, but it does not make us necessarily selfish or spoiled.

People that I have never even met would come up to me and ask to donate and find out what more they could do to help. I encourage you to think of someone in your life who is struggling with something big or small, and figure out some way to hold out a hand and be there for them. Jesus helped me every step of the way.