Carmel Valley girl raises funds for Komen San Diego with her jewelry

Carmel Valley's Talia Mackin donated proceeds of her sales of mask chains to Susan G. Komen.

Carmel Valley 12-year-old Talia Mackin recently donated $2,082 to Susan G. Komen San Diego from the proceeds of sales of her homemade mask chains, turning a creative outlet into something that can make a positive impact for women battling breast cancer.

Talia, a sixth grader at La Jolla Country Day, has always been crafty, coming up with projects using stuff around the house and a hot glue gun. During the summer months of the pandemic she was looking for something to occupy her free time and started making jewelry.

One day Talia and her mother Melissa were scrolling through Instagram and they saw a mask chain they really liked, a necklace with clasps on each end to attach the straps of a face mask. As the item was pricier than they wanted to pay, Melissa encouraged Talia to make her own.

After a trip to Michael’s and armed with bunches of beads in “every color that they sold”, Talia got to work.

“She started making them for fun and made too many,” Melissa said. “I asked her ‘What are you going to do with all of these?’”

In August, Talia got the idea to sell them on her Instagram page @teesbeads, taking custom orders. By late September, she wanted to take on a philanthropic effort in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

One of Talia Mackin's custom mask chains.

As the disease had taken her great grandmother 10 years ago, the family had always supported Susan G. Komen—Melissa has participated in the 3 Day Walk and Talia has done the 5K Walk in Balboa Park. With fundraising events canceled or moved online due to the pandemic, Talia knew nonprofits like Susan G.Komen are in need of help more than ever.

For the fundraiser, she made special edition pink and white chains with a breast cancer awareness ribbon charm. As each chain takes about 30 minutes to make, she enlisted the help of La Jolla Country Day classmates to make over 100 mask chains. She sold them on Instagram, using hashtags to spread her message beyond her friends and was able to reach and exceed her goal of raising $2,000.

In December, a representative came to her home to accept the donation, giving her a Top Fundraiser sash. “It was fun and it was nice,” Talia said.

“She worked really hard and we are really proud of her,” said mom Melissa.

While mostly focused on school and soccer, Talia is still selling and taking orders for her custom-made chains. She learned a lot from her first big fundraising effort and is looking forward to completing another community service project for her upcoming Bat Mitzvah.

Talia Mackin donated her proceeds from her sales to Susan G. Komen San Diego.