Iowa Scout supports charities through his paintings

When he was younger, Arsh Pal’s parents noticed he had an artistic gift. So, for his eighth birthday, his family decided to support that gift by giving him canvases, acrylic paints and brushes.

In four years, he has used that gift to raise about $15,000 for several nonprofits, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Multiple agencies have recognized his work; he recently was bestowed with the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes and the Diana Award, both of which honor young leaders who strive to make the world a better place.

With his humanitarian heart, it’s only natural that Arsh is a Scout, too. He’s been a Scout for only a few months, but he already relates to the aims of Scouting.

“Scouting goes right with what I’m doing,” says the 12-year-old Scout with Troop 51 in Dubuque, Iowa. “I’m showing kindness. I’m learning about respect and being nice to people. The Scout Law ties into what I’m doing.”

Arsh’s work was recently featured on Good Morning America. You can see the report here:

Developing his talent

Arsh developed his talent by finding photos and painting landscapes and portraits of animals. He has since tried his hand at abstract art.

“I need a reference to draw or paint,” he says. “For abstract, you just work on it until you’re happy with it.”

At first, he gave his drawings and paintings to friends and family as gifts. But after he was inspired to help people in need, Arsh got the idea that he could raise money from his art. He displayed his work at local art shows, libraries and school auctions.

His initial goal was to raise $1,000 for St. Jude. He has now raised money for St. Jude, Make-A-Wish, EastersealsCompass to Care and Riverview Center.

More than money

But his work hasn’t solely been in fundraising. He has also accompanied his mother, who is an occupational therapist at a nursing home, to work. He’d strike up conversations with the residents, which led to another charitable idea.

“He teaches painting lessons,” his mother Divya says. “The residents look forward to it.”

He’s extended that idea to his friends, and he now leads painting parties. And while doing that, he’s identified his next mission.

“My goal is to make art lessons more accessible for kids, because art lessons are expensive,” Arsh says.

He hopes that he can inspire others to develop what they enjoy or to discover a passion.

“If you’re interested in art, just do it,” he says. “Do it every day and practice instead of being on your phone. Focus on what you’re interested in, and that can help you find your talent.”

About Michael Freeman 446 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.