Back-to-school season is upon us. As parents work on checking off items on supply lists, there’s another element of going back to school that’s also important to many: clothing.
A back-to-school outfit can make a child feel confident on the first day and set the tone for the year.
Nikki Rajahn asked her oldest son, Blake, what he’d like on his shirt for the first day of school. She recently started her own personalization business, so the sky was the limit. Blake surprised her with his choice.
Nikki expected her 6-year-old to suggest his favorite superhero, Batman, or his favorite sports team, the Philadelphia 76ers. Instead, he surprised his mom by saying he wanted a T-shirt that said, “I will be your friend.” Nikki took to Facebook to share her pride in her son’s choice.
Little did she know that Blake would start a movement, and the shirts would be in major demand.
As summer winds down, everyone’s minds are on back-to-school season. There are many decisions to be made that will shape a child’s outlook for the school year. One of those is a back-to-school outfit.
Blake Rajahn is 6 years old. His mom, Nikki, has her own personalization business, Unfading Adornments. Nikki asked Blake what kind of shirt he would like her to make for him to wear on his first day of school.
Blake gave the decision some thought. His mom was expecting him to pick a superhero, like Batman, or his favorite basketball team, the Philadelphia 76ers. Instead, Blake surprised her with his request.
Blake decided to ask his mom for a bright orange shirt with green lettering. He asked her to write “I will be your friend” on the shirt. He wanted other kids to know that they were not alone.
Nikki was so amazed by her son’s idea that she took to Facebook with the finished product, which he wore on his first day of first grade at Fayette Elementary in Fayetteville, Georgia.
“I have to brag on my son. I told him that as a back to school gift, I will make him any shirt he would like. It could have anything- a basketball theme, football, etc. which are all his favorites. He thought a while and said, ‘will you please make me a shirt that says “I will be your friend” for all the kids who need a friend to know that I am here for them?’ Never underestimate your kid’s heart for others! I love my sweet Blake!”
Nikki explained to USA Today that Blake has experienced others treating him unkindly, but he’s also a boy with a big heart. “He has had playground banter but I know that it is his heart that made him want to reach out in this way,” she explained.
“He wants to meet people right where they are, just like Jesus does,” she gushed. It certainly seems that Blake’s kind heart has inspired many, with the post being shared over 7,000 times.
It’s not the first time Blake has demonstrated caring for others. This summer, he found out about a collection at a local crisis center. “As soon as he found out about the drive, he told us we had to go to the store to hurry up and buy some toothbrushes and toothpaste,” Nikki said.
Nikki told Blake that they could use the money he was saving up to contribute to the drive, and Blake agreed, producing a $20 bill from his savings.
“He said that was fine so we asked how much he wanted to spend,” she said. “He said, ‘This is for people who don’t have any, right?’ and we said yes. He was very matter-of-fact and answered, ‘Well all of it!'”
As for the shirt, Blake started a trend. Nikki began receiving messages asking about buying their own “I will be your friend” shirt. The shirts are now for sale in youth and adult sizes for $25. There are also sweatshirts and hoodies.
A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the shirts will go to the Real Life Center. The organization helps individuals and families in Fayette County, Georgia, navigate times of unexpected hardship with counseling, financial assistance, and more.
Nikki has been pleased to notice that the shirts are just as popular with adults as they are with kids. It’s a nice reminder that we can all use a friend sometimes. “It is children and adults ordering and split about 50-50 actually,” Nikki noted.
Blake is already an extraordinary member of his community at just 6 years old. It’s a reminder that we can all do a little more to help those around us, even if it’s as simple as being a friend.