April 20, 2012 | By Julie Levin, Special Correspondent
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A 9-year-old Pompano Beach girl is using rubber bands, compassion and creativity to create bracelets that help form special bonds.
Jessica Nedry calls her project FriendlyBands, and she said they are much more than something pretty to wear.
"They look really nice, are creative and original and can help people," said Jessica, a fourth-grade honors student at Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale.
Jessica is using her newly launched site, https://www.friendlybands.com, to help raise awareness for special causes with her bracelets. She's created 28 different styles, each with their own bright color scheme and name.
"Each one reminds me of something different, so I name them," she said.
Especially close to her heart are the bands that support U.S. military members and their families. Her father, Douglas Nedry, is a former Navy fighter pilot who encouraged Jessica to find a way to thank veterans for their service. She designed two bands that she calls "Honor" and "Hero." The bands cost $2.99, and a percentage is donated to the charitable organization they represent, Our Heroes Journey and Our Fallen Soldier.
"It makes me feel good because I know I am helping them," Jessica said.
The project got its start with a bracelet Jessica named "Hope," created in honor of a family friend who was diagnosed with cancer. Determined to help the woman's family, Jessica got to work creating bracelets to sell.
"She made 100 bracelets that week, and she sold just about every one of them," said her mother, Madeline Nedry. A portion of the proceeds goes to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Jessica said her FriendlyBands can help link friends and family, as well as boost school, team or corporate spirit.
"People can bond by wearing the same bracelet," she said.
Madeline Nedry said her daughter is making a difference.
"I am overwhelmingly proud. She is just an amazing young lady," she said.
For more information, visit https://www.friendlybands.com.