Where does the next crop of inventors helping others come from? Just perhaps from a town like Fort Myers, Florida, where invention is celebrated.
Take Paisley, a first grader in the Fort Myers community, whose friend was bullied at school last year. Even the very youngest of us can figure out how to make our lives and that of others better. That’s what inventors do; solve problems. Being concerned about her friend’s safety, this young inventor came up with the “Bully Bracelet” to protect her friend in the future.
The unique and promising concept has the potential of being effective and feasible. The bracelet would be worn by young children, who in a bullying situation, can press a button on the bracelet that sends an alarm to an adult or the school. Paisley also is convinced that her bracelet is much more appealing to her peers than the “annoying” lanyards currently worn.
Paisley had the opportunity to compete in the recently held Thomas A. Edison Festival of Light Inventors Fair’s 30th annual event in early February. She and her Bully Bracelet won not only in her grade level, but more significantly the “Best of Fair” prize in the Elementary School Division (K – 5th grade) where over 100 students from across Southwest Florida public and private schools competed.
Her achievement was recognized by getting a $100 1st place prize from the Edison Innovators Association, a signed and framed Doug MacGregor cartoon and a scholarship for practical mentoring on how to further develop and present her invention from the Entrepreneurial Society of America’s “Gator Hatchlings” program similar to TVs Shark Tank.
She also rode in the back of a Ford Mustang convertible, waving with both hands, along with the High School and Middle School Best of Fair recipients at the recent Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade. But this budding inventor wasn’t done.
Her friend recently had an allergic reaction to peanuts she was inadvertently served at Paisley’s school. The school has two lunch lines in its cafeteria and her friend got in the No-Dietary-Restrictions line by mistake. It was a traumatic incident. Paisley again developed a solution to a problem for her friend. She modified the Bully Bracelet so that the bracelet had a place to list allergies, emergency contact information and other useful features. The improved bracelet would then serve as a failsafe for kids with allergies. That is truly how the invention process should work, with models evolving with new enhancements.
There is of course no pressure on our six-year old to continue to invent. But, her dad, Timm, when contacted said he was working on building Paisley’s vision of a “Taj Mahal” tree house next to their home in Buckingham. He said he had already been to the hardware store three times for lumber because Paisley kept adding enlargements to her original blueprints.
Paisley has found her current passion and even if that changes, the skills she is developing and experiences she is having will benefit her in the future. The Festival of Light regional inventors fair has given her the opportunity to shine like the brightest Edison light. Her caring creativity is being celebrated by many. That is very likely to continue for a very long time. Thank you, Paisley.
Authored by Jim Helms, Thomas A. Edison Regional Science and Inventors Fair Steering Committee