Young Americans Blog

Entrepreneur Success: Maia Drugmand, Turtles4Tots

By: Cheryl Prendeville Published: April 11th, 2013
Maia learns about the different wishes available for her to sponsor.

Maia learns about the different wishes available for her to sponsor.

Maia Drugmand, founder of Turtles4Tots, has done it again!

The 11-year-old created her non-profit organization just over a year ago and has been raising money like a pro since then.  She creates magnet turtles from decorated sea shells and sells them for $5 each.

In 2012, Maia raised $10,000 to grant wishes to two children with cancer.  Working with Make-a-Wish, she selected her wish recipients and succeeded in providing two people her age a wonderful experience with their families.

In March, Maia granted her THIRD wish after raising another $5,000.

A successful idea

The concept started when Maia received a cute decorated turtle at her ninth birthday party.  She wanted to help out her community in her own unique way, and with that gift, she found a way.  It takes many hours in her dad’s workshop for Maia to assemble the turtles and paint three different layers of decoration.  In October, she added crab magnets to her product line, which she says are a big hit with boys (girls prefer the turtles).

Maia shows off her supply of products before the 2012 Young Entrepreneurs Marketplace.

Maia shows off her supply of products before the 2012 Young Entrepreneurs Marketplace.

After Maia won the youngest age category at the 2012 Celebration for Young Entrepreneurs, she was paired up with a leading business person in the Denver community to receive support.  Her mentor, Nancy Philips from ViaWest, spoke with Maia earlier this year about her business goals.  For 2013, Maia hopes to grant three wishes, for a total of $15,000.  Nancy Philips helped Maia get started on her goal with a generous donation.

The latest gift

The latest wish Maia was able to grant is for an 11-year-old girl who suffers from compression of the brain, is wheelchair bound and is non-communicative.  Even though she’s from Colorado, her wish is for a “Colorado Vacation,” to be spent with her family.  With Maia’s sponsorship, Make-a-Wish plans to provide a condo for the entire family in Estes Park and fill it with many special presents for her.

Maia isn’t slowing down.  She continues to sell her turtle and crab magnets to raise money for more wishes.  In the meantime, Maia just made the Dean’s List at her school, was chosen to be first violinist in her upcoming spring concert, and just took second place at her very first figure skating competition.

Congratulations on all your wonderful accomplishments, Maia!  You inspire us all.

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