Gentle Cards: Babson student brings compassion to those who need it most
Most people associate sending or receiving a card with a celebratory moment: birthdays, graduations, anniversaries. April Chen ’19 and her co-founder Michelle Yu of Wellesley College created Gentle Cards to show those same gestures of love and thoughtfulness for those in times they need it most.
Gentle’s mission is to let compassion reach its destination.
After experiencing loss herself, Chen knew that there was something more we all could be doing to express empathy for our loved ones going through tough times.
“Gentle exists to bridge the gap between empathy and action by providing a meaningful way for people to reach out to those who are hurting,” says Chen.
Chen found that there were real barriers to being able to support your friends that need help. The person suffering may genuinely appreciate your concern and support, but may not want to have a conversation, others don’t know what to say and saying the wrong thing may lead to the other person getting more hurt, technology, texting and other apps can work but it does not feel like it is not enough.
This is how Gentle Cards was born.
As an artist who loved giving cards, Chen started to form an idea. She brought the idea to Yu, who could use her background in psychology and passion for poetry with Chen’s design skills. They wanted to create something unconventional and impactful, something more than the already existing traditional sympathy cards.
“Through Gentle, anyone can send interactive cards to kindle hope in the person on the receiving end. These five cards have colorable covers and intentional exercises designed to gently bring healing,” says Chen.
Gentle Cards also partners with non-profit organizations. They are currently partnered with Bags of Hope Ministries to provide cards for women that have been affected by sex-trafficking, addiction, or homelessness in bags along with practical supplies.
Chen’s favorite card is the “perseverance” card. On the front there are three “GIVE UP” sentences with lines through them and inside there is a connect-the-dots exercise of a Delphinium Cardinale inside, which is a flower that is found in abundance after a fire. This shows how different Gentle Cards truly are in comparison to anything else you may find to inspire your loved ones who need it most.
In the future Chen and Yu hope to open an e-commerce site as well as partner with hospitals and bookstores. They hope to expand their line with cards that are specific to needs such as mental health and have their cards approved by experts.
The Babson Community
“I vividly remember the first time I knocked on my RA’s door. I came into her room as a nervous first-year student, unsure about whether I had made the right decision coming to Babson, and shyly asked about her concentration in Social Entrepreneurship and Design,” says Chen. “I left with a paper scribbled full with inspiration and an unfolding sense of love and ownership toward my new school. She, as well as many other leaders at Babson, made me realize that this school was where I wanted to be.”
In her time at Babson Chen has worked with The Lewis Institute, and Babson alumni as well as the Summer Venture Program.
“Summer 2017, I was the designer-in-residence for the Babson Summer Venture Program, and was able to thrive in the entrepreneurial community that was provided,” says Chen. “I learned a lot from the founders in the program, who modeled determination and passion.”
You can follow Gentle Cards on Facebook and Instagram, as well as support them in their Kickstarter campaign.