BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Bills Mafia and giving back to the community is a winning combination. One Williamsville middle school student is trying to follow in his favorite player’s foot steps.
Cameron Hiller is a fifth grader at Casey Middle School. Now, he can add entrepreneur to his resume after he started making pencils to sell at a craft show at his school.
“It’s fun. I enjoy making the pencils. For people to enjoy buying them, it’s a win-win situation,” Cameron Hiller, founder of Pencil Headz, told News 4. “We needed an idea, me and my friend. So I was doing some research with him and we came across something like that and I thought it would be fun for kids. You can twirl them.”
From there, his organization Pencil Headz was formed. It started with a few Bills Mafia themed pencils inspired by his favorite player Dawson Knox. Now, he has made many different designs, even creating speciality pencils for specific events and causes. He made several different designs to sell at other craft shows, but he didn’t want to keep the money. Instead, he decided to donate a portion of his profits to P.U.N.T. Pediatric Cancer Collaborative.
“Originally, we thought we were going to keep the money, but then we donated 20 percent to P.U.N.T., and then that number grew over time,” Hiller added.
This is a grassroots effort, something P.U.N.T. Pediatric Cancer Collaborative says matches their foundation’s mission. Hiller hopes others in Western New York are inspired to give back to their community.
“To have a fifth grader come through your door with this wonderful idea. So conscientious, so dedicated to make this a success,” Gwen Mysiak, executive director of P.U.N.T. Pediatric Cancer Collaborative, said. “People like this that inspire other people and all of the sudden we are able to serve these families in the way they need. We’re really proud to work with Cameron and be apart of this.”
Because of Cameron’s hard work, the organization surprised him with a FaceTime call from his favorite Bills’ player. The call with Knox was brief, but the message of gratitude was clear.
“I can’t thank you enough for that. I can’t say enough good things about them and the hard work they do, so I can’t thank you enough for your help. I mean that’s incredible,” Knox said.
Hiller has sold more than 200 pencils so far and raised more than $500. His goal is to keep selling these specialty pencils and raise $1,000.
“The money that I raise goes straight to bills that families can’t afford,” Hiller said. “It feels good [to help].”
His message is simple: small acts of kindness can make a world of difference for a neighbor in need.
“If you want to achieve something, it’s doable but it takes works. It’s effort,” Hiller concluded.
Inspiring others to make change, one pencil at a time.
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Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.