ODESSA, Fla. — Odessa 8th-grader Emily Nelson has a million-dollar smile.
But the 13-year-old student at Walker Middle School certainly isn't happy all the time. Far from it these days.
"My friends struggle, and I struggle, too," she said. "You never know what people are going through."
She said these past two years have been hard for her and her classmates.
"My friends get so negative," she said.
So, Nelson decided to do something about this pervasive blue mood after her mother gave her a pep talk.
"When I was struggling a little bit, my mother always told me to find the joy," she said.
A few weeks ago, she launched her "Finding Joy" clothing line: brightly colored homemade shirts, shorts and sweatshirts emblazoned with that uplifting reminder to seek out things that make us happy.
The clothes, and the mission, are a hit. She's already made and sold more than 100 "Finding Joy" items.
Nelson is donating part of the proceeds to three different mental-health organizations: Anxiety and Depression Association of America, International OCD Foundation, and the OCD Center in South Florida.
Nelson's father, Rob, a principal at Sumner High School, is proud of his daughter for encouraging students to talk openly about how they're feeling.
"Over the past couple years, kids have really become isolated, and they feel alone," said Rob. "We have to let them know that it's okay to come out and talk about it."