Local 13-Year-Old Gives ACLU $11,635.83, Earned from Her ‘Everyday Superhero’ Drawings


Sasha Matthews with ACLU President Susan Herman.

Sasha Matthews, a local middle-schooler, handed a big check to the ACLU last week, the returns from a project she undertook after the 2016 election to draw people as “everyday superheroes.”

Sasha went to the ACLU’s downtown offices to give the $11,635.83 check to ACLU President Susan Herman and meet other people there. The donation was from a year’s worth of work, her attempt to create something hopeful out of the some of the frustration she saw in the grownups around her after the election. She drew 95 people in poses that corresponded to their life’s work or passion — the lawyer raising awareness of Parkinson’s disease, the rabbinical student traveling to Israel, the school admissions director who’s a rock star by night, the farmers who care about animal welfare. The people gave her money for the drawings — usually $50 to $150 — which she donated to the ACLU.


This one was commissioned by Barbara Flaa, to celebrate her son Bryan Sheppard. He’s a Philadelphia Flyers fan, nursing student, artist, and a lifelong friend of giraffes.

She got to meet people working on several projects at the ACLU, she said in an email.

“Just one part of the coolness was that they treated me like someone who could actually help the organization and fight for civil rights later in life, rather than just a way to get money. I met the heads of many departments who all talked to me with passion and interest about their jobs. It made me so happy and proud to be there and bring my project to a close.”


This one was commissioned by Sonja Noring to celebrate her friend Gail Campbell. Gail juggles two jobs and also looks after her kids and her mom.

Ten of the 95 people who had their portraits drawn were West Side Rag readers, who contacted her after seeing our story about her in February, her father Scott Matthews told us.

Sasha, who goes to local school MS 54, shows her work at rumblecomics.com and has published a book of the everyday superheroes drawings.

ART, NEWS | 6 comments | permalink
    1. Karen says:

      Wow! What a terrific kid, a terrific human being and a darn good artist! Guess who’s a not-everyday-hero?

    2. Jon says:

      This is a wonderful and inspiring story

    3. Carlin Meyer says:

      You go Sasha! Makes me proud to be an Upper West Sider!!!!

    4. Anne Bard says:

      it’s astonishing to see the work of this talented and prolific middle schooler!! And what a worthy cause!

    5. Carol G. says:

      Sasha, you are an amazing and inspirational young woman! I have hope for the future when I read of your generosity, compassion and commitment to social justice. Keep up the great work entertaining us with your amazing comics and inspiring us with your selfless acts.

    6. Evan says:

      So, when is the book coming out? Wouldn’t it be great to team up with a photographer to take photos of the actual people she drew and then show her drawings side by side with their written story.
      Somewhat like the book (Extra)Ordinary people by Keith Maginn. A really good fundraiser that can reach thousands.