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Local girl spreads happiness and hippie-ness

She started tye dying shirts as a fun babysitting project when she was 14. When the two girls she babysat for got sick that year and were in the hospital, she made them shirts as a gift and not only did it thrill them, it got the nurses and doctors interested.

"Other kids wanted shirts so I made a batch of 100 to deliver and it kind of spiraled from there," said Busone.

Hippies for Hope was born. Busone hand dyes around 100 shirts a week in her garage. She then sells them in various sizes for $10 apiece. For each shirt sold, she gives one away.

"I do monthly hospital visits to Albany Medical Center and smaller visits to different group homes and special organizations in the area," said Busone.

So far, Hippies for Hope has raised more than $10,000 and donated close to 5,000 t-shirts.

Besides getting ready to graduate, heading up her not-for-profit and maintaining the Hippies for Hope blog, Facebook page and Twitter account, Busone has also been learning Swahili.

"I've been taking classes and teaching myself. It's exciting and a difficult language but I have a lot of fun with it," said Busone. "I mail them a couple letters in their language and it's fun to have them critique it."

Busone sponsors Sega Girls School through a non-profit in Africa called Nurturing Minds. It provides financial and technical support to programs that improve access to education for girls in Tanzania, specifically those who are poor, marginalized and at risk of being exploited. The school gives girls in Tanzania an education, teaches leadership skills, social responsibility, environmental care and how to be self-sufficient.

To keep up with everything Hippies for Hope, check out the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Hippies-for-Hope, follow Busone on Twitter at www.twitter.com/hippiesforhope and follow the blog at www.hippiesforhope.tumblr.com. To buy a shirt email hippiesforhope@gmail.com and to make a donation send a check or money order to: Hippies for Hope, 276 Lake Road, Ballston Lake, NY 12019.

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