8-year-old busker raises $1,787

Sophie Nylen uses violin to help family displaced by fire
Eight-year-old Sophia Nylen and her mother Ildi pose with Sheila Short in the Douglas Breeze In parking lot on Saturday. By playing her violin downtown for six days, Sophia raised $1,787 for a local family who lost their Twin Lakes home in a fire two weeks ago.

An 8-year-old violinist surprised a local family who lost their home in a fire in late July by giving them $1,787.24 on Saturday. The money came from donations the girl received while busking downtown.

Sophie Nylen saw the home of Amber and Lucas Schneider burn down as she was being driven home from violin practice in the Twin Lakes area on July 25. She told the Empire she felt bad and wanted to help them buy a new home. She set up her music stand in front of Marine View Apartments in downtown Juneau a few days later and played violin for an hour every day for six days to raise money.

Tourists and locals alike gave freely, as her mother, Ildia Nylen, supervised. Ildia Nylen said she is very proud of her daughter and thankful for everyone who made a donation.

The Nylens gave the money to Amber’s mother, Sheila Short, at the Douglas Breeze-In on Saturday. Amber Schneider said she was surprised the little girl raised so much money — the Nylen family had kept the amount a secret until they handed it over.

“We were totally surprised!” Amber told the Empire. “We are grateful for the donations and Sophie did an amazing job playing.”

The cause of the house fire is unknown and still under investigation.

Others have donated to the Schneiders, too. The stores in Nugget Mall gave the family $690 worth of gift certificates to the various stores in the mall, and Wee Fishie pledged to feed the family’s dog indefinitely. A group on Facebook, Juneau Pay It Forward, has also pitched in by helping the family replenish furniture and household items lost in the blaze.


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