Dec. 5, 2008 –'Tis the season for unique greeting cards designed by local students that benefit other kids who have been neglected or abused.
The production and sale of the holiday cards has become a major source of funding for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) over the past eight years, said Gail Shearer, executive director of CASA.
"It's nice to see so many willing to do their own little piece — from the artists and art teachers to the business community," said Shearer. "They make it possible year after year to raise funds vital to continue to deliver services through CASA."
Shearer added it is truly a community effort with Seaborne Airlines flying the cards to distributors on St. Thomas free of charge. The owners of Quality Auto Parts pick up the tab for shipping to St. Croix, and Flemmings Transport donates the delivery of the cards to the CASA office.
"The purchase of the cards by corporate clients has grown from eight in the beginning to 51 businesses this year choosing to send CASA greeting cards instead of the usual gold foil cards," Shearer said. "The reason for the season is to buy for the kids — a lot of companies understand the true meaning of the message."
Shearer said the Department of Tourism has purchased cards this year and Hovensa, CASAs biggest customer, has continued to show support purchasing cards again this year.
"CASA cards are the only cards our company has sent the past four years," said Mary Sluss, owner of Business World. "I like to support CASA because they take care of the kids."
CASA sends out flyers to all the local schools to get participants. St. Croix Central High School students have participated since the inception of the program and Good Hope students for the past seven years. Students from Manor School, Country Day on St. Croix and Charlotte Amalie High School on St. Thomas also take part in designing the cards. The staff at CASA makes the selection of the art work to be used.
There are beach scenes, cottages, Christmas conch shells, sea turtles and even a snowman melting on the beach. CASA orders enough cards to be able to bring back some of the favorites from past years.
They also have blank all-occasion cards, T-shirts, tank tops, baby rompers and tote bags printed with the original designs, all for sale at the CASA office in Golden Rock next to the federal courthouse. The cards are $15 for a package of 12 cards and are sold at Undercover Books, Sampson House, Royal Poinciana, Turtles Deli and more. On St. Thomas they are available at Draughting Shaft and the V.I. Montessori School.
For a complete list of all the outlets, visit the CASA website. Shearer said the stores return all the receipts from sales.
The purpose of CASA is to train volunteers to advocate for children. CASA speaks up in court to ensure that children who have been traumatized by abuse and neglect, often removed from their family, will have their needs addressed and receive the services necessary to restore their basic human needs: housing, medical care, education and a stable, healthy childhood.
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