Last time I told you that proceeds from our initial project helped to send fellow a etsy seller on a 60km walk to raise money for breast cancer research. Today, I would like to tell you about another special cause to which proceeds were directed.
'Use words, not guns' is a program based in one of Canada's major urban centres. It originated through a city wide task force on guns and gangs violence intervention and prevention. One etsy seller became involved in this project early in its inception and has fully committed herself to its lasting success. Here she explains more about the program, and her role in it.
"My task was to identify the long term needs of the families affected by random gun violence. I had a small budget to work with and had to write grant proposals as well as seeking sponsors so that the families in my group would be helped."
Sadly, this seller encountered some health issues of her own which hampered the fundraising efforts. In time the official program was cut. She however refused to see the project lapse completely.
"I could not let it go at that and since then I've done what I can to help this group of kids through the trauma, sometimes simply providing basic needs, accessing resources and providing emotional support as they grow and move on. A large part of what I do/did focuses on providing trauma support by means of meeting the basic needs of the children involved (basic needs are often forgotten or unaffordable in a family crisis)and teaching coping stragegies in an effort to encourage making good decisions ... with the intention of preventing further violence in the future." "I do a lot of listening...really hearing the kids and their stories. So often there's not really anywhere to talk about it and they need a safe place to do just that. Sometimes they need a hug and warmth and sometimes I work in art therapy for the kids who are too traumatized to verbalize."
"There's not a lot in life that makes you appreciate what you have more than holding a 5 year old, sobbing and begging for his 'own gun-shot wound' (his father was killed in a drive-by shooting) not even comprehending what that is but knowing that's how his father died."
Last summer, TheScribbleGroup donated some of the proceeds from our first project to this project. From the monies donated, our etsy comrade was able to purchase a great deal of yarn for a senior's knitting group who will, in turn, knit several blankets, warm hats, scarves and mittens for the kids who need them. She was also fortunate to find a clearance sale at an art supply store and purchased some much needed paper, paints, crayons & markers for the art-therapy portion of her work with the kids.
Following is a letter from a young girl who benefitted as a result. (Nannie is nickname given to the etsy seller who is involved with the program.)
"I wish to thank of you so mutch. Nannie taked me shopeng. she is so goode. Scool is comeng upp soon. Nannie let me to by bran new soks for me and my brothur. Bran new. Plus 5 of them for al the scool days and we dont evene haf to shaer she let me get them al bran new for just us owr selfs. I am so hapy haveng my own soks. And Plus a pensil cayes and pensils for it to and ges wat it is jest for mine. And so this is wy I wish to thank of you for helpeng Nannie with her dolars. Thankyou. frum A"
In that one sweet and enthusiastic letter, is summed up everything that most of us take for granted. And it is evidence enough that any contribution, no matter how small, can bring actual joy to a child's life.
I greatly admire our friend's doggedness in seeing this program continue on despite funding restraints. If you have ever lived in an urban centre, you understand how important programs like this can be. Children need to learn early that violence is avoidable, and that it need not become a way of life. It is only through teaching an alternative that the path to violence can be altered.
Remember to visit our shop. All items in the "3-Step Project" section will have their proceeds donated to "Use Words, Not Guns".