RENO, NEVADA - I tell you all the time (well, those of you out on twitter and facebook, anyway...) to go find a local Contemporary Ceramics Studio Association (CCSA) studio and paint some pottery. These are the pottery studios located all over that allow you to come in and paint pottery and then THEY clean up the mess while you have a good time. It's really just a stellar time, as a matter of fact, our tiny staff here at the Foundation will be doing that for our Christmas party this year. We fully expect to leave covered in red and green paint.
I encourage people to go for fun, but there is a another really big reason - other than the fact that you should find a good creative outlet. This organization is absolutely passionate about cancer research. Passionate. They come to me individually and tell me their stories of hope, of survivorship, and in some cases, of loss. They sit at corporate headquarters and say things like 'lets do this' and then create entire programs around donating to the Vera Bradley Foundation. Mayco and their partners have created a campaign to align with our "Hope Grows" theme. Lilly Ollo has decided to send a portion of their proceeds from their silver jewelry sales to us. All of these people had never heard of us, but now know and love what we do. This photo is Richard, the King of CCSA (that's the title I have bestowed upon him, I'm not entirely sure of his actual title but I am sure it's just as impressive) doing his darnedest to get the auction prices juuuuuust a bit higher. And me. Looking like a dork in my 1980's prom dress. That was their theme this year, I don't ask questions, I just attend. Happily.
These are small business owners who are making a difference in spite of difficult economic times, in spite of the fact that philanthropic giving is down nationwide. These studios are people with hearts as big as their creative genius. I know you are thinking about what to do with the kids one weekend when the weather is not perfect. I know you are working to plan your own Holiday parties. I know you are thinking about doing a girls night out for ONCE and just have a little time alone. I know where you should go. Tell them Heidi says hi. :)