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Local woman's crafts help fund Paws on Parole

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Posted: Friday, November 8, 2013 12:45 am

Brittany Larsen brushed the final strokes of black paint, defining the irregular burnt-orange spots of a giraffe on a thick poster board sign.

It was an ordinary Wednesday night, and the 20-year-old UF business junior was hovering over the completed craft in her room.

It was a 21-things-to-do poster for a customer’s birthday following the tradition of students, and it helped Larsen’s crafting side-business thrive. The buyer didn’t have enough time to make a sign, so she responded to Larsen’s Facebook post advertising $8 creations, from which all proceeds go to animal rescues.

Larsen’s business stemmed from a sales management class in which the students were assigned to fundraise $1,700 for an organization using marketing techniques. In September, she formed the craft business and chose to give her profits to Paws on Parole, a program between the Alachua County Animal Services and the Florida Department of Corrections.

The program helps prisoners learn how to care for the animals, and it helps the dogs socialize and become more adoptable.

“I figured it’d be a great way to help out and give back while also doing something I enjoyed,” she said.

Donations rallied by the sales management classes help fund the whole program, said Hilary Hynes, Alachua County Animal Services public education program coordinator.

“If it didn’t exist, I would have to do some serious marketing myself to get donation funds,” she said.

As the orders pile up, Larsen’s side business becomes tougher to schedule along with her 15-credit class schedule.

She only handles two to three orders per week but is looking to expand depending on next semester’s workload and this semester’s success rate.

Right now, Larsen has raised about $50 from the craft projects but has more orders every day.

“That’s really what we’re working for,” Larsen said. “To give dogs a second chance at a good home.”

A version of this story ran on page 3 on 11/8/2013 under the headline "Gator funds animal program"

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