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Friday, May 20, 2022

Child abuse center raises awareness through art

Miniature masters of genius and imagination, along with their parents, come together Tuesdays and Thursdays at Do Art studio with one goal - to end child abuse with the Child Advocacy Center's Jay's Hands project.

The pieces of art will be turned into porcelain ornaments with information on abuse that will be hung on local trees.

According to the organization's Web site, the goal of CAC is to "provide a safe, supportive, child-friendly environment for child victims of abuse and neglect."

According to CAC spokeswoman Margot Wilder, the organization works with the Department of Children and Families, lawyers and victims of sexual, mental, physical and emotional abuse, neglected children and witnesses of substance abuse or violence.

"[Jay's Hands] was an idea that came up to honor one of our founding board members," said Wilder, who described it as both a fundraiser and a way to raise awareness of the CAC throughout the community. "It's sort of a pay-it-forward kind of idea, just to brighten people's days."

Anyone who wants to contribute can visit Do Art at Thornebrook Village on Northwest 43rd Street on Tuesdays and Thursdays between noon and 7 p.m. to mold, paint or string beads for the ornaments. Wilder said that Do Art is offering two-for-one studio fees for those working on the project. While a donation is required, there is no minimum.

Do Art employee and UF senior Sarah Knowles said while people give a small donation, their contribution to the project is more about the time they spend on the ornaments, which she described as a fun and low-cost way to participate.

Fellow employee and UF senior Jacob Bonynge said participation has dwindled recently. Now, he said, more people find out about the project when they visit the studio.

Wilder said she is planning "stringing parties" for October and a distribution party in November to be held at Do Art. The studio and its owners have donated the materials for Jay's Hands project, which kicked off in May.

"Where we are right now is we've had huge numbers of people making and painting the beads, but it's a little more labor-intensive to string the beads into ornaments," she said.

"My favorite part of the project is the end product; 10 people at the end have touched that one strand," she said.

For more information about Jay's Hands, visit the Web site at www.jayshands.com.

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