VERO BEACH – On the last official day of Spring Break, when they could have been lounging pool- or beach-side, three art students from St. Edward’s toiled over 300 small clear glass jars.
Candace Lombardi measured and cut multi-colored ribbon. Olivia Kinkelaar tied the ribbons around the jars’ necks. And Olivia Hendren wrote with a paint pen “Thank you for your support – CHS.”
The jars will later be filled with special M&M candies and given as favors for the Tumba La Casa benefit for Children’s Home Society of Florida.
The organization provides a stable home for children who have been removed from their families due to abuse, are awaiting placement with a foster family or a forever family through adoption.
“It’s really lovely,” said Vero Beach artist and volunteer recruiter for the favors Martha Ann Huey Sloan of the transition home for the girls who have turned 18, later adding, “You all would be impressed with those girls.
It is those girls that the three teens from St. Ed’s wanted to help.
“It’s just a good thing to do – from the heart,” said Kinkelaar. “I know it sounds cheesy but it’s true.”
“I would rather be here than the beach anyway,” Lombardi added.
“I didn’t threaten them, I promise,” Sloan said.
All three teens are students of Sloan’s Saturday painting class. When Sloan asked for volunteers to help with party favors, the girls didn’t hesitate.
Hendren said that while she wanted to help such a good cause, she could also receive hours for her requirement for confirmation.
“I know it’s going to be fun,” she said of what helped her decide to help out.
Lombardi added that making the favors is such a “little thing to do” but she knew it would help “something so much bigger.”
“So many people could do a little thing and it would make a big difference,” she said.
Though the teens are recent art students at the Jill Pease Gallery on Commerce Avenue, they’re no strangers to art, having taken classes while at St. Ed’s.
The school has what is called the “exploratory wheel” – a set of four classes the students take over the course of the school year – one class each quarter.
“I like Martha Ann much, much better,” Kinkelaar said, giggling. “She’s more fun.”
“I’d like to keep making art all my life,” Lombardi said, adding that she doesn’t know if that would be possible for her.
“I like the idea of growing up and becoming a famous artist,” Kinkelaar said.
The girls plan to have the jars decorated well before the Tumba La Casa event at Rock City Gardens in Wabasso on Saturday, April 16.
This year, Tumba La Casa will be held in conjunction with Rockin’ Vero Beach, another major fund-raiser for Children’s Home Society of Florida. For more information about the event, click HERE.