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Compassion Cards

Grant: Color Printer and Toner
Amount: $1,180
Teacher: Carol Willard, Julie Guerin
Students benefiting from grant: Junior High Art Students

STURBRIDGE – Tantasqua Regional Junior High School students have been able to use their artwork to raise money for local and national charities, thanks to a grant for “Compassion Cards.”

Compassion Card samples created by junior high school students. DeAngela Galonek and Cameron Simoneau show the board of Compassion Card samples.

The $1,180 grant, secured by art teachers Carol Willard and Julie Guerin, was provided by the Tantasqua Education Foundation (Ted.). It allowed the teachers to purchase a high-quality color printer and toner for printing the cards.

Willard and Guerin have been producing the Compassion Cards with their students for several years, and Guerin created calendars last year. They had secured a majority of the necessary equipment for the project through previous Community Service Learning (CSL) grants including a computer equipped with graphic design software, a digital camera to take high-quality photos of the work for reproduction and quality paper to print the cards on.

“But we always sent them out to be printed,” Willard said. “The inspiration came in if we had a color printer of our own in the room, we could donate more money to the causes.”

According to the grant application, a high-quality color printer would produce quality products worthy of donations, reduce unnecessary use of ink on the school’s color printer and provide confidence that each job will be completed. Now, due to that cost savings, 100 percent of the donations patrons give – $5 for a pack of 10 cards – are donated to the charity of that person’s choice.

Willard said the original intent was to let the class decide what organization they wanted to donate to. But in the end, they decided to choose several worthy causes, and let patrons decide.

“I liked that they had options,” Willard said.

Patrons can choose to have their donation go to Little Friends for Peace, Second Chance Animal Shelter, the New England Equine Rescue League, Compassion International and the Central Asia Institute.

As a culminating event to the projects, the non-profits will be invited to speak to students about how the donations were used. Representatives from Second Chance Animal Shelter and Amanda Galonek, former Tantasqua student and now a volunteer at Little Friends for Peace in Washington, D.C., have already come to speak

“It’s a really nice connection,” Willard said. “It opened that door to a lot of additional activities.”

DeAngela Galonek, TRJHS student and sister of Amanda, said she was excited when the owner of Little Friends for Peace sent her a letter of gratitude.

“It made me feel happy because she told me how helpful it was, even though I didn’t know her,” DeAngela said. “It made me proud of all the work we did.”

“It’s nice to see so many members of the community be involved with the students,” Guerin said. “It’s nice to see their donations matter.”
The artwork seen on the cards are a product of class assignments.

“It is always nice to put their artwork on something that will be seen,” Guerin said.

The works are photographed, and then put into a graphic design software program for easy printing. Willard and Guerin said the students really like seeing their artwork on the cards.

“The kids are always excited to see their art work,” Willard said. “It’s a nice confidence builder when they see them out being sold and it looks great.”

“It felt really good instead of bringing art home to use it in a card and make money for people who need it,” student Cameron Simoneau said.
Many families have already purchased cards, including DeAngela Galonek’s family, who purchased the cards to use as Christmas cards. Simoneau’s father, who owns a dry cleaning business in Worcester, sold them at his shop.

“I thought it was so nice he offered to take them and sell them,” Willard said.

Guerin and Willard said they both liked working with the Ted. Foundation.

“They were great,” Willard said. “They provided great opportunities for the students that wouldn’t have been possible without their help.”

“The brunch was great,” Guerin said. “It was nice to see the projects people were working on.”

As a thank you to the Ted. Foundation, each card has “Funded by the Tantasqua Education Foundation (Ted.)” printed on the back.

Order forms were given out to students in art class, and in autumn at parent conferences, sample and order forms were available for parents.

For anyone who would like to purchase Compassion Cards, they can do so at the All Arts Evening Preview Wednesday, May 26 at the high school or by visiting Willard’s web page at www.tantasqua.org/TJHS and downloading a form.

A total of $11,612.91 has been awarded to six projects in the 2009-2010 academic year.