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A heartfelt project for CASA.

I love my family dearly. I love returning home, from work, greeted by my 3-1/2 half year old son’s outstretched arms. I love my other son, too young to talk, bounce up and down with an ear-to-ear smile when he wakes up next to my wife and me. I love my wife. I love her desire to find balance in work, personal well-being and 24/7 unconditional mothering of our children.

These days I do not take anything for granted. I breathe in and out with gratitude for the life I live. When I was younger, life was not always so great for me. Various inner personal struggles made it hard for me to have wholehearted relationships with nearly everyone. What got me through those years was support from my family. If it were not for them, I would have probably made a lot of painful decisions along the way. I feel so appreciative of all the care I’ve been shown over the years. Unfortunately, I have seen and heard a lot about children who have had to go through incredibly painful experiences. Horrible mistreatment and neglect issues forced upon them by the people who they trusted the most.

Sadly, there are way too many children that do not have someone to love and care for him or her like I was cared for. Since 1983, Jackson County CASA has safely guided thousands of children through the Jackson County court system. CASA services are vital in this area, which reports the highest number of abused and neglected children of any Missouri county. Their mission is to be a child’s voice in court. They recruit; train and support lay volunteers who act as advocates on behalf of the best interest of abused and neglected children.

A few weeks ago I, along with a construction team, completed the new Child Interview Room for CASA. It’s main purpose is to provide a friendly “safe” environment during the difficult experience of interviewing abused children. I took on the role of interior designer and asked my wonderfully imaginative artist friend, Meg Cundiff, to lend her colorful whimsy to the mix. Meg graciously donated her time and talent to create the dreamiest artwork.

I am humbled to have been asked to work on this incredibly meaningful project. Every child deserves a loving caring family like my children have. For those who don’t have it so good, thank goodness there are CASA volunteers who work tirelessly to help children in need.

If you would like to know more about the CASA organization, go to: http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5301295/k.BE9A/Home.htm

Fresh children

Beginning transformation of 8 x 16 foot room. Modular carpet by Flor.

Children

Reading nook bench built by Kaleidoscope employee Ron Worley.

Completed Reading nook shows Pier One pillows, IKEA pendant light fixture, soft sculpture veggies and children's stool. Hallmark Cards' Kaleidoscope provided used children's books through its book donation program.

 

 

Phenomenal artist, Meg Cundiff, created wonderfully lyrical digital art for the Interview room. Artwork printed locally at ARC, by brother-in-law, Matt Weiss.

 

Children

Final room styling featuring Meg Cundiff’s original 4'x4' digital art, IKEA table, chairs, soft sculpture barn, storage and floor lamp. Upper right photo detail of Meg Cundiff’s acrylic laser cut bird sculpture. Bottom right photo: iBoo mp3 player,

 

Photography:  Chris Duh – copyright 2011
All artwork images used in this document are the exclusive property of Meg Cundiff. All rights reserved. Any other use of these artwork images, without the expressed written consent of the Artist, is strictly prohibited.

 

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Mary Marquez - July 22, 2011 - 3:18 pm

Thank you again Chris for all of your hard work. I echo Bill’s comments. The work that CASA and Family Court employees perform is difficult, heart wrenching, and lonely sometimes. But knowing that people like you would take the time to share with us and the children we serve helps immensely. Thank you and Meg and Hallmark again.

William Jackson - July 22, 2011 - 2:57 pm

I can’t say enough about how much we appreciate everything you and Kaleidoscope did for us, Chris. Our attorneys are thrilled to have a facility like this where children and youth can be interviewed regarding these sensitive cases. The friendly environment is a really important part of making them feel comfortable and secure during this difficult process. Your blog is pretty cool too! Onwards and upwards.

Chris - July 5, 2011 - 10:13 pm

Thanks for your kind words Bubs.

Shan - July 5, 2011 - 9:43 pm

what an amazing contribution. beautiful, beautiful space and beautiful you.

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