A while back I asked you guys if you knew of any artisans that give back to the community around them so I could start featuring them here on Ninja Jenn. I've had a small, but awesome response to that post, and today I get to feature my very first "Artisan Giving Back"! Her name is Amy Cavaness, and she's the artisan behind AmyDesigns on Artfire. I hope you will take the time to read about her and visit her studio, and I am sure you will be as moved and inspired by Amy as I've been!
Amy is an amazing seamstress, and in her studio you will find all sorts of gorgeous goodies! She has aprons, clothing, wall hangings, and purses, all made with the most amazing attention to detail! But, being an amazing artisan isn't all she does. Amy is a mother of 4, a wife, a dog and horse owner/lover, and an avid dancer! She and her husband love to line dance and trail ride in their free time, and they even train horses using Natural Horsemanship methods. You can find Amy on facebook, blogspot, and ByHand.me as well!
As busy as she is, Amy still finds time to give back to a cause that's very near and dear to her heart. Amy donates what she can to the National Association for Down Syndrome, a Chicago regional organization. According to Amy, "They train moms of young kids with DS to visit brand new moms in the hospital or shortly after they get home, give them up-to-date literature, etc. They have area playgroups, and lots of other activities. And they're basically a clearing house for info you need when you discover your baby isn't like the ones in the "baby books". Their advocacy continues through adults with DS."
Amy first learned of this organization on April 7, 1988. That's the day her second child, Dean, was born. (Dean has Down Syndrome.) When I asked her why she chose this cause, Amy replied " I was too young for pre-natal testing, so I didn't know he had DS until after he was born. This organization was a godsend and I felt empowered by the knowledge they gave me."
As trying as I'm sure this path has been for her, Amy has been able to find beauty in it. She told me (when asked what she enjoyed most about her work) "I've loved encountering moms with young ones with DS-especially if Dean is with me-so I can "testify" a little bit! Dean is an awesome guy and my life has been so enriched by him. It hasn't always been easy, but I know I'm a much better person for knowing and loving him."
Amy wrote a poem about 15 years ago that has been featured on the landing page for the Malta Down Syndrome Assoc. and a website for people who want to adopt kids with DS, among others! I'd like to share that poem with you:
On Tuesday, April 7th, 2009, Dean will turn 21 years old. In honor of his birthday, Amy will be donating 100% of her sales to the National Association for Down Syndrome. Please stop by her shop and take a look... you may see something you love that will help out this wonderful organization! (Also, birdysknits on Artfire has graciously offered to donate an additional $5 to NADS.org for each sale that Amy makes on the 7th. Please stop by and say thank you to them as well!)
* If you'd like to learn more about NADS, or how to donate, please visit NADS.org. Additionally, you can google for information on local organizations that benefit children & adults with Down Syndrome. *
06 April 2009
I Dreamed-by Amy Cavaness
I dreamed he'd be born beautiful and healthy.
I dreamed he'd tell me that he loves me.
He tells me every day.
I dreamed he'd be bright and funny.
He is - his humor is wonderful.
I dreamed he'd ride a bike, catch a ball and wrestle with his big brother.
He does and his brother loves it.
I dreamed he'd have big birthday parties with lots of friends and cake and presents.
He's had six.
I dreamed he'd one day get on a bus and go to kindergarten.
He did it yesterday - my heart full of love and my eyes full of tears.
I dreamed he'd make us proud.
He has, and he's inspired us.
Dean has Down Syndrome.
I never dreamed that.