Note: If you have arrived at this post from the Free Charles Erickson FB page, please scroll down to the third pair of earrings to learn how to receive a pair of blue enameled disc earrings along with a special thank-you magnet from Charlie's Mom, Marianne.
Original post: I think most of us, at some time or another, want to help with non profit organizations or causes that we have a personal connection to. For me, and from what I have personally experienced in the past four years, it is supporting the wrongfully convicted. There are long stories I could tell as to why, but I won't launch into them, other than to say that my family was a part of a wrongful conviction that could have ended up much worse. Fortunately (I say that lightly), our story did end with an option that was the best it could be. Others have not been so fortunate and spend many years locked up behind bars for crimes that they did not commit. I know it is hard to many of us to believe, but it happens so much more than you know. And if you haven't known anyone who has experienced anything like this with their family, now you have. Me.
Prior to that experience I knew quite a bit about our justice system, since I was interested in the topic. What I didn't know is how naive I was to what REALLY happens. It is not anything like you see, even if, like me, you are obsessed with real trials or shows like 48 hours and such. If you were like me and glued to the TV with the OJ Simpson trial on court TV and all of the other famous trials, what you didn't see is what goes on that is not in the courtroom. (For the record, I also think there are cases where the defendant gets away with the crime they were charged with).
What has helped to make a difference and bring recognition to this issue is online social media. What a great way to bring people who have similar experiences together. A story that I followed long before Facebook was the wrongful conviction of Ryan Ferguson and Charles Erickson. If you would like to read about those, you could simply Google either of their names and a litany of information with be at your fingertips.
Court costs are surmountable. Again, something most do not realize. Ryan Ferguson with the help of his family, is free. Charles Erickson is not. His family is also trying to help free him. There is no way that I can give to all causes that I would like to, so for the time being, my focus has been on this case.
This is where my creativity comes into play. I don't always have extra funds to offer, but I do have some talents that allow me to help out. In this case, I started out by making earrings that represented a circle of support for Charles. I offered them for a donation. I was able to raise money with those. The problem is they were tough on my hands, so to make them in large quantities was getting to be a little too much.
I decided that I needed to make this a little easier on my aging hands, so I came up with this style in their place.
And after making many ear wires by hand (I always feel like everything I do has to be completely handmade), I have simplified the task once more and purchased simple pre-made ear wires. This way I can produce more and will also to able to mail groups out to Charles' Mom, Marianne Erickson. She can then offer them as a thank-you for local donations to the defense fund.
As you can see, they are made the same (hand-punched and domed discs with enamel), but I am being more efficient and saving a few joints!! lol!!
If you would like to help the Charles Erickson Defense Fund, (a minimum of $20) and receive a pair of blue earrings that are a little closer in color to the first picture, just head over to FREE CHARLES ERICKSON on Facebook or his website. Click the PayPal button to donate. Marianne Erickson, Charlie's Mom, will notify me to ship. Thank-you.
Here are a few things that my friends at Love My Art Jewelry do to help by making jewelry.
I donate a huge portion of my sales to the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation and hold an annual show called Wild Things to raise funds as well. Over 20 artists participate and donate to RSCF 25% of sales generated through the show.
I take a training in April to work with human trafficked girls. My goal is to be able to have jewelry classes with them. If not, then I am planning on designing a few pieces with a portion of it going the the cause.
I've started donating $4 the proceeds from my Be The Change Penny Charms to a chosen charity bimonthly. For December/January, it is Karen's foundation....but for February/March I will be choosing a new one.
Our other friends at LMAJ also have organizations that are near and dear to them. You can find those on the side of our blog.
What creative ways do you contribute. Feel free to share.
Thanks for reading and supporting those who create handmade with handmade.