Friday, May 2, 2014

Tales From The Craft Fair: UCPN Event

2013 was a disappointing year when it came to craft fair sales, but so far, 2014's fair season began on a great note! Today I sold my jewelry at the United Cerebral Palsy Association Of Nassau County and had a really nice time.

I don't know if you can call this event a true "fair" since there were only two of us selling jewelry. But a portion of my earnings went toward the school's funds; at this point in time, they're raising money for the upcoming prom.

My friend Christopher teaches at the school, which is how I got this gig. He loves his job and the kids, and is constantly talking about work, so I was happy to actually see his school. The complex itself is huge and actually houses more than just a school; there are dozens of medical offices and lifestyle classes for adults. Basically, the association is there to help anyone with CP, regardless of his or her age.

What struck me about the place is that it's very well-maintained and very ... warm. That's warm as in "friendly and pleasant," not temperature-wise, though we are having a sunny day here. But almost everyone was smiling and laughing, and the students/patients seemed to be really happy. Those who work there have a very difficult job, but it's clear they all love their work and think of the patients as family.

Anyway, on to the sale! They sat us in the middle of the main atrium so we got a lot of traffic. Both of us sold a lot of pieces, too, which is great because that's money for the prom. I'm, of course, pleased to have sold so much jewelry, especially since a couple of my high-end pieces were purchased, but I also got to meet some great people.

Many of the teachers/nurses/physical therapists stopped by to ask questions about my items and were genuinely interested when I explained how to do enameling or champleve. Not everyone bought something from me (which is fine), but many complimented my work and seemed to really appreciate the fact that I make all of my items. I recently lost a close friend and have been feeling down, so this helped lift my spirits somewhat.

My favorite encounter was with one of the adult patients. She asked a lot of questions about my earrings and ended up buying a pair that has a filigree design and Swarovski crystal hearts. When I packaged them up for her, she exclaimed, "Thank you, you made my day!" It was so sweet! Really, she made MY day. :-)

Christopher teaches the very young kids and he introduced me to a few of his students. They're so cute! He not only teaches them, but often has to do things like feed them or change their diapers. Like I said, this is a very consuming job. I admire him for being so passionate and compassionate.

After the sale was over, the other vendor, who is also a PT at UCPN, drove me to the train station. On the way we chatted and she noted that most of the students and clients have a very positive outlook, even though they're dealing with physical and sometimes mental disabilities. She said she uses her patients as an example -- and that when she's feeling down, she remembers there are those who have it worse... and manage to find reasons to be happy. I think that's a great lesson for all of us!

You guys all know my shops and can find links to them in my other blog entries. But today I'm going to encourage you to donate to the UCPN. Thank you.

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