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My professional life and my blog life have always been separate. Until today.

Many of you know that my days are spent working with children as a pediatric psychologist. We all have our niche in life and mine is working with children.

On Friday afternoon, I sat at my desk and tried to avoid the influx of Facebook posts about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I knew that it was bad and I knew I couldn’t bear reading through the facts. Around 2:00pm, I finally caught up on what had happened. It was worse than I could have imagined. Kids dead. Mourning parents. Survivors. Forever scarred. I just don’t get it.

There have been too many tragedies like this in our country, but I am not in the business of arguing gun laws, school security, or the motives of the gunman. There are other skilled professionals who can do that far better than me. My cause is for the children of Newtown. The kids and survivors who have to process this and make sense of it over the next days, weeks and years.  The kids who had to be escorted out of their school, passing the bodies of their classmates and teachers. The kids who likely have Christmas gifts to give to friends they won’t see again. The kids who will jump every time they hear a pot drop on the floor or a siren, fearing that it’s all happening again. The kids who will have trouble returning to school, worried if they are safe there.

There is absolutely nothing that anyone can do to rewind this disgusting event, but I feel like I must do something and I know many of you feel the same way.

During my graduate and post-grad training, I did some work with grieving children. I am by no means an expert in this area, but I have seen it. It’s tragic and unfair and extremely difficult to process.

Children seldom sit down and just start talking and telling you what’s on their mind. Some do. Most don’t. Most don’t even know what to say…they haven’t figured it out for themselves. Research in the fields of social work and psychology offer significant evidence that art can be a valuable therapeutic tool for children as they work through grief and trauma. Children’s drawings can help them tell their story to adults. Art may offer a healthy coping mechanism for children experiencing difficult emotions. Art can also provide a helpful activity for parents to spend quality time with their children, which is undoubtedly something every parent in Newtown needs right now. It’s with these things in mind, that I’m launching Drawn Together, a chance for us to use our passion for creativity to help, in a small way, to heal the community and children of Newtown, Connecticut.

Drawn Together: For the community of Sandy Hook Elementary School

ThePlanTapeStripThe idea is to assemble at least 50 creative kits filled with art supplies that will be sent to the Newtown Youth & Family Services Center. This center is currently providing counseling and support services to the community and is accepting donations.

Each creative kit will include several items that can be incorporated into the work they are doing with the children and families of Newtown. The kits can also be sent home with children and used with parents to help process this event.

My goal is to assemble and send off the kits during the first week of January 2013.



Vendors, companies and individuals are all invited to donate new & unused supplies to be included in the creative kits. Below is the need list for completing each kit. To meet the goal, we’ll need at least 50 of each item. You do not need to donate all 50 though! Do what you can and we’ll chip away at this list together!

        • Child-friendly stamps (wood-mounted preferred, since clear stamps require acrylic blocks)
        • Black Ink Pads
        • Plain white cardstock
        • Colored cardstock
        • Patterned Paper
        • Small set of crayons
        • Small set of markers
        • Child scissors
        • Watercolor or Acrylic paint
        • Paintbrushes
        • Alphabet stickers
        • Pencils
        • Glitter
        • Glue or Gluesticks
        • Envelopes
        • 50 small canvas tote bags to package each kit

donatedollarsYou can also donate dollars toward creating these kits. Every dollar donated will go toward purchasing supplies for the kits. If the money donated exceeds the amount needed for 50 kits, then we’ll make more! Donations will be open from today, December 16, 2012 through Friday, December 28, 2012. Donations are processed securely through Paypal. Simply click the button below to go to the donation page.

CREATE-A-CARDIt would be nice to include a handmade card in each kit, don’t you think? Create a child-friendly handmade card and send it to me at the address listed at the end of this post. Send one, send ten! Any additional cards that don’t go into the kits will go directly to the Newtown Youth & Family Services center to be distributed. I imagine that children might like to choose a favorite card after their visit to the center. The center could also keep the cards for children who visit them in the future for other services. For themes on the cards, uplifting or all occassion sentiments might be the most appropriate (e.g. Thinking of you, You’re Special). We can’t be sure who these will reach. For the inside of the card, you can either leave it blank or sign it with your name and where you are from. Here are a few greeting card verses that may also be appropriate for the inside of your cards:


Papertrey Ink also offers some great “Thinking of You” sentiments in their Over Under Easy stamp set and  Half & Half stamp set, so feel free to use those as inspiration!


I’ve never ever done anything like this, mostly because I’ve never felt as heartbroken as I do about what happened in Newtown. Please share this with friends or companies who may also like to participate in some way. This blog is not a big one, but I’d like this to reach as many people as possible. I’d love your help with that.  Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…heck…send out carrier pigeons, I don’t care! Let’s work together and do what we can to help!

Grab the graphic below if you’d like to share this on the sidebar of your own blog



If you would like to donate supplies, please contact me first via email at:


Cards and supplies will be mailed to:

Amber Kemp-Gerstel/Drawn Together

P.O Box 310157

Miami, FL 33231-0157

Thanks to each of you for reading this post. I hope you’ll participate. I remember a professor once told me “There is no such thing as true altruism.” I agree. In part, I need to do this to help myself cope, but if my need to cope also helps a few children in Newtown, then I’m okay with that.

Keep on crafting with these other posts

142 thoughts on “Drawn Together: A Fundraiser for Newtown, Connecticut

  1. We’re expecting 7 to 14 inches of snow tomorrow, so I’m going to spend all day making cards. Then when the snow stops and I shovel my drive, I’m going to the store to get supplies to send. I was thinking about sending money since I’m in Eastern Washington State, and I will do that too, but I wanted to send supplies because I know that making cheerful things brighten my day. God bless the children.

  2. Amber thanks so much for doing this – what a beautiful thing you are doing for this community! It has touched many hearts here in Australia and I can’t imagine the pain those parents and families are going through. I have made a donation and my son and I will make some cards to post over too. Hugs to you.

  3. Amber, thank you so much for doing this; I am definitely going to send supplies. I’ve also put it on my FB page and have already gotten others to help. It’s the least I can do. I am also heartbroken for the families affected by this tragedy and want to do something. Thanks for giving us an outlet. You are truly an angel.

  4. Terrific idea and I’m on board. Newtown is only 40 minutes North of me and I have friend’s who know some of the victims. I will gather items that I have and send them out to you. Thank you for spearheading this and I will share it on my blog today too.

  5. I am so glad I found this! I really wanted some way to help out and this is just perfect! I am working on some cards now and will be sending out some art supplies too. I was also looking for a way to send some cards for the teachers as well, they were all so brave for those kids. If I put some cards in my package for them do you think they would find their way to them?

  6. Fantastic idea! Me and 3 little girls will be helping by donating some supplies and a few handmade cards. I am so glad to have found this, thanks for putting it together. My girls have been wanting to do something for all those poor children and this is perfect! Thank you again. <3

  7. wonderful idea…and putting it on my blog…and hope to donate some supplies..wish I would of seen this yesterday, ad I had 20 grandchildren here all 18 and under, and it was a project we could all work on..6 of them are 6….this had affected all of us!!

  8. Wow…. I am so glad you are putting this together. I will try and see what I can do from my end as well. This is really wonderful of you. I will share this as well and spread the news.

  9. This is such a wonderful idea! Funky Finds is dedicated to promoting handmade. We are spreading the word via Facebook, our blog & our newsletter!!!! Thanks for heading this up. God bless you! Jessica Dougherty,

  10. My heart weeps for those victims and families! Thanks for organizing such a wonderful project Amber! I sent you an email and I will be gathering supplies today!

  11. Amber I totally love this idea… I will send some supplies and have shared this on the cricut message board as well to help pass the word.

    Blessings on this project…

  12. Hi Amber. Thank you for doing this! I am a papercrafter, but also a mom of two wonderful kids. My son has bipolar disorder and everytime one of these tragic events happens, I cringe because of the huge discussions about mental illness that happen and unfortunately, the stigma that is out there. I think this situation in Newtown is affecting everyone in this country. It is a terrible tragedy. I am so glad you found a way to give back to these children and their families. I love the logo you made for this cause. Would you consider putting in on items to sell to raise money for the various funds being developed? I, for one, would be happy to purchase something. Thanks again.

  13. What an amazing idea Amber! I have always believed that art could be healing – it is for me 🙂 I have posted a link on my blog and also shared on FB. I am going to email you right now to see how I can best help. Thanks so much for doing this!

  14. Hey Amber, this is such an awesome idea! I posted this on my personal Facebook and I’m going to blog about it on my blog and the Whisker Graphics blog. I also sent you an email (from my work email) about donating. 🙂

  15. Ok Amber my package is ready for mailing and I’ve posted a link on my personal blog to your fundraiser. It’s a wonderful cause and I’m sure you will be overwhelmed with support from the crafty blog world!

  16. I am in Thank you for letting all of us get in on this to help . SThere are alot of crafty people out here and I know they will be helping if they can. God Bless.

  17. As many others have said, I have been searching my brain trying to figure out a way to “help” those affected in Newton…, there is no way to erase the horror of last Friday, but I LOVE this idea and I think it will go a long way to help ease the pain of those affected directly. I donated and plan on having my two kids design cards and will mail them in. THANK YOU so much for doing this. I know I can’t help much, but hopefully my dollars will help a child, if even a little.

  18. Amber, you are awesome for organizing this! Thank you so much for finding a way for us to help. I will send some supplies and a card!

  19. Thanks so much for doing this! I’ve also been thinking about how to use my crafting skills to help these families. I live in Ct just about an hour away from where this tragedy happened and have a daughter in the public school system. It’s been incredibly heart breaking. I thought about some kind of card drive, but wasn’t sure how to organize it. Thanks so much for figuring out how to do it. I’ll try to make some cards and donate funds.

    May you have a blessed holiday season!

  20. What a wonderful, beautiful thing you are doing, Amber. When people ask, “Where was God in all of this”, we can point at people like you and those who step up to help in whatever way and say, “Right there.” Thank you.
    Donating through Paypal and posting on Facebook…

  21. This is truly a wonderful thing you are
    doing. This may even help my tears from falling. I can’t help but think of those children who lost their beautiful lives that day and the ones that have to go on and always have this in the back of their head. May God Bless every one of them and heal their broken hearts.

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