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Art from the Heart Offers Unique Valentine's Day Opportunity




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Roseville, CA -- It is a sad fact that children with physical or mental disabilities are more likely to be bullied and often have a harder time making friends.

For almost twenty years, a program in Granite Bay, CA known as A Touch Of Understanding (ATOU) has helped deliver a different empowering message to those with and without disabilities.

When ATOU comes to a school, students create messages in Braille and experience what it would be like to walk using a cane, learn how to get around in a wheelchair and learn some "disability" etiquette about how to interact with people with disabilities. More importantly, they learn that those with disabilities are like them in more ways than they are different and that they also have many strengths and may have special tools that help them to be successful.

On February 6, 2004, ATOU and emcee Rob Steward from "Rob on the Road" on KVIE will celebrate having served over 60,000 students at a unique "Art from the Heart" program at Blue Line Arts in downtown Roseville. Over 120 artistic creations including paintings, quilts, sculptures, ceramics, photographs and carvings will be sold during silent and live auctions and there will be raffles for many Valentine's Day inspired gift baskets.

The art auction will have a unique ATOU twist because at least four of the pieces were created to tell the story of those served by and those who volunteer with A Touch of Understanding.

Fourteen-year-old Hanah Stover has autism, but her family is proud to say that she has not been a victim of teasing because the children at the schools Hanah has attended went through the ATOU program and learned to be "buddies not bullies." Artist Nancy Wood met with Hanah, learned about her dreams, her challenges and her talents by spending an afternoon playing with Hanah at her home. Nancy learned that Hanah loves real and stuffed animals, flowers, rainbows, and any opportunity to perform on stage. Nancy put together the pieces of Hanah's life and created a life-filled quilt called "Hanah's World" that will be shared at "Art from the Heart." Hanah's grandmother looked at the completed quilt and said "Nancy got it right!"

Art From the Heart
February 6, 2014, 6-9 pm
Blue Line Arts
405 Vernon St., ste100
Roseville, CA

Jim Wood recently met Nick Bratkovich, an elementary school student who had a stroke at birth that has impacted his life. Despite the challenges, Nick was a speaker at the awards ceremony when ATOU founder, Leslie DeDora was presented with the USA Network's Characters Unite award. Jim and Nick took a walk and learned they shared a common love for nature and for Yosemite Park. Nick was especially fascinated by Half Dome and something called "the plank" that some brave souls walk out on at Half Dome. Jim and Nick decided that a large piece of redwood was the perfect medium and began work on a carving. Together they created a powerful work known simply as "Yosemite" that you can see at "Art from the Heart."

Jeanne Culhane didn't have to be introduced to Becky Hensley, because the two of them had been volunteers for ATOU since Becky was in high school. Becky has suffered from pain that can get so severe that she has to use a wheelchair to get around, but she has worked through the pain to be a presenter for ATOU for about fifteen years now. Becky loves nature and kayaking and the way leafless trees look in the winter. Jeanne took those interests, and a special rock that Becky gave her, and created a ceramic piece called "Becky's Dream" with the rock held tightly in the roots of a ceramic tree.

Tickets for this fundraising event are $50 for one or $90 for two and $20 of that ticket price can be used towards the purchase of many of the items of art at the event. Beer, wine, and hors d'oeuvres will be provided and the first 120 people who arrive will also get a special souvenir of the event.

Come out and pick up some unique items of art or gift baskets to celebrate Valentine's day and support A Touch of Understanding.

Call 916 791-4146 or go to www.ATOUartfromtheheart.org for more information.