On a warm day this past August, Mimi Terry and her older brother George had Christmas on their minds.
The pair sat outdoors across from New Hope-Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center with paper and pencil in hand. For about an hour, Mimi, who just turned 8, sketched the red brick building that houses the center. The two artists then went home and over the course of days, completed this original work of art.
That sketch, now with colors added in, is the front of a Christmas card being sold to raise money for New Hope. The cards are being sold in a set of 10 for $10.
The wow factor
Tabitha Damron, executive director for New Hope, couldn’t be more pleased.
“We have done ornaments for several years but decided to do something a little different this year,” she said. “They turned out wonderful.”
Damron had met Mimi and George’s mom, Jennifer Terry, who told her about her children’s artistic talents. Damron was quick to take them up on the offer to create the cards.
Daily Times readers might recognize these two. Mimi and George, 10, were the subjects of an article that ran back in April when Mimi sold some of her drawings at the Maryville Farmers Market. She calls the drawings her Maryville collection. They include the Blount County Public Library, the Blount County Courthouse, downtown Maryville, New Providence Presbyterian Church and the Pistol Creek Pavilion.
Mimi is a third-grader at Foothills Elementary and George is in fifth grade at Montgomery Ridge Intermediate. Both said they love how the Christmas cards have turned out. They will be looking at doing more community projects in the future.
“I would love to draw the New York City skyline,” Mimi said. She has family there so that might be next on her list.
In addition to art, Mimi plays the piano and loves to bake. Pet portraits are what she has experimented with recently.
Damron was hired as executive director of New Hope in February 2014. She had previously worked as a licensed clinical social worker there for 10 years.
The center is a child-friendly and safe place for child victims of sexual and physical abuse. It has provided services here since 2003 to more than 4,000 children and their nonoffending parents. Therapy is part of the healing process offered at New Hope, and all of its services are free.
Damron said the next step at New Hope is to find a new, larger home where they can expand.
The team approach in one place minimizes the trauma of having a child go to multiple places to tell their story. New Hope works with law enforcement and Child Protective Services.
The two-story house has a welcoming atmosphere and colorful playroom for children. There are child-friendly rooms for interviews, exams and counseling. It is open Monday through Friday, and whenever a child is in need.
The money raised through the sale of these Christmas cards will be placed in the general fund for whatever needs come up.
Damron said it’s been a blessing to see these young children use their talents to help other children.
Jennifer Terry is also looking at ways she can volunteer at the center.