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Cards help orphans in Kenya

Six-year-old Madelyn Scott's drawing has become a Christmas vehicle for helping an orphanage in Africa that cares for children who have HIV

An orphanage in Kenya has a Christmas angel, thanks to a little girl in Jacksonville.

At age 6, Madelyn Scott drew a smiling angel floating in a starry blue sky. Her dad, Tom Scott, who strives to enhance global understanding by sharing children's creativity, turned her drawing into a Christmas card.

Over the past month, the cards have been available at businesses in Jacksonville and Ashland in exchange for a donation to Nyumbani Orphanage, a home in Nairobi, Kenya, that cares for children orphaned by AIDS and suffering from the disease themselves. The cards come in packs of 10 for a suggested donation of &

36;10, Scott said.

However, instead of collecting the money, Scott works on the honor system, having people who take the cards send their donations directly to the orphanage, either by mail or via the Internet.

People are really opening up to this, said Terry Cito, co-owner of Food 4 Thought, a Jacksonville cafe where the cards are available. It's a great thing to empower kids to know that their artwork can help others.

— He said the cafe tries to be a community gathering place and to encourage its customers to live consciously in the larger world, so offering the benefit cards was a natural match.

Scott got the idea to use children's art to raise money for children's charities last year after he organized A Global Day of Peace art exchange for students here and in 15 other countries. He started the exchange in hopes that art-loving youngsters like Madelyn could build global understanding by sharing their creations. As art poured in from around the world, Madelyn suggested they sell some of it.

This summer, he sold cards featuring children's art from around the world during Ashland's First Friday Art Walk to raise money for an orphanage in Zimbabwe. When he uncovered political problems that blocked donations and volunteers from reaching that organization, he switched his support to the Nyumbani Orphanage, which has a stable support system. A friend of Scott's, an artist from Talent, had visited the children's home in Kenya and liked the program she saw, Scott reported.

There are so many scams, Scott said. People are really scrutinizing of charities.

Cito said people seem to like the chance to check out the orphanage online for themselves, then make their donation.

Hopefully, people will open up their wallets even more, Cito said.

Scott printed just 500 cards and their number is dwindling as Christmas nears. They're available at Food 4 Thought, 110 N. Fifth St., Jacksonville. To learn more about the orphanage, visit the Web site, .

Cards help orphans in Kenya "aburke@mailtribune.com.

This Christmas card, made from a drawing by Madelyn Scott, 6, of Jacksonville, is helping feed orphans in Nairobi, Kenya. Several businesses in Jacksonville and Ashland are making the cards available to folks who'd like to donate to the cause.