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Can’d Aid assembles art kits for Colorado foster children

CYCLHOPS hosts volunteer event for first time to build 72 kits

Supporting foster families is personal for Anita Gray, owner of CYCLHOPS Bike CANtina, after her daughter fostered two children for about 18 months.

That’s why, when she saw Can’d Aid volunteers putting together art kits for foster children, she wanted her business to be a part of it. On Wednesday, dozens of volunteers turned out to the combo restaurant and bike repair shop to assemble the kits.

“They kind of go full circle back to the foundation that helped my daughter with the kids that she had,” Gray said.

Volunteers assembled 72 art kits at CYCLHOPS with brand new art supplies from watercolors to modeling clay and more.

The kits went to Colorado Kids Belong, a state chapter of the nonprofit America’s Kids Belong, which works to support foster children. State Director Tracee Rudd said that the kits would stay in the northern metro region as part of their first partnership with Can’d Aid.

Can’d Aid is a local nonprofit that now does work all over the country, including to date 4,000 art kit donations nationwide. They still love to do projects that stay in the Longmont area.

“You don’t need to go far to find people without, that need something,” Can’d Aid Executive Director Diana Ralston said.

Ralston said this is one of her favorite projects to do because it allows both the volunteers and recipients to flex their creative muscles. Along with assembling the kits, volunteers draw and write messages on the paper bags holding the art supplies.

“I think it’s such a needed gift right now with mental health and people needing a creative outlet,” she said. “In any case, this is a fun, easy way families can come do it — anyone can do it.”

The two children Gray’s daughter fostered have been reunified with their biological mother and they’re all doing well. Gray, who was a founding member of Can’d Aid, has continued to partner with the nonprofit, having held bike build days at her business in years past.

She was glad to support foster children after seeing firsthand how difficult it can be for families.

“If this can bring just a little bit of joy to those kiddos, it’s worth it,” Gray said.

Amy Golden

About the Author: Amy Golden

I grew up in Colorado Springs and earned a degree in journalism from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.
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