kindness activist

kindness activist

Friday, July 29, 2016

Cartoon Kindness

How many of YOUR kind actions can you say helped saved the lives of 200 strangers??? 

Carolyn Belefski can attest to that!!!  She helped to set up CARTOONISTS DRAW BLOOD, an organization that hosts blood drives that feature CARTOON ARTISTS!!  Participants give blood and get a drawing!  You read that right, instead of just getting a cup of juice and a cookie, donors go home with an original piece of artwork!  Perfect, no? 

One happy donor!  Photo by Joe Carabeo, Astray Productions
When Carolyn first had this brilliant idea, she called the Red Cross but was confronted with a lot of “red tape”.  In fact, she told me that getting this event organized was “harder than finding her last two jobs” J.  Carolyn made phone calls and was passed around a lot but finally found the right contact and began the process of getting everything set up.  The Red Cross explained that she would need to find a location for the event, and she found Seekers Church, which has proven to be an excellent partner. 

Here is Carolyn at the event - Photo by Joe Carabeo, Astray Productions
The group is now readying for their FOURTH blood drive, and Carolyn told me that the events just get better every time.  The Red Cross, obviously a huge organization, even lets the artists stray from the traditional blood drive template so that they can be more CREATIVE in their announcement!  I am guessing that creativity is what draws people in (see what I did there – “draws people in”…)  Artist Steve Artley has drawn their ads, including mascots like a zombie, vampire, and werewolf.  Because the blood draws happen near Halloween, these characters are perfect!  The artists even dress up in costumes.  The whole idea just makes giving blood FUN.  I mean, not only do the participants get to meet very talented cartoonists, they also take home an original piece of artwork.  Plus, of course they are giving back to the community by giving blood in the first place!  I would say that is a win, win, win, WIN! 

These people got the memo that costumes are encouraged (not required)
Photo by Joe Carabeo, Astray Productions
Carolyn says that each donation of a pint of blood can save the life of up to three people.  At their events, they strive to schedule one person to donate blood every 15 minutes.  The Red Cross sets targets for them, which they were proud to exceed last year.  Carolyn told me, “If you are on the fence about donating blood, I can say from experience that it is very easy to do.  You walk out the door afterward with the mindset that you saved someone’s life.  It is very much a superhero thing to do!”.

Of course, Carolyn is a Kindness Activist for taking the initiative to organize these worthwhile events, but she couldn’t do it without the talented artists who volunteer their time and skill.  Some of the people who volunteer to do cartoons for the events are members of the DC Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society and some are part of the group DC Conspiracy. 

Great work!!
Photo by Joe Carabeo, Astray Productions

This Washington Post article (article here)  is a great representation of the excellent results that come out of Cartoonists Draw Blood.  My favorite part of the article is the parents who used the event as a way to teach their 3 children the importance of giving back and donating blood.  What an invaluable lesson taught in a fun way!

Carolyn said it simply, “The Cartoonists Draw Blood event is a path in life that feels like the right thing to do.  A big thanks to Troy-Jeffrey Allen for co-chairing the event and to all of the artists, writers, photographers, fans, and blood donors who have participated.”

Kind Artist at work!  Photo by Joe Carabeo, Astray Productions
Well it wouldn’t be right to close this piece out without letting YOU know how you can get in on the action, now would it??  As luck would have it, the next Cartoonists Draw Blood event is right around the corner!  Start planning your Halloween costume now, because you can wear it on Saturday October 29th 10:00 am – 3:30 pm at Seekers Church – 276 Carroll Street NW, Washington DC (right across from the Takoma Park Metro).  Find out more information and express your interest at Facebook event link or email to make your appointment!

Even if you are not in the metro DC area and can’t come out for this fun event, please consider donating blood in your hometown.  It can save lives, and it is a downright KIND thing to do!

You can also check out the Cartoonists Draw Blood blog  here  or at Carolyn’s blog here ,  

For more information about the American Red Cross, click here .

For more information about the National Cartoonists Society, click here .

And last but not least, make sure to follow @KindActivist on Twitter!

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