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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Don't give until it hurts

If you follow the news - in print, on TV or online - like I do, it's easy to become discouraged about human nature in the abstract. But in my personal life, I'm continually amazed by people's generosity.

Another interior designer and I design and furnish kids' bedrooms for low-income families who are moving into Habitat for Humanity Tucson houses. Our friends, colleagues and even strangers have helped us by donating furniture and contributing funds to the Habispaces project. Everyone is helping us to create healthy, fun home environments for kids whose lives have been hard in many ways.

Just yesterday my husband Mark and I stopped in Broadway Pizza for a slice while we waited for AAA to come jump our car's battery. The small restaurant is decorated with colorful paint and posters of University of Arizona sports players and their game schedules. I asked the new owner where he got the posters because I was looking for some UA posters. The 11-year-old boy whose bedroom we are designing wants a bedroom with a UA sports theme, and the only posters I could find for the room's artwork were pricey for a low-budget design project.

When I told the owner about Habispaces and my search for UA posters, he reached under the counter and came up with three posters and a suggestion for where I could get some more for free. He was surprised when I shook his hand and thanked him for the posters. The posters hadn't cost him anything, but he had been hanging on to them. I didn't expect him to donate anything, but he didn't think twice about giving the posters away. That is the beauty of generosity. Whether it means donating a small item or making a substantive contribution, generosity is a gift, not a burden.

For this Habispaces project, we are also designing a bedroom for a four-year-old girl. And guess what she wants?  A pink, princess room, of course. She loves Belle, the princess in "Beauty and the Beast." If you have any furniture that would work in kids' bedrooms or any pink, girly accessories you could donate, we'd love your help. All of the little things add up to a home that can change children's lives.

Stop by Broadway Pizza, too. (They're in a strip mall on the south side of Broadway Blvd. between Columbus and Swan.) They make a good pepperoni slice, according to Mark, and the new owner is a really nice guy.

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