Young artist puts talent to use for charitable group


March 21, 2001|By Donna Koros Stramella | Donna Koros Stramella,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A PUPIL AT ARTHUR Slade Regional Catholic School has found that art can have a far-reaching impact. Thomas Pucciarella recently designed a logo for Casey Cares Foundation, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of critically ill children. The seventh-grader's simple design of a kite riding upward, next to the words "Casey CARES," appears on the foundation's correspondence and Web site.

This month, Casey Baynes, executive director of the foundation, presented the young artist with a plaque during a ceremony held at Arthur Slade.

"By sharing his talent, Thomas has made a significant contribution to our foundation," Baynes said. "It is always special to see children reaching out to other children."

Casey Cares, which has its headquarters in Baltimore, serves families in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia and is expanding throughout the nation. The organization provides families with tickets to sporting events, local attractions and movies. Its Celebration Vacation Program provides relaxing getaways for families going through difficulties.

"Our hope is to provide families the opportunity to share special memories," Baynes said. "Due to the financial strain, families find vacations, or even an evening out, cost-prohibitive."

Thomas had volunteered with the organization before he put pen to paper. Although the logo design was not part of a contest, several other students also submitted designs. The simplicity and childlike wonder of Thomas' design won over the foundation.

"Thomas designed the logo to reflect childhood hopes and dreams," Baynes said.

Thirteen-year-old Thomas lives in Severn with his parents, Joseph and Donna Pucciarella. According to his father, the teen-ager is interested in pursuing a career in art.

Although he has a full slate of activities, including soccer, lacrosse and track, Thomas has always found time to volunteer. His previous volunteer work included raising funds for the Grant-A-Wish Foundation.

Other students at Arthur Slade also become have involved in Casey Cares. Students in grades six, seven and eight recently collected movie and bowling passes, disposable cameras and telephone calling cards for the families who benefit from the foundation.

Information: 443-568-0064 or

Red Cross courses

The Central Maryland Chapter of the American Red Cross has scheduled cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first-aid classes at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 409 Fifth Ave. in Glen Burnie, over the next few weeks. The one-day courses will be offered March 24, March 31 and April 21.

Adult CPR runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The four-hour course includes all cardiac and breathing emergency skills. The cost is $33.

Community CPR runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The session provides instruction on performing CPR on adults, infants and children. The fee is $37 for the seven-hour course.

Community First Aid and CPR runs from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Participants will learn CPR and first-aid procedures on adults, infants and children. The cost is $40.

Classes include both instructional and practice time. Students receive handbooks and will take a short test to be certified. For information, call 410-764-4609 or 800-787-8002, or visit the Web site at

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