Local embroidery artist helps foster youth share their voice

| June 24, 2016
CASA Anne Arundel

Standing, Left to Right: Christine Acton (CASA staff), Rebecca Tingle (CASA Executive Director) & Nikki Yapi (CASA staff)
Seated, Left to Right: Tracey Lane (CASA staff), Geri Finio (artist) & Mary Ellen Barnes (CASA staff)

After over 200+ hours of work, 15+ yards of fabric, batting, and skilled embroidery, 12 current foster youth were provided a medium to share their experiences in foster care through a quilt commissioned by Anne Arundel County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Inc. 

The Silenced Voices of Foster Care Quilt© was created by Ms. Geri Finio, a lifelong hand-embroiderer and sewing enthusiast with a love for the many mediums of stitchery and a critical eye for detail.

“I created the quilt so that some of Anne Arundel County’s abused and neglected children could have a way to express what they were feeling about their experiences in care,” commented Finio, owner of Studio 187 located in Edgewater. “Sometimes these children can’t come right out and say how they are feeling, so art is a good way for them put it all out there and begin the healing process,” she added.

A select number of CASA volunteers were asked to accompany their child to pick out fabrics for the quilt. Each child was encouraged to pick fabrics that were meaningful to them. Then the children traced their hand on the fabric. As CASA volunteers talked with their children about their experience in foster care, they made a note of what each child said.

“It’s important for these children to realize that what happens to them as children doesn’t have to define them as an adult,” said Finio. “While the quilt only had 12 panels representing children, we envision that any child who sees the quilt while it’s on display in the CASA office will see that there are others who share similar experiences and there is always hope for a brighter future.”

“The CASA staff and I were invited to Geri’s home for lunch and for the ‘unveiling of the quilt’ and it was truly an emotional experience,” said Rebecca Tingle, Executive Director for Anne Arundel County CASA, Inc. “The project was in the works for well over a year, and we are so grateful to Geri for her vision and her passion for what we do!”

Those interested in viewing the quilt, or learning more about the work of Anne Arundel County CASA are encouraged to contact Rebecca Tingle at [email protected] or 410.267.7877 ext. 6. To make a donation in support of the program, please visit www.aacasa.org.

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