"Aviva Divas" make bags, quilts for growing number of CPS kids - Tucson News Now

"Aviva Divas" make bags, quilts for growing number of CPS children

"Aviva Divas" work on homemade bags, quilts for children in CPS care. "Aviva Divas" work on homemade bags, quilts for children in CPS care.
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

More children are ending up in the care of Arizona's Child Protective Services and non-profit agencies like Aviva Children's Services, which helps children in CPS care where the state cannot, say volunteers are an integral part of its organization.

Every Thursday, a simple but crucial task is underway at Aviva.  The "Aviva Divas," as they've become known, are volunteers with the "Bags for Kids Program," which has existed since 1999.  The program started after a caseworker saw a child put their belongings into a plastic trash bag and decided that was unacceptable.  Now, the program and the "Aviva Divas" specifically, sew, quilt, and care for children they will never know. 

"It's very important for the kids to know they have something of their own they can take with them," Flora Ornelas, a volunteer said.

In 2011, Aviva says it handed out four thousand bags to children in our community.  Last year, that number jumped to six thousand.

"Would you travel with your stuff in a garbage bag? No," Bob Heslinga, the executive director at Aviva said. "You have a suitcase or some way of transporting your stuff."

Heslinga says between having more children in the system and recent layoffs at Aviva, volunteers like the "Aviva Divas" are more important than ever.

"It does, it gives you goose bumps when you think about some of the kids," Mae Venneman, an "Aviva Diva" said.

Venneman and a dozen or so other women, make bags, quilts and some dolls for children who have been pulled from normalcy. 

"Every stitch you're thinking of the kids that are getting them and enjoying them," Venneman said. "I would like to know sometimes where some of the quilts go, what kind of children get them and if they appreciate them. I'm sure they do. I'm sure they do."

They know they do from simple thank you notes, a reminder that the four thousand children currently in CPS care in Pima County are grateful to put their world not into a plastic bag, but into a handmade cloth duffle made by "Divas" who care.

Heslinga says Aviva provides "enhanced services" like mentoring and tutoring, and of course the handmade quilts and bags.

"When we say enhanced services, that doesn't mean it's fluffy throwaway stuff," Heslinga said. "It means we're doing stuff to make sure these kids have a crack at a decent life."

The "Aviva Divas" are always looking for donations of gift cards, quilting material or fabrics.  To make a donation, contact Aviva Children's Services directly: 
153 South Plumer Ave  Tucson, AZ 85719
(520) 327-6464

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.
  • Local newsMore>>

  • Owners dealing with melted cars after construction fire

    Owners dealing with melted cars after construction fire

    Thursday, June 21 2018 11:51 AM EDT2018-06-21 15:51:48 GMT

    The fire was so hot and bright it lit up the morning sky. That is what one student saw across the street from the construction site fire from yesterday. Danny lives at the University Vista apartments. He’s a grad student at the U of A. He saw the fire and raced to get his car. It was too late, the fire was so hot and dangerous that he was not able to get it. His car was one of a dozen cars that had damage from the fire. He tells us, the back bumper a...

    The fire was so hot and bright it lit up the morning sky. That is what one student saw across the street from the construction site fire from yesterday. Danny lives at the University Vista apartments. He’s a grad student at the U of A. He saw the fire and raced to get his car. It was too late, the fire was so hot

  • Salvation Army needs your help with dangerous temps on the way

    Salvation Army needs your help with dangerous temps on the way

    Thursday, June 21 2018 10:45 AM EDT2018-06-21 14:45:52 GMT
    (Source: KOLD News 13)(Source: KOLD News 13)
    (Source: KOLD News 13)(Source: KOLD News 13)

    Since Operation Chill Out was launched on June 1, Salvation Army representatives say they have received many donations from the community. However, they want to make sure they are stocked for the rest of the summer.

    Since Operation Chill Out was launched on June 1, Salvation Army representatives say they have received many donations from the community. However, they want to make sure they are stocked for the rest of the summer.

  • Group presenting 2018 statistics on Tucson homelessness

    Group presenting 2018 statistics on Tucson homelessness

    Thursday, June 21 2018 10:34 AM EDT2018-06-21 14:34:37 GMT

    The Tucson Pima Collaboration to end Homelessness is presenting the 2018 numbers to the community to help influence services offered to homeless people in Tucson and Pima County.

    The Tucson Pima Collaboration to end Homelessness is presenting the 2018 numbers to the community to help influence services offered to homeless people in Tucson and Pima County.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Police fatally shoot 17-year-old boy fleeing traffic stop

    Police fatally shoot 17-year-old boy fleeing traffic stop

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 3:17 PM EDT2018-06-20 19:17:51 GMT
    Wednesday, June 20 2018 10:43 PM EDT2018-06-21 02:43:27 GMT
    No shots were fired at the officers during the encounter, and no weapon was found on Rose's body. (Source: KDKA/CNN)No shots were fired at the officers during the encounter, and no weapon was found on Rose's body. (Source: KDKA/CNN)

    Authorities say a police officer fatally shot a 17-year-old boy just seconds after he fled from a traffic stop in a confrontation partly captured on video shot from a nearby home.

    Authorities say a police officer fatally shot a 17-year-old boy just seconds after he fled from a traffic stop in a confrontation partly captured on video shot from a nearby home.

  • Mississippi State fan trolls wife in local TV news interview

    Mississippi State fan trolls wife in local tv news interview

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 10:08 PM EDT2018-06-21 02:08:19 GMT
    One Mississippi State baseball fan didn't let a rain delay drown his sense of humor and he took an opportunity to troll his wife in the process. Source: KMTV FacebookOne Mississippi State baseball fan didn't let a rain delay drown his sense of humor and he took an opportunity to troll his wife in the process. Source: KMTV Facebook
    One Mississippi State baseball fan didn't let a rain delay drown his sense of humor and he took an opportunity to troll his wife in the process. Source: KMTV FacebookOne Mississippi State baseball fan didn't let a rain delay drown his sense of humor and he took an opportunity to troll his wife in the process. Source: KMTV Facebook

    One Mississippi State baseball fan didn't let a rain delay drown his sense of humor and he took an opportunity to troll his wife in the process. 

    One Mississippi State baseball fan didn't let a rain delay drown his sense of humor and he took an opportunity to troll his wife in the process. 

  • Adult popsicles pack more alcohol than a glass of wine

    Adult popsicles pack more alcohol than a glass of wine

    Thursday, June 21 2018 1:13 PM EDT2018-06-21 17:13:23 GMT
    Thursday, June 21 2018 1:13 PM EDT2018-06-21 17:13:23 GMT
    The Buzz Pop Cocktails flavors include Blueberry Mania, Mango Passion-Fruit and Moscow Mule. (Source: Pixabay)The Buzz Pop Cocktails flavors include Blueberry Mania, Mango Passion-Fruit and Moscow Mule. (Source: Pixabay)

    The Buzz Pop Cocktails flavors include Blueberry Mania, Mango Passion-Fruit and Moscow Mule.

    The Buzz Pop Cocktails flavors include Blueberry Mania, Mango Passion-Fruit and Moscow Mule.

Powered by Frankly