A trio of local businesses have joined with a local children's author to donate books to needy children of Santa Cruz County for the holidays.
Spearheaded by Lori Penner, owner of the Ideal Hair salon in Scotts Valley, customers of Ideal Hair — along with Scotts Valley businesses Westside Beauty and CaliStyle — will have the option to donate a children's book to the youngsters at Court Appointed Special Advocates of Santa Cruz County.
The books — “A Little Different; All Perfect” and “Always Time for Kindness” — were written by Scotts Valley children's author Anita Telle and promote a message of acceptance, kindness and compassion to teach young readers to resist bullying.
“We're just trying to spread the love,” Penner said. “The idea was to get as many people involved in a Christmas event that would be good and simple and easy.”
She said that, between the three businesses, there were 100 books that customers could donate to the children of CASA, which represents children who've faced abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
“We're trying to promote a local author and promote a local cause,” Penner said. “If we have an opportunity to give back, we all feel like that's a value.”
Although it is suggested that customers to the stores purchase two or more items in order for a book to be donated, Penner said that she'd rather a child get a book than make a purchase mandatory.
“It's definitely worth (it) to help people out,” she said.
Penner said that although it’s the first time she's attempted to do a book drive, she is no stranger to helping, as she has regularly donated time and services to women's shelters and “any organization in need of help.”
Telle said that when Penner approached her about her idea for a book drive, she was immediately on board, and arranged for the books to be sold to the businesses at a reduced price.
“I was just blown away,” Telle said. “I decided that I'd give her a very good price on the books.”
She said that she has much experience working with children in the CASA system and has organized benefit drives for the past decade.
“This is my 10th year that I've been collecting shoes for the CASA children,” Telle said.
She said that her goal with her books is fight bullying in children, and described the children in the CASA system have spent much of their lives without responsible adult guidance and can find themselves being particularly susceptible to bullying and being bullied.
“I’ve made it my mission to teach children about acceptance — the books are just a social message,”
she said. “Some of those kids, they don't have what most kids have and it's harder for them during the holidays.”
Ideal Hair is located at 222-H Mount Hermon Road, in Scotts Valley, near Erik’s DeliCafe in the Nob Hill Shopping Center.
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