Shown is Heather Murfitt, with her paintings in the background.  

(Cazenovia, NY – Nov. 2012) Hakuna Matata, inspirational art with an everlasting impact, was created by Cazenovia College student Heather Murfitt, a human services major from Syracuse to raise money for children in need and children in trouble.  Murfitt is planning her third art show and sale fundraiser to be held in Cazenovia College’s Morgan Room, in Hubbard Hall, on Friday, Nov. 30 from noon to 7 p.m. Artists wishing to enter their work in the exhibition may contact Murfitt by email: hmmurfitt@cazenovia.edu.

The exhibition and sale will include artwork by both established and budding artists and photographers from around Central New York, as well as jewelry and craft items. Fifty percent of the money raised will go to the three charities, with buyers designating the fund they wish to support. Purchases may also be made online at www.hakunamatata.storenvy.com.

Murfitt dreams of helping kids. She found her dream during an internship in Washington, D.C., working for an organization called Dreams for Kids. Her job was to plan and implement a holiday event for 700 underprivileged children.  That job, and the people she met while in Washington, changed her life direction.

“I didn’t want to leave Washington when my internship ended,” says Murfitt. “My supervisor even said she would have hired me full time. The night before I left, I tried to figure out how I could keep doing the same kind of work – helping kids – and still go to school. I looked around my apartment at the paintings on my walls. I decided I could raise money by selling them.”

She created a web store, Hakuna Matata, and has hosted two art shows, raising $800 for the charities she represents: Dreams for Kids – for underprivileged kids and those with disabilities; Falling Whistles – for child soldiers; and Urban Light – for children used as sex slaves in Thailand. Of Hakuna Matata, she says, “I use unique art work to transform the lives of those across the world. This is what I want to do with my life. I’m going to my high school to talk with students in the art classes about joining my cause. I want to get other people interested in what I’m doing.”

Murfitt came to Cazenovia College to study psychology, but following her internship, she changed her thinking and her major. Human services for children and youth will give her a base of knowledge for her fundraising work. “I want to have a store someday,” she says, “where I sell artwork and local crafts to raise money to help people. My goal is to show the community that you can help others by doing something different.”

Professor Mary Handley, the Human Services Program’s director, says, “This is an amazing story about the power of internships, the power of one person and the power of commitment and passion in human services to make the world a better place.”

By martha

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