Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

March 9, 2011

Creative Escape Helps Give Back

I’m really excited to be teaching at Creative Escape this year! I’ve got a cool new class planned that focuses on BOTH storytelling and getting crafty. Hoping to see some of you there!

One of the things that’s always impressed me about Creative Escape is the fundraising component. For the last few years they’ve usually done an auction at the event. This year they’re doing something a little different – which I think is very, very cool.

Here’s all the details:

For the fifth year, Bazzill Basics Paper and Heidi Swapp are hosting Creative Escape – the ultimate scrapbook indulgence in Phoenix, Arizona on August 25 – 27. Over the past few years, the guests attending CE have participated in raffles and live auctions raising more than $100,000 for charities including the American Cancer Society and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

This year, the fundraising element of the event is switching to a service project for U.S. troops overseas. For 2011 we are helping Stephen Goodman reach his goal of making 180,000 thank you cards for the U.S. Troops overseas. To encourage you to participate, Bazzill Basics Paper and Heidi Swapp are offering two free tickets to Creative Escape (more details below).

Here’s the story:

Boy Making Cards For 180,000 Troops

Original story by Amy B. Wang, writer for The Arizona Republic

Ten-year-old Stephen Goodman, a fifth-grader in Surprise, Arizona, wants to send a thank you card next to military personnel. Not to one platoon, or to just one division, but to every actively deployed service member in the U.S. military. Stephen said he thought of the idea while spending the summer with his grandparents in Phoenix. “My grandpa went to Vietnam and didn’t get any cards, and he felt forgotten,” he said.

Stephen started locally, creating and hand-delivering 218 Fourth of July cards for patients at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix. The feedback was so thrilling and positive that Stephen started thinking: Why not send one to everyone deployed? He began paying attention to news reports. Somewhere, he gleaned the number of overseas troops to be 180,000. “I was really taken aback when he said he wanted to do one for all the troops,” said Stephen’s father, Steven Goodman. “I explained to him it was a big project, and because of what his intentions were, he would have to carry it out.”

Each thank you card is handmade, using “construction paper and scissor designs and markers and stickers and my imagination and that’s it.” according to Stephen. The entire family pitches in. So far, they’ve made about 15,000 cards. Vice President Joe Biden happened to catch Stephen’s story while traveling through Phoenix last August. Stephen got his own thank you in the mail. “It just said thank you for what I’m doing, the soldiers will appreciate it,” he remembered. The letter made Stephen’s summer. “It made me feel very excited to know that the vice president sent me something,” he said.

When all 180,000 cards are done, the Goodmans plan to take them to Luke Air Force Base where they will be delivered overseas all at once to make sure no soldier is over looked.

To enter to win the Creative Escape tickets, create five thank you cards, go to, download the entry form, fill it out and mail the cards to Bazzill by July 1, 2011. The winner will be selected by random drawing. Enter as often as you like. Travel and hotel not included.

During the August event, Creative Escape will be staging a service project area for its guests to visit and help Stephen complete his enormous thank you card project. Bazzill Basics Paper, Provo Craft/Cricut, and other scrapbooking manufacturers in the industry, are supplying product and preparing kits to help make the workshop run quickly and smoothly.

Donations are being accepted from anyone who would like to create handmade thank you cards on Stephen’s behalf. For every five cards sent to Bazzill, the maker will be entered into a drawing to win two FREE tickets to the last Creative Escape 2011 (travel and accommodations, not included). Cards must be received by July 1, 2011.

Go to to download and fill out the entry form and mail it along with the cards to:

Stephen’s Thank You Card Project/Bazzill Basics Paper
7001 W. Erie St., Ste. 2, Chandler, AZ 85226


  • 1.
    Lyn Meeker said…

    WOW! I love this project – I’m going to be making some cards. Can’t wait to see the project for CE Ali – I’ve been to each and every one and it gets better and better … the 6th CE is going to be icing!

  • 2.
    Melissa said…

    Consider it done! As a long-time Army Wife, just want to say thanks for spreading the word about this Ali!

  • 3.
    madeline St onge said…

    WOW what a big undertaking, I will certainly help out

  • 4.
    Marylee Easter:) said…

    I’m on it! My son leaves for the U.S. Navy Boot Camp on August 8th!
    He will be defending our freedom on board a submarine after training!

  • 5.
    Barb in AK said…

    Oh, how I’d love to attend CE’s last get together!!
    To be in a class with you, Ali, would be icing on the cake:-)
    I’ve got some ideas for cards, so I’ll be sure to contribute!

    Hi Lyn M :-)

  • 6.
    Ruth said…

    How awesome is that young man? Such a great project for CE to get behind.

  • 7.
    Naomi A said…

    This is a great cause and I will definitely join the party!

  • 8.
    Suz said…

    How cool! Definitely a must do! :)

  • 9.
    Rosa said…

    Wow! That is some 5th grader! Wonderful idea…

  • 10.
    Debora Prass said…

    That is so cool, wonderful idea! Tks for sharing!

  • 11.
    marnie said…

    What a great kid! Love this project, and as a career Navy wife, I’m thrilled to see our military personnel get the recognition they deserve for all the sacrifices they make.

    XOX to everyone participating!

  • 12.
    Barbara said…

    I will do my share here from Germany, thank you for posting it !

  • 13.
    Kim D said…

    As a veteran who still works in a job supporting our service men and women, Stephen’s story really touches me. What a wonderful young man doing such a giving thing. I’ll be making cards to help out.

  • 14.
    Jen H said…

    Thanks for sharing this. As a National Guard member who received cards from strangers when I was over there, I can tell you first hand that it is a big morale boost to receive any mail; and to have random strangers take the time to make and send cards really makes you feel like you have a larger support group than just your family and friends. It makes the job we do somewhat easier. Thanks to all who sent me cards, and thanks to all who are going to send other military members cards. You may never hear anything back from the cards, but know that your work is appreciated.

  • 15.
    Deb Pereira said…

    What an amazing story. I will certainly be participating!

  • 16.
    Christina said…

    This is such a great way to say thank you for everything the men & women of the Armed Forces do for us on a daily basis. What a fantastic idea from such a bright young man! I plan to show the article to my kids and get them involved. Thanks for bringing this topic to light.

  • 17.
    Suzie Perrie said…

    This is awesome. As a military wife with a husband and friends over there I can tell you it is so appreciated. Thank you for putting this on your blog and a big thanks to all who do anything for the troops in any capacity.

  • 18.
    pam said…

    My sister is a teacher and always having to write thank yous for the gifts she receives. I’ve been making some thank you cards for her for her birthday. Looks like I just found something else to do with them. Sorry sis!

  • 19.
    Hee Jin said…

    What a fabulous idea!

  • 20.
    Angela Williams said…

    Ali, do you know if there is an address where we can send cards directly to Stephen?

    • ….
      Kyetra Belton said…

      I looked for one today. I talked to Bazzill and they will forward all cards even if they aren’t for the contest. Send to the same address with ATTN: Frannie.

  • 21.
    Noelle said…

    Wow! What a wonderful kid…such a big heart!

  • 22.
    Carolyn HP said…

    Can Canadians participate too ? My grandfather was American and very proud of his country so I will definitely make some but wondering if we will qualify for CE draw as well ?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Carolyn – please click through the link and contact Bazzill directly with that question :) .

  • 23.
    Kyetra Belton said…

    Ali-I loved this idea but I know people that would like to make cards but don’t want to be in the contest. It would be great for classes or groups to do. I spoke with someone at Bazzill today and she said those type cards are welcome too. You can send as many as you like and they will get them to Stephen. Just put a little note in there that they are not for the contest and send to the same address but add ATTN: Frannie.
    I blogged about it today in hopes of getting as much help as possible.

  • 24.
    Dara Cohen said…

    Dear Ali,
    Thank-you so much for including this info. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for, a creative way to give back.

  • 25.
    glee said…

    Ali, Please remind everyone NO GLITTER as it can endanger troops by giving away their positions. (amazing thought.)

  • 26.
    Hannah said…

    God bless Stephen! I love 10 year olds. They believe that they can do anything, and sure enough, they can! I”ve already got 10 made and I’ve only started. You go, Stephen!

  • 27.
    jenn shurkus said…

    do you have more information on where to send these cards or what kinds of cards they want etc??
    i think the stamp club at colorful creations would be up to the challenge

    thank you :)

  • 28.
    Eileen said…

    What an amazing young man! I would be glad to help.

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