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Devereux event sells crafts, plants to help enrich lives

By ErinPradia
April 21, 2012 at 10:01 p.m.
Updated April 20, 2012 at 11:21 p.m.

Gwen Havner, of Riviera, arranges jewelry at her stand, Pink Zebra, at the Spring Fling at the Devereux Growing Center. Havner, who attended the annual event last year, said she saw more vendors and customers this year and was pleased with the turnout.

Kenneth and Regina Smith started a fun Saturday with a morning of shopping designed to raise money for the Devereux Foundation in Victoria.

While the 56-year-olds have shopped at Devereux before, this was their first year attending the Spring Fling.

The lawn around the green house area at Devereux was dotted with picnic tables and vendor tents for the fourth annual Devereux Spring Fling Art in the Garden event.

The Smiths each had their arms full of plants they planned to purchase for their lawn and garden.

"We like their prices on plants, and the wide variety of their selection," Regina Smith said. "They have unusual stuff you can't find at Lowes or Walmart. And their plants grow well and last."

Smith said the butterflies that flock around the plants help her determine which ones she wants to have in her yard, and she loves the array of perfume that wafts from the plants.

Kenneth Smith said he was looking forward to trying some of the food once their shopping was done.

"We need to go get a cart so I can get circulation back in my arms," Kenneth Smith said.

After a morning of shopping, the couple planned to spend the day in Goliad.

All of the plants were grown by residents of Devereux. A few of the older residents helped sell the plants and while the Devereux children helped people to their cars.

Sasha Karlin, 19, a Devereux resident who helped sell plants waters the plants and re-pots them as a participant in the horticulture program.

"I like coming out in the garden and planting and watering - getting dirty basically," Karlin said.

"And she's a hard worker," said Lon Smith, the director of business development for the adult vocational program and a grower in the Devereux nursery.

In addition to providing services to persons with emotional, developmental and educational disabilities, one of the missions of Devereux is equipping their residents with job skills so they are marketable in the community when they leave Devereux and are prepared to be independent, Smith said.

This is the second year art vendors have been invited to the Spring Fling, Smith said. "This year, the number of art vendors has doubled in size."

While a handful of Crossroads artists were featured, some traveled from across the state - as far away as Dallas, said Devereux campus administrator Fred Williams.

Their wares varied from jewelry and woodcraft to painting and glass art. The artists help create a festival atmosphere for the fundraiser, Williams said.

And no festival is complete without food - grilled fajitas, sausage on a stick and bakery items prepared by Devereux residents, a selection that satisfied many of Saturday's shoppers.

Proceeds from Friday's fundraiser supported the Friends of Devereux volunteer group that provides birthday parties, summer camps, clothing closets, a library and Christmas activities for Devereux residents, Williams said. Saturday and Sunday's proceeds will go toward the Adult Vocational Program.

The Spring Fling is not just fun for the members of the community, Devereux residents enjoy sharing the fruits of their labors and interacting with customers.

While Devereux regularly has several customers come through on weekdays, Karlin said she enjoyed the large crowds who came out to the Spring Fling.

"I was wondering," Karlin asked Williams. "Can I come here again tomorrow?"



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