All smiles

Wendy Sommers-Rea shows the winning logo for Innocent Travelers. (Photo by Marianne Mogon/The Flume)

Innocent Travelers held a contest to obtain a logo for their organization during the month of January. It was open to artists in Colorado. The logo chosen was drawn by Wendy Sommers-Rea of Jefferson in Park County. Sommers-Rea received a check for $250 for submitting the winning logo.

Before officially announcing the contest, a few graphic artists were contacted to come up with a graphic identity for Innocent Travelers. “Their logos were by no means bad, but they did not capture that “this is it” for either Susan nor myself,” said Ulla-Carin Johnson, assistant to the organization’s founder, Susan Schinner.

Schinner recently moved to Park County, and, being a lover of art, it was a natural step for her to contact Park County Creative Alliance with a suggestion to announce the logo competition. Several submissions were received from around Colorado. “There were a number of very good entries. It just shows there are a lot of talented people in the area. We hope to make more opportunities available for Park County creative people whenever we hear about them,” commented Linda Balough, board member of PCCA.

Innocent Travelers officially formed as a Colorado non-profit organization in October of 2020. Schinner was troubled, knowing that children and young adults who enter foster care, through no fault of their own, especially abused or neglected children, may only have half an hour to gather their belongings before they are moved to a new and unfamiliar home. “Imagine being given half an hour and a black garbage bag to pack your belongings. A black garbage bag symbolizes that the child’s possessions are worth nothing to other people. Unfortunately, this happens too often,” expressed Schinner.

Sommers-Rea was not familiar with Innocent Travelers until she heard about the contest. She does, however, work for Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), with abused and neglected children who need representation in the court system. She doesn’t have any children of her own, but tries to help whenever she can with children’s causes. She has lived in Park County for seven years full-time, with her husband, Tim. “He first brought me to this place and I wanted to be here as much as possible. It’s a wonderful place to work,” she said.

She went through several different designs before getting the idea of a traveling suitcase and giving it a childlike personality. “A little bottom-heavy, cute with small feet that were tippy. The innocent traveler, not knowing where they will end up, but moving into the future with the promise of a better journey. I used the arrow from the luggage tag concept to split the top and bottom to stage the name in a playful font and gave the case a heart with love to give. A rolling companion,” she explained.

“It was definitely hard to choose the winning logo,” Johnson said. “In the end, we chose Wendy’s because it immediately symbolized what the essence of Innocent Travelers is all about: hope. To me, the arrow in the middle of the suitcase symbolizes motion; where the child is today does not define his or her tomorrow. Hearts to let them know they are loved and a suitcase in bright, cheerful colors. We are looking into making a luggage name tag with our logo and attach it to each suitcase we deliver.”

Innocent Travelers has a simple goal: to give each child a suitcase to transport their belongings in when a move is imminent. A suitcase that will stay with the child for as long as he or she is on their journey. The organization is a 100% volunteer-based and more help is always welcome. You can support Innocent Travelers by donating new or gently used suitcases. Monetary gifts are also gratefully accepted to help buy additional suitcases as needed. They are also working with Victim’s Advocates in the state to help provide suitcases to their clients as well. If anyone would like to donate a suitcase or volunteer to help them reach more children in need, please do not hesitate to contact them.

You can learn more about Innocent Travelers by visiting their website, www.InnocentTravelers.org, or check out their Facebook page. Contact them by emailing info@innocenttravelers.org or phone 303-674-0844. They are located at 1403 Sinton Road, Evergreen, Colo.

Their motto is simple: “Helping children in transition to keep their belongings with dignity.”

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