Having children can forever change your perspective on life, making you think more about the future, your place in the world and your community. It is this natural enlightenment that makes Francine Delarosa’s charity work and everyday work complement each other so well.
By Evan Berkowitz
In 2007, Delarosa opened Give Wink just west of Biscayne Boulevard in Aventura,, a children’s oriented 3,000-square-foot furnishing store that offers an eclectic mix of items including furniture and bedding for babies to preteens, clothing, essentials for babies such as car seats, strollers and high chairs. In addition to a carefully curated selection of products, Give Wink provides design and space planning services, baby registries and free personalization of most products.
Delarosa’s store is socially active by collaborating with various charities. Called Give A Wink, it helps provide eye care for impoverished children in her native country, Colombia. For every 100 dollars spent at the Give Wink children’s store, a poor Colombian child is able to receive a free eye exam and a pair of glasses.
“Give Wink sells material goods that are not essential to survival,” Delarosa said, explaining her philosophy, “they are luxuries I, as well as my clients are fortunate enough to have. By involving myself in this type of [charity] work I am able to keep myself, my children, my employees and of course my clients a bit more grounded, a sort of reminder of how lucky we really are.”
Delarosa is launching another innovative and fun charity effort for this coming Art Basel week. It is called ‘Pinta Mi Cuna’ [Paint My Crib]. Twenty mini-cribs were donated to her by a generous company called Baby Home. Delarosa then commissioned twenty talented artists from across the region to paint or decorate a crib and design it in their own unique fashion. A crib, of course, is an object very symbolic of child rearing and parenting, perfect for encouraging charitable feelings. They will auction off these original works of art at the Artrium Gallery in Wynwood on December 3.
The money raised through the sale will go to a non-profit organization called Techo (www.techo.org) that, like the well known organization Habitat for Humanity often associated with former President Jimmy Carter, helps build homes in impoverished areas. Techo operates in 19 Latin America countries and has a particular focus on helping people who live in urban slums.
”The families that Techo reaches live in a level of poverty most of us cannot even begin to wrap our heads around,” noted Delarosa.
Delarosa’s family moved from Bogota when she was three years old. She is second generation Colombian; her grandparents were all born in Turkey. She said she goes back to Colombia a few times a year. “I love the food, the culture, the people; I want my children to grow up knowing and understanding their Colombian roots,” she said.
Her family connections in Colombia have had an important impact on her desire to help poor people with vision issues. A few years ago she learned something fascinating about her great grandfather and the Delarosa family’s home town.
“Coincidentally, I found out after I had named my store that my great grandfather founded a hospital in Barranquilla where he provided eye care for the blind,” she said. Delarosa found out that her great grandfather too had the ambition of helping others and curing blindness for people. She began donating money for local eye health after that ironic revelation.
Three of the participating crib artists are clothing fashion designers, one is a graffiti artist, and another is a sculptor. “All the decorative work will be done in a very different manner,” said Delarosa. The cribs will be on display at her Give Wink store in November. The opening bid for one is $500. Online bidding is also available. “It [the charity work] is something that is near and dear to my heart and I wish more people knew about it and supported it,” she said. Delarosa hopes to make this an annual event and support a different charity every year.