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Vivian Greene

   The Greatest Loss of All & A New Beginning
 
                    "Of all the millions of dollars' worth of inventory and possessions I lost
                           with Allied Van Lines, the most heartbreaking loss was a doll."

 
   by: Vivian Greene

Odessa, a character from my syndicated Kisses comic strip, was the first African American rag doll ever created for the American market. Despite the manufacturer's serious reservations, my efforts were vindicated as it had been a hit.  The Chicago Tribune used the dolls as a subscription premium. I even think I caught a glimpse of an Odessa recently when Oprah's African American Doll Collection was featured on Inside Edition.
 
"Odessa was the first African American rag doll
ever created for the American market."

There were lots of Odessa dolls in the world, but the one that was stolen was much more important than all the rest—this was the prototype of a new Odessa doll, which took me three years to develop and design, and that was to be a new beginning for the toy manufacturing industry.

You see, I had discovered that my Kisses dolls were being made by child slave labor when I entered the wrong room in a Taiwan factory. I was only 21 when I began my business and totally unaware that 240 million children around the world were slaves.
 
Stolen Childhoods... Click on image to see back of card...
Robin Romano
“Stolen Childhoods” is the first feature-length film
about child labor - Premiers May 20th, 2005
Please click on image above to view the story
 

That moment changed my life. I quit licensing my products and began supporting many children's charities. That is how I first became involved with World Family, a foundation serving children and families in Cambodia and Thailand, as well as The Foster Parent Plan, Shriners Hospitals for Children, "Stolen Childhoods", the first feature length film on child labor, and Free the Children—a phenomenal success with children themselves helping children.

I had designed the new Odessa with two purposes in mind: one, to license her with a company equally dedicated to ending child labor; and two, to make a doll that-like my inspirational writing- says you're perfect just the way you are. Kisses characters are drawn with their eyes covered because “All that is real is seen with the heart.”
 

 

The new Odessa was to be the antithesis of Barbie. We don't need a dream car, dream house, dream guy to be happy. I know. I grew up with a single immigrant mother in an area so rough they burned my elementary school down. But my mother was an artist who could make a garage look like a palace. No matter how little we had, I was always rich—in love, and in beauty.

"Kisses characters are drawn with their eyes covered because 'All that is real is seen with the heart.'"

I guess those lessons helped me survive the aftermath of Hurricane Allied.  I can't help but wonder if  the people of Allied Van Lines, the global moving leader in a 50 billion dollar business that just went public with SIRVA in 2003, have any idea how just one franchise in the form of one individual can devalue their entire company.  Just like a pinhole in a balloon.

I am writing to them in the hope they'll live up to their promises in their annual report and help me. In truth, it would help Allied, and all who trust their name, as I did, too.  I'm working to continue my partnerships with Free the Children and Stolen Childhoods – wouldn't it be great if Allied wanted to join the side of the angels and work with us, too?

 

Cast a Blessing... Shriners Hospitals for Children
 

 

 

 

 

 

 



"This image is dedicated to Shriners Hospitals for Children which provides more than one million dollars per day in
FREE
care for children.


"I'm working to continue my partnerships with Free the Children
and Stolen Childhoods – wouldn't it be great if Allied Van Lines wanted to
join the side of the angels and work with us, too? "

 

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Kisses
is a trademark of Vivian Greene. All art and text is copyrighted. All rights reserved.