Brian Johnson/AFN (From left) Sadie Walton, 6, Alexa Neff, 5, and Jenna Nelson, 5, were busy painting tiles Wednesday at the Ahwatukee As You Wish store, participating in the program Tiles for Smiles. Aug. 25, 2010

To celebrate their anniversary, As You Wish, a pottery painting business, will be showing its thanks to the community for their continued support.

September marks the local business' 15th year, and there will be many things going on this month under the "15" theme.

As part of the "Tiles for Smiles" program through the end of September, As You Wish will be sending 15 terminally ill children to camp in a partnership with Camp Soaring Eagle.

Owner Lori Neff said it is a great cause because some of these kids have never had the real camp experience.

"There are kids with cancer or leukemia who never would be able to get to camp," Neff said. "It is really expensive because they need their special doctors and equipment. We're proud that we can sponsor 15 kids."

How does the Tiles for Smiles program work?

"You pay $10 to paint a tile, $7 of which goes towards the fund," she said. "The tiles are collected and we (As You Wish) make them into a frame for a mirror. Then the mirror is sent to these terminally ill children."

Neff said it can be a reminder to these children to see that other people are thinking about them.

"When looking at themselves, they're not thrilled all the time due to chemotherapy or other reasons," she added. "But when they look at the frames, they see the happiness around them and see that people have done this to make them feel better."

Also for their anniversary, As You Wish will be giving out a $150 gift certificate at each one of their five stores across the Valley. Everyone who purchases a tile will be entered into the drawing that will be done at the end of the month.

Giving back to the community is a prevalent theme throughout the business. Neff said nearly half her employees choose to give a portion of their paychecks to charity. As You Wish matches 50 percent of that sum.

"A lot of our employees are students so it says a lot that they are willing to donate some of their paychecks," she said. "We really try to stay involved in the community. We donate to Girls Scouts and local sports programs. It makes us busy but it's fun."

As You Wish, 4905 E Ray Road, is celebrating the whole month of September. Studio fees will be $1.50 all day Sept. 17 to 19 and they will be raffling $15 gift cards throughout the day on Sept. 18.


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