WIMAUMA — Emilio Castañeda views Christmas through the eyes of an 11-year-old Floridian. It's a place of sunshine, palms and strawberries.
Now, Emilio has translated his vision into published art — on two of the 48 Christmas cards available in an annual fundraiser from Redlands Christian Migrant Association. Profits help RCMA operate its 68 child-care centers and three charter schools for Florida's rural poor.
"Children's art usually winds up on a refrigerator," said Barbara Mainster, RCMA's executive director. "But our RCMA artists see their art published on Christmas cards. And they get sent around the country!"
Emilio is a sixth-grade science buff at RCMA Leadership Academy, a charter middle school in southern Hillsborough County. At home, he likes to play his guitar and soccer, and he hopes someday to be a video-game designer.
A box of 10 RCMA cards sells for $15. Under a contract with the state of Florida, that $15 entitles RCMA to $240 from the state.
Emilio's cards, and most in the RCMA catalog, are reserved for buyers of 10 boxes or more, who receive exclusive rights to the card they choose. For more information, go to RCMA.org/Christmas _cards.