Greenwich teen publishers AJ Ink Designs hosted a fundraiser in the month of May to benefit Off Beat Players (OBP), called Cards for a Cause. Off Beat Players is a local non-profit organization and inclusive theater company for young adults with special needs. The fundraiser included an original deck of 52 cards designed by 18-year old Angela Zarrilli, and her 13-year old sister, Jacklyn Zarrilli. The designs reflected famous Broadway productions including Guys and Dolls, Grease, Mamma Mia, and Bye Bye Birdie. To sell the Cards for a Cause Broadway Deck, Angela and Jacklyn set up a store page at ajinkdesigns.com. “It all became real when the emails began to pop up every single time we got a purchase!” said Angela. Jacklyn added, “It was also cool to partner with a national company like Bicycle Playing Cards!”
The two founders of AJ Ink first became interested in helping Off Beat Players when a classmate of Angela’s mentioned an upcoming OBP production in 2021. OBP will continue to produce theatrical performances, including Suessical this August. AJ Ink plans to donate the remaining unsold decks to OBP, to be used for their own fundraising efforts. “If you missed your chance to get a deck of cards featuring Danny Zuko, Conrad Birdie, and all your favorite broadway characters this May, contact OBP to see how you can get a deck,” says Angela.
The funds will help to provide production costs, performance space rentals, and set design materials. Patrons also have the option to donate to Cards for a Cause at www.gofundme.com/obpcards. In addition to the founders of AJ Ink, project supporters include Jennifer Zarrilli, Benefactor of AJ Ink, Phil Lohmeyer of The Comic Tree, Kim Malara of Off Beat Players, and Nicole Singson of The United States Playing Card Company. Jacklyn added, “Thank you again to everyone who bought a deck of cards, all of the people who helped us, and my sister Angie for coming up with the idea to draw Broadway stars for OBP!” For more information on Cards for a Cause, visit Ajinkdesigns.com/blog, and for more about Off Beat Players, visit offbeatplayers.org.