Grassroots Movement Gains International Exposure

Grassroots Movement Gains International Exposure

Written by Sharon Cecil

“How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment

before starting to change the world” ~ Anne Frank

A non-profit organization with headquarters located in a one stop light town, Bloomfield, KY, took a big step when they re-ignited LIGHTFEST. We Survive is sending the same message today that was sent by the original LIGHTFEST held from 1997 to 2001 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY— Inspiring Hopes & Dreams.

Communities around the world stepped out on November 7, 2015 to make a difference in the lives of those living in poverty. The steps taken on November 7, 2015 have kick-off a year long campaign to IMPROVE IMPROVERISHED LIVES and realize The Power of the Dream.

There are no easy solutions to poverty.

2015-11-07_212838An Act Out 4 Kids (AO4K) production—Local Louisville area youth took simple steps towards social change by bringing together youth from different organizations throughout the Louisville community. They created an invitational video for LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited.

On November 7, 2015, St. Augustine in Louisville, KY as reported by WHAS 11 Staff, @WHAS11 8:47 a.m. EST November 8, 2015 “held their own ‘Light of Hope’ display to show support for the ‘Lightfest Re-ignited Movement,’ which is a worldwide campaign dedicated to showing hope and support for people living in poverty.

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited 2016 will be November 5.

Spread the Word NOW

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited will have activities throughout the year that will educate and raise awareness about what the impoverish face.

Check out the LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited website and get to know the LIGHTFEST Ambassadors from all over the globe.

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited is a time to bring together communities to convey the need for attention to issues the impoverish face. Those living with and beyond poverty, family members, friends, healthcare providers and encouragers will to show the world that we all can live meaningful, productive inspiring lives.

Let’s get everyone involved in this WORLDWIDE initiative to turn this snowball into an avalanche.

LIGHTFEST Ignites a Global Awareness to Poverty

LIGHTFEST Ignites a Global Awareness to Poverty

flameLIGHTFEST Re-Ignited 2015 ~ LIGHTFEST Ignites a Global Awareness to Poverty

Written by Sharon Cecil

Worldwide messengers are needed to help a small town non-profit and newly formed youth run production group.

With headquarters in Bloomfield, KY, We Survive re-ignited LIGHTFEST originally held at Churchill Downs from 1997 to 2001.  LIGHTFEST was born from the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay with a mission of Inspiring Hopes & Dreams.

Act Out for Kids (AO4K) grew out of a backyard drama camp that a sister and brother started while in middle school, which ran each summer with their friends and cousins. Now that they’re older, they have started kids’ production group that creates projects and videos for non-profits.

AO4K’s LIGHFEST Re-Ignited Invitation Video has made it possible to connect with individuals, organizations and agencies across the globe.  LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited will join together hundreds of communities celebrating HOPE on November 7.

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited will have activities throughout the year that will educate and raise awareness about poverty and homelessness.

Dorothy Day said, “People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.”

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited is a time to bring together communities to convey the need for attention to issues faced by those in impoverished situations. Those living with and beyond poverty, family members, friends, healthcare providers and encouragers will unite in this symbolic event to show the world that we all can live meaningful, productive and even inspiring lives.

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

November 14-22, 2015

 

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited – a perfect time to make plans to take action

 

PaperFest—Eco Friendly project

Improve Impoverished Lives by making plantable paper for We Survive’s LIGHTFEST activities.  The paper will be used for messages on note cards, invitations, packaging labels and other printable pieces.

 

KiteFest—Health and Wellness Event

An inspiring late afternoon to dusk activity that will Light a Kite to take Flight at Night. See—Is hope just a dream or can it fly?

 

“Brighten impoverished lives by displaying a Light of Hope wherever you are on November 7, 2015 at 6pm Eastern Time, It can be a porch light, candle, cell phone, or flashlight. Join others around the world in celebrating the LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited movement!”

 

We Survive

https://www.facebook.com/WeSurvive.org?ref=hl

Fueled by

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited

https://www.facebook.com/lightfestcommunity?ref=hl

Fall provides a Light of Hope—LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited

Fall provides a Light of Hope—LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited

Fall provides a Light of Hope—LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited

Written by Sharon CecilTreeAutumn

Fall is approaching quickly.  It won’t be long before we will be watching the leaves on the trees change color while dropping off the trees letting us know that winter is on its way.  The holiday season will not be far behind.

The fall and winter holidays are a time of year that we reflect upon our lives and the lives of others, especially those that struggle through adversity.

We Survive, a volunteer-driven, not for profit organization that provides Day of Hope day camps and programs throughout the Kentuckiana area offer children and families an opportunity to explore in a nurturing environment providing experiential learning.

Bob Mueller, Vice President of Development at Hosparus, says,  “Truly humble people don’t think little of themselves, rather they think of themselves little.”

Moody Cecil co-founded We Survive, is a kind, patient and humble man.  He believes that children need to experience and explore natures nurturing environment.  Although Moody is a behind the scenes type of person, he has worked to make things happen.

Living in a fast paced world, we continue to hear about the ups and downturns in economic activity.  Our lifestyles are hectic and time is precious.  We often hear people saying that they don’t have enough time to fit everything they need to do in a day.

We Survive has been fortunate to have volunteers who make the time to help us with the children and families during We Survive Day of Hope programming.

“Dreams do come true for those who dare to believe in themselves.” — Bryant McGill

The original LIGHTFEST was held from 1997 to 2001 at Churchill Downs. LIGHTFEST was a dream. Bill Wolfe, The Courier-Journal ACTOutForKidsLogo resizedMarch 24, 1997, said,  “Dare to believe, and your dreams may come true… Sharon Cecil and her husband, Moody, had a dream fulfilled.”

Once you fulfill one dream, there is usually another one lurking in the shadows.  Celebrating 20 years of community service has been a dream come true.  Re-Igniting LIGHTFEST has so much vision from our supporters. The latest effort is the LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited Mural Design & Poetry Project which is hosted by Act Out for Kids and We Survive. Find out more about how to participate here.

Moody’s dream, along with supporters of We Survive, is to develop a Nationwide Network of We Survive Day of Hope Chapters. There are those of us who would like to fulfill this dream which is fueled by LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited.

On November 7, 2015, We Survive is asking everyone Around the World at 6pm Eastern Time, be apart of the LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited movement and display a Light of Hope. It can be a porch light, candle, cell phone or flashlight…this can be done as a group or individually.

With the passing of time, Moody’s memory is fading. He still enjoys being with the children and families that we have worked with for years.  His love of nature still shines bright as he continues to make new memories for those of us who love his company.

 

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited Official Sponsor: NULOU

Hope Found in the Tree of Life

Hope Found in the Tree of Life

Written by Sharon Cecil

Hope found in the Tree of Life

From a poem by ― E.E. CummingsTreeLoveRoots

“…here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)”

 

Twenty years ago, We Survive’s original logo was a hand drawn tree and the roots said ”Long Life” written in calligraphy. With modern times, there were modern updates called computer graphics.

At the same time, Moody Cecil coined a phrase “nurturance in nature.” He believes that if seeds are sown hope will be grown.

From a small child, Moody loved nature and its healing properties. Moody is dedicated to children having a nurturing environment to experience and explore.

Manual High School’s STEAM Innovation Club hosted a “Dialogue on Hope” where community artists, advocates, teachers, counselors and students meet on September 8, 2015. Seeds were scattered throughout the community by Act Out for Kids and We Survive’s LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited. The participants discussed ways to look at artful ways to represent HOPE. Many great ideas were generated during this “Dialogue on Hope.”

Nikki Giovanni, says, “We all benefit when dreams take precedence over fears. When possibilities take precedence over probabilities. When we choose love over fear.”

The following story link is a window into how some people handled the events in Ferguson, Missouri. “From shattered glass to blank canvas, Missouri communities paint to heal” by Corinne Segal December 5, 2014 PBS NEWSHOUR ART BEAT It is incredible how art can heal.

Join the LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited movement on November 7, 2015 at 6pm Eastern Time, and display a Light of Hope. It can be a porch light, candle, cell phone or flashlight…this can be done as a group or individually. If you would like to do a Hunger and Homelessness Awareness event November 7, or anytime throughout the year, please contact us for ideas.

LIGHTFEST Re-IgHeartHandCrystalballnited believes that a visual recognition of HOPE will offer inspiration to those who feel there is no hope. Each of us can carry a seed of doubt that can make us vulnerable to feelings of hopelessness and despair. Deep in everyone’s heart, there is a spark that we sometimes may need to be re-ignited.

“The Power Of The Dream” was the theme song of the 1996 Olympics. It was also the theme for LIGHTFEST held from 1997-2001 at Churchill Downs.

“Deep within each heart

There lies a magic spark

That lights the fire of our imagination…

Faith of things unseen

To realize the power of the dream.”

Volunteers – lifeblood of non-profits

Volunteers – lifeblood of non-profits

Written by Sharon Cecil

Volunteers | lifeblood of non-profits

VolunteersVolunteers are important to non-profit organizations in our society.  Volunteerism offers an opportunity to share the talents you have while helping those in need.  We Survive would not have had 20 years of program excellence without our volunteers.

Many people get involved with a cause or they start an organization because of their own personal experience. After being diagnosed with cancer, I found that I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.  The fear of death can be overwhelming.  I wanted to do something to help others. My husband and I co-founded We Survive.  Knowing that you are living a purposeful life is rewarding.

In the story “Life’s pain gives purpose to hope” July 17, 2015 Courier Journal, three national organizations are mentioned—Susan G. Komen, Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.  Each one founded due to a devastating life experience.

“Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”

Sir James Barrie

When she was little, my daughter started accompanying me when I volunteered with the elder population.  By the time she was three years old, she knew she was a valuable volunteer.  The weekly visits reinforced her importance as the residents told her how glad they were to see her every week.

You can volunteer at any age— in your neighborhood, at church (yours or one in you community) or a worthy organization. It can be on any given day in many ways, giving a few minutes or as much time as you have to give.

With plans to expand our Day of Hope programming, people will ask, “What can I do to help?”   My answer is, volunteer! If you would like to volunteer, please visit our home page for opportunities. Or you can become a Key of Hope partner.   Join by giving a gift today to help us provide life-changing experiences for children and families that are in an impoverished situation.

 

We Survive home of Day of Hope

Website  http://wesurvive.org/

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/WeSurvive.org?ref=hl

 

fueled by LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited

Website  http://lightfestreignited.info/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lightfestcommunity?ref=hl

Is being called Pollyannaish insulting? 

Is being called Pollyannaish insulting? 

Written by Sharon Cecil

Is being called Pollyannaish insulting?

Glad

I have often been referred to as a Pollyanna. The definition of Pollyanna according to Merriam-Webster dot com, “a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything.”

I have considered being called Pollyanna a compliment. Think about how much gladness Pollyanna brought to the little town of Beldingsville, Vermont.

FYI— Did you know that there were sequels to Pollyanna known as “Glad Books,” published throughout the years? If not, check it out.

Being positive (Pollyannaish) can be catching…Even inspiring. A nurse by the name of Fran was my inspiration and virtual mother. She said that the best medicine was being positive and laughter. She was one of the greatest influences in my life. She was ABSOLUTELY right!!

During childhood, reading was an escape from the world around me. I loved reading happy stories like Pollyanna, mysteries and drama. The same thing goes today. As I’ve gotten older though, my reading time has taken a hit since watching happy movies, mysteries and dramas on TV.

The original LIGHTFEST held at Churchill Downs was, “billed as a `day of light and hope, “Bill Wolfe, The Courier-Journal March 24, 1997. It was an event that gave joy and gladness to all that attended.

Let’s cast a shadow on the cloud of doubt.

Let’s show the World that there is truth in being GLAD

Join the LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited Movement

Shine a Light of HOPE

On November 7, 2015 at 6pm Eastern Time, be apart of the LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited movement and display a Light of Hope. It can be a porch light, candle or flashlight…this can be done as a group or individually

Is hope just a dream or can it fly?

Is hope just a dream or can it fly?

Written by Sharon Cecil

Is hope just a dream or can it fly?

Some people have called Sharon and Moody Cecil dreamers.  They had a dream of changing young people’s lives by offering hope and inspiration.  As we know, the Cecil’s are not the only ones who have had their hopes and dreams become reality.

KiteKeyDuring a Creative Expression  program held on June 22, 2015.  There was a discussion about Benjamin Franklin being a dreamer.  The conversation evolved into a consensus that Benjamin Franklin would take a dream and make it happen.

Growing up we heard that Benjamin Franklin invented electricity by creating a lightning rod using a Kite and a key.

Benjamin Franklin is best known for this kite and key experiment. As dreamer, He wanted to improve people’s lives with practical ideas that he put to the test.

Inspiring Hopes and Dreams

When you lose Hopes and Dreams, it can change every facet of  life. We Survive implemented Day of Hope programming  to IMPROVE IMPOVERISHED LIVES.

In 2014, LIGHTFEST Re- Ignited was born.  It was a way for We Survive to renew their promise to spread a message of HOPE Worldwide…By re-igniting LIGHTEST, originally held in 1997, We Survive brought back the Light shared over 20 years ago to inspire our youth to aspire and realize “the Power of the Dream.”

 

Are your dreams something that can take flight like a kite?

 

Contact We Survive and explore LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited Activity opportunities. These activities can be done throughout the year.  By holding an activity, you will

IMPROVE IMPOVERISH LIVES

 

Christina Onassis, wealthiest woman in the world (1950–1988) had everything life could offer.  Yet, it is said that she was not very happy.  She said, “Sometimes when you have everything, you can’t really tell what matters.”

 

As a 4-year old homeless girl said during a Day of Hope conversation, “If you have hope, you are happy!”

 

We are asking that everyone around the world be part of the LIGHTFEST movement.  On November 7, 2015 at 6pm Eastern Time, display a Light of Hope.  It can be a porch light, candle or flashlight…this can be done as a group or individually.

Haven of Hope offers Hopeful Future

Haven of Hope offers Hopeful Future

Written by Sharon Cecil

Haven of Hope offers Hopeful Future

Born and raised in Bloomfield, KY, Moody’s relatives (on both sides of the family) owned farms throughout Nelson County.  Although he knew that farming was not his passion, he realized at a very young age that nature was.

As a child, one of his favorite aunts would take him hiking and one of his uncles took him fishing on a regular basis.  He spent a lot of time on his grandparents’ farm.

As an adult, Moody took any opportunity that he had to spend time at his grandparents’ farm—the same one that eventually became his parents and then his.  Once Moody retired he shared his feelings during presentations that “communing with nature is nurturing.”  He coined the phrase Nurturance in Nature.

We Survive, located at the farm, has worked with youth since its beginning.  The first program was Children and Nature—I CAN.  Positive attitudes and healthy lifestyles has been the common thread in all of our programs.

In October 1996, Moody presented a program at Lebanon Junction Elementary School.  “Healthy Outlook shows at Lebanon Junction”—Courier Journal Neighborhoods October 30, 1996.  The children made music, had a relay with hula-hoops and did an activity that provided and understanding about balancing their lives with the use of a peacock feather.

Like the tail feathers of a peacock, our lives are like a beautiful quilt that has been delicately woven by ornate patterns and magnificent thread.

In 2007, almost 10 years later, teens began visiting children at Wayside Christian Mission weekly.  Working with the youth, we had a contest to name the program in order to get the word out and recruit more volunteers.

A young man from Newburg Middle School won. The winner explained that “these teens give hopes and dreams to children that may not have one.  Scraps of cloth can become a beautiful quilt.”

The winning nameDream Weavers

“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”  –Herman Melville

rsz_20140912_195121When families face difficult times, they are not sure where to turn. During these adverse time, there is a Beacon of HOPE at We Survive’s Haven of Hope. A Lighthouse created by Lauren (a high school student) , was inaugurated on June 6, 2015. This Beacon of Hope provides a Light of HOPE to those who cross the ridge to We Survive’s Haven of Hope. It offers guidance and inspiration during Day of Hope activities at a safe haven.  That day a new sign (created by youth volunteers) was also erected.

 

During devastating times, when we are watching the news, we have seen examples of courage and hear stories of people committing themselves to help others in times. There are numerous Hidden Heroes that step forward and share their time with others.  Volunteers are the ones who help to make things a bit more bearable for others and are the lifeblood of non-profit organizations.

Whether you have a few minutes or a block of time, I am a believer that the most precious gift we can give is time and it doesn’t cost a dime.

Thank you to everyone who enriched our lives, lent a hand and given so generously.

Please check out our website for volunteer opportunities on the home page.