What the Day of Hope Means to Me

What the Day of Hope Means to Me

What the Day of Hope Means to Me

by Jacqueline Blue Browning

blue and sharonThe love and compassion that Moody and Sharon share always struck me at my core. Here were two individuals who had discovered some of the secrets of life. Simple secrets, that get lost in the hustle and bustle of life as we know it to be on this planet today. Some of the most important secrets ; to stop and take the time to breath in nature, to be grateful for and appreciate the beauty of our Earth and to share with one another. These simple truths are often forgotten by many, yet when these secrets are put into practice the results are amazing.

I remember much laughter and wonderful conversations with the children and parents at Day Of Hope. This event is so important to the community. Providing children and families with not only hope but relaxation, a moment to pause and reflect and appreciate the beauty in the world. The atmosphere is always harmonious and everyone shares with one another and smiles.

6-15DayHopeCreek(3)I met Sharon Cecil when I was on my first clinical rotation for the LPN Program at Galen College. She was my first ever clinical instructor. She was so knowledgeable and compassionate. As I continued with my studies I moved on to the RN program. Upon graduation I began working with Sharon on the Day of Hope event. I partnered up with Whole Foods as they donate fruit, snacks and drinks for everyone. I enjoyed being the nurse educator and would provide health and nutrition information. My favorite part was always hiking with the kids. We would also go down to the creek and explore, face paint and paint rocks. We would have a fire pit and make smores. It was always a great time for everyone involved.

Hearing the laughter of the children, seeing the smiles on the faces of the adults, listening to the trees sway in the wind, smelling the fire pit’s smoke float and dance with the wind all while feeling the sun on our skin was one of my favorite memories. I have attended the day of hope for the last 5 years and will continue to for as long as I am able. I plan on continuing my commitment to Sharon and Moody and their vision. I will be graduating in 2019 as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and will continue to participate, create and be a part of Day of Hope.blue

 

Jacqueline Blue Browning, PMHNP- student

Eastern Kentucky University, Class of 2019

A Picture Perfect Day

A Picture Perfect Day

Remembering Moody and Day of Hope

March 25, 2017

A Picture Perfect Day

Written by Sharon Cecil

Father Bob Mueller, pastor of Good Samaritan United Catholic House Church and Vice President of Development at Hosparus Health presided over the Remembering Moody portion of this celebratory day.

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Wayside Christian Mission Choir – Sang at Remembering Moody

A BEAUTIFUL Day in every Way

The Day of Hope that followed Remembering Moody, honored Moody’s passion for the underserved children and families that We Survive serves. These children and families were always near and dear to Moody’s heart.

Moody believed that when you give, you are given an opportunity to change lives.  He knew it takes a village to make things happen.  We Survive volunteers continue to be a testament to the power of service.

Words are powerful, but I am lost for the words that convey the GRATITUDE I feel at this moment.   “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Painting Rocks Music Eating and fun Portrayal of Hope tapestry Playing Frisbee Making Gods Eyes at the creek GS Troop 476

Special THANK YOU to all our supporters and volunteers for making this a very special day for everyone!
In case we have missed anyone, please know we appreciate your help.
 
Sponsor
Sedulo Group
 
Supporters and Volunteers
Wayside Christian Mission Choir
Rachael and Jeremy Hunt
Heidi Joy Stenson
The Wildflower Chronicles
Girl Scout Troop 476
Jacqueline McMillian-Bohler
Debbie and Bryan Lewis
Robertson Family
Fr. Bob Mueller
Sunshine Joe Mallard
Mary and Gary Jewell
Jacqueline “Blue” Browning and Family
Anita and Tony Seekins
Jenniffer Truitt
Hometown Pizza
We Survive
Honoring Someone’s Wishes Gives Respect

Honoring Someone’s Wishes Gives Respect

Honoring Someone’s Wishes Gives Respect

Respect“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. … The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.” – Robin Williams as Lance Clayton in World’s Greatest Dad (2009)

In today’s social and economical environment, there are people (young and old) who are feeling as if they are all alone due to the fear of the unknowns in their future.   Will the outcomes bring devastation and destruction to their world order as they know it!!

Life throws you many obstacles, health and finances can be challenged.  This can lead to a downward spiral if you feel that you don’t have any resources available to you.  That is when you need to take a chance and talk— let yourselves be known.

Moody Cecil, the love of my life, was to a point in our life’s journey that I had to assess our situation and made some difficult choices.

In 2014, Moody and I began to experience financial fragility in part due to my decision to no longer work and be with him 24/7. moody-cecil

It was important to Moody that the legacy he started at the farm would be continued. Therefore, my priority was to keep that vision alive.

I approached the family to see what we might be able to do to keep the property, known to most as Haven of Hope, in the family.

There were two family members that stepped forward to help devise a plan if we should we find it necessary to sell.

What a blessing!! 

When it comes to Moody and his wishes, the following stories regarding his vision brings to life the impact the Haven of Hope has had throughout the years:

I am honored and full of gratitude for the opportunity to have been part of Moody Cecil’s life long vision.  He taught so many that it is important to “Realize the Power of the Dream.”  Thousands of people got the chance to know this loving, caring, gentle man.  To see the twinkle in his blue eyes as he watched over and taught about nature.  Knowing that he was never alone is inherent in everyone who got to know Moody. What was admired most about Moody was that he continued to be a champion for causes in which he believed. This allowed those of us around him to Celebrate Life.

Amazing Vision offers Guiding Light

Amazing Vision offers Guiding Light

Amazing Vision offers Guiding Light

Moody Cecil 3-23-1932 to 12-19-2016

Moody believed that when you give, you are given an opportunity to change lives.

The family farm, which was passed down to Moody, was where he took his children and grandchildren fishing and hiking on the same ground he walked on as a small child. By the time the house had been passed on to him, it had been vandalized and burglarized. It was all grown over and you literally “could not see the forest for the trees.” But, Moody had a vision for the land.

HPIM1257All possibilities were explored to see how the land could be best utilized. Moody wanted to take the gift he had been given and share it with as many people as he could. Working with the Kentucky Division of Forestry, Moody realized that he didn’t have to plant walnut trees or any other trees. He already had beautiful gently rolling woodland that has since been designated as a Stewardship Forest by the Kentucky Division of Forestry- creating a “legacy for future generations.”

In 1994, Moody and Sharon co-founded WE SURVIVE, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide education to the community, break stereotypes, inspire strong youth leaders, and bring hope to others. We Survive’s headquarters is located on the land Moody so dearly loved, Haven of Hope. Over the years, the Haven of Hope has welcomed thousands of people to explore nature and bond with others when they have attended a Day of Hope, seminars, workshops, and weddings. There are plans pending to establish the Haven of Hope Arts and Cultural Center.  There will be a formal announcement at Moody’s Celebration of Life the Spring of 2017—date to be announced.

 

moody-and-michelleMoody cherished the time he spent with his daughter Michelle and grandson Kyle when they were young.  As Michelle says, “My Dad was the most patient and kind person. There wasn’t a child or animal that didn’t like him. He had a special calmness that made everyone that met him feel comfortable. He loved nature, and I am honored that he passed that quality on to me. I loved skipping rocks, taking walks together, or just sitting together watching nature around us. My Dad taught me what the truly important things in life are. I will cherish all the memories we had together, and the love you showed me. I love you Dad!”

Moody’s passion was working with children from all walks of life. He enjoyed planning and participating in Day of Hope.

Help us keep Moody’s vision alive with a contribution to the We Survive – Moody Cecil Haven of Hope Memorial Fund.

To share a message with Moody’s family, go to the Fern Creek Funeral Home site.

“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

HOPE is the Thread that Pulls us TOGETHER!!!

Hope Through the Eyes of a Child

Hope Through the Eyes of a Child

Hope through the eyes of a child

Written by Sharon Cecil

hopechildrenOnce you have experienced hope through the eyes of a child who lives in poverty or a homeless shelter, you will never think of hope with the same perspective.

 

When attending a Day of Hope, parents prepare by hearing stories of past Day of Hope adventures or struggle with the thought of being taken to the country and being uneasy about the unknown that is facing them.

 

A child on the other hand, if left to their own volition, might conjure up the wonder and magical mystery of going to the country and what might be lurking in the woods.  Children can create images that are unique and out of nowhere their inborn natural relationship with nature evolves.

 

It is such a joyful time seeing the children arrive with a bit of apprehension as they transform into the world of nature with such ease.  While the older youth and adults are much more apprehensive, their transformation is not quite as quick.  But, everyone seems to find his or her place in nature before the day is done.

 

wideeyedinnocenceYou may have heard the term “wide-eyed innocence” when it comes to a child or childish behavior.  I personally find this behavior refreshing to see and experience.  For a day, those who attend a Day of Hope are able to put their cares behind them and just be free to be.

 

As a volunteer expresses in Day of Hope Inspires,  “Seeing the children and families being able to enjoy their day with playing games and being out in nature and being able to forget about life for a while was a great opportunity for me as well.”

 

When visiting We Survive’s Haven of Hope, a Day of Hope offers nurturance in nature providing supportive surroundings cultivating a safe environment for participants and the wildlife

 

At the end of the day, the participants talk about hope around a symbolic lighthouse and each participant is given a Key of Hope as a reminder that “THE KEY—Open Hearts 2 HOPE.”  Having been fortunate enough to see the children and families after Day of Hope events, many are still wearing their key around their neck with pride.

 

Remember

 

“You + Youth = Today’s Hope”

 

It is our HOPE that LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited will be world-changing!!

 

Day of Hope Inspires

Day of Hope Inspires

Written by: Ryan Hatfield

mortar and pestalMarch 15, 2016

I first became involved with We Survive and Day of Hope as a first-year pharmacy student. The Day of Hope event was the first service learning project I had undertaken in pharmacy school. I didn’t really know what to expect other than I knew I was going to help provide health education to underprivileged children and their families.

Each of the pharmacy students were paired up with one of the children from the shelter. The child with whom I was paired was one of the older ones there, and he was definitely not thrilled that he had to participate. I tried talking to him and getting him to open up, but all I got was nowhere fast. I get it—we are from two vastly different worlds, and to be completely honest, I probably would have been just as aloof as he was if I was in his shoes.

The day itself had various activities. There was an educational component to it, of course, but the children and families also got to explore nature. For most of them, I’d hedge a bet that it was the first time they’d ever been out of the city. The young man with whom I was partnered started loosening up a little when we went on the hike, but he really came out of his shell when we went down to the creek. He absolutely loved being able to explore the creek. His biggest prize was the frog that he caught. We had to pry him from the creek when it was time for the groups to change activities. He did a 180 from the time he arrived at the farm to the time that he left. Being out at the farm did wonders for him, even if it may have only been for that day.

The children and families that participated in the event were so gracious and so thankful. If not for the Day of Hope, I don’t think a lot of these folks would have the opportunity to get out into the country and experience nature in its true form.

Seeing the children and families being able to enjoy their day with playing games and being out in nature and being able to forget about life for a while was a great opportunity for me as well. I’ve participated in the Day of Hope event each of my 3 years in pharmacy school. I graduate in June, and while I know that I won’t always be able to attend the Day of Hope event every year, it is an organization that I do wish to continue to support.

 

Ryan Hatfield, PharmD

Sullivan University College of Pharmacy, Class of 2016

Show You Care—It’s Contagious

Show You Care—It’s Contagious

Show You Care—It’s Contagious

Written by Sharon Cecil

As a child, Muhammad Ali grew up in Louisville, Kentucky.  At the age of 12, someone stole his bicycle and he wanted to “whip” the thief, but trained to be a boxer instead. A dream was followed and a “Champion” was discovered.

A lot of inner city youth get outdoors to ride their bike, if they have a bike.   When they are outside, it often means they are surrounded by what is known as the “asphalt jungle” with minimal grass and trees.

”When confronted with a hopeless situation… to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into triumph” ~~Victor Frankl

On June 11, 2016, Bloomfield, a small Kentucky town, reached out to children and families from the inner city for National Get Outdoors Day. We Survive’s Haven of Hope and the City of Bloomfield coordinated ScenicFest a LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited Activity for National Get Outdoors Day.

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Exploring the creek at Haven of Hope.

As participating partners of National Get Outdoors Day, ScenicFest offered opportunities for families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities.

ScenicFest brought a small town experience to a group of inner city children and families who know poverty and homelessness first hand.

Taking a scenic bus ride to Bloomfield, Kentucky, the group stopped at Haven of Hope. Greeted by volunteers, the children played, hiked, ate lunch and waded in the creek while the adults observed or joined in the activities.

The next stop was Bloomfield’s Memorial Park where Bloomfield Mayor Rhonda Hagan and Councilwoman Tammy Wimpsett were eager to welcome the group.

Children use shovels and hands to fill in around the tulip poplar tree they helped plant at Bloomfield Memorial Park.

Children use shovels and hands to fill in around the tulip poplar tree they helped plant at Bloomfield Memorial Park. Picture from Randy Patrick at the Kentucky Standard.

Each child was greeted with a yellow ribbon with their name on it to tie to a branch of a Tulip Poplar Tree during a Tree Dedication. As Councilwoman Wimpsett said, “Next year as the Branches Bloom with Hope the children know they have roots in Bloomfield, Kentucky.”

ScenicFest, like the other LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited activities, shared the plight of those living in poverty and those susceptible to poverty and homelessness while empowering participants to BELIEVE in the power of having a dream.

lightfest_logo

 

LIGHTFEST originated at Churchill Downs in 1997 and was born from the 1996 Summer Olympics Torch Relay to ignite Hopes and Dreams.

 

MAC logo_box_tagIn 2014, LIGHTFEST was re-ignited with a reception held at the Muhammad Ali Center. LIGHTFEST Re-ignited took the place of We Survive’s annual Hunger and Homelessness event held every November one week before the National Coalition for the Homeless Hunger and Homeless Awareness week.

 

November 5, 2016, there is a worldwide initiative to Shine a Light of Hope so that children and their families know that the world cares about their difficult circumstances, while bringing attention to the need of those dealing with or are susceptible to hunger and homelessness.

Hope for Teens during Mental Health Awareness Month

Hope for Teens during Mental Health Awareness Month

Hope for Teens during Mental Health Awareness Month

Written by Sharon Cecil

MentalHealthWordsMay is Mental Health Awareness Month. It offers us the opportunity to look at mental health for our family and ourselves.

Teens have so much on their plate these days with the fast paced world in which we live. The Internet brings everything to the forefront except for the one thing teens need—one-on- one time.

June 11, 2016, is National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day).  GO Day has a list of reasons “Why GO Day is Great.”

Reason #2 says, “Teenagers live in a world that is more stressed than ever before. They get overloaded with pressure at school, conflicts at home, relationship problems, and career choices. Many have to deal with divorce, moves, financial struggles, jobs, and blended families. When stress builds up, teens cope however they can. They may drink, drive aggressively, get high, overeat, go shopping, spend hours on the computer or playing video games, or take out their frustration on others.

This is why we see increased bullying, isolation, depression, obesity, eating disorders, inappropriate sexual activity, violent outbursts, cutting, intolerance and hate crimes, suicide, and many other destructive choices.

Kids need new and better choices. They need help unwinding and handling pressure in positive ways. Recreation is a powerful antidote to stress.”

You’re invited to join us for GO Day–ScenicFest

On June 11, 2016, Bloomfield, KY and We Survive’s Haven of Hope will hold a GO Day activity – ScenicFest  –a LIGHTFEST Re-ignited initiative.

Besides the benefits of active time spent outdoors, ScenicFest will give you the chance to be adventurous spending time in a small one-stop light town—the City of Bloomfield. If you are traveling from the city to the country, you will enjoy a scenic ride.

ScenicFest will be a mix of whole body wellness experiences from enjoying the scenic landscape, browsing at shops with antiques and collectibles, meeting friendly people walking, hiking, games, scavenger hunt, interactive health and wellness educational stations, arts and crafts. In other words a day full of fun and HOPE.

When you are doing a mental health check, some Key Tips for Parents 

 Keep communication constant, open, and honest

 Understand that mental health disorders are treatable

 Be attentive to your teen’s behavior

For more information on Mental Health and Wellness during the month of May, you can visit We Survive: A Hope for Health and Wellness