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

Taxes on the Go Offers Hope for the Homebound

Taxes on the Go Offers Hope for the Homebound

Written by Sharon Cecil

In the fall of 2015, I found myself in a situation where I was pretty much limited due to a fall that created mobility issues. To the knee injury that imposed restrictions that I referred to as “stair incarceration” add blustery wind and a flurry of snow accumulation, home became my husband’s and my sanctuary.

During this time, there were a lot of people sharing stories about how it was hard to get out of their home to get things done. The information shared took me on an explorative journey to seek out services that are available to you when you are homebound.

Two services that I felt were vital included getting your taxes completed and food for the pantry.

Taxes on the Go Offers Hope for the Homebound

TaxFormIt is inevitable, that January brings with it that time of the year. TAX time! It can be one of the most grueling tasks that you procrastinate about for multiple reasons.

One young man’s story was fascinating.

Michael Fitzmayer has done tax preparation for more than 35 years. He will tell you that he has seen just about every type of tax situation in that time.

Mike started Taxes on the Go. He will come to your home with his laptop in hand and prepare your taxes.   He has the capability to e-file, but needs to file from his office to ensure that it is sent from a secure network.

In order to help people that were less fortunate than he is, Mike started doing Taxes on the Go. Mike wanted to be there for people who were in recovery situations and be able to reduce the cost for those with lower incomes or stressed financial concerns.

Mike talked with me regarding, “People with low incomes are going into tax preparation offices and being taken advantage of by paying very high preparation fees.”

When you can’t leave home, there is always the option to do your taxes yourself when you have access to the internet. For many people, they don’t have the luxury of owning a computer and internet access due to their financial limitations. Or health issues such as sight might make that option prohibitive.

Thank goodness that there are people like Mike who have put a personal touch to taxes.

Taxes on the Go takes the worry out of getting your taxes done if you can’t leave home.

Contact Mike at Taxes on the Go 502-640-8782. He will also prepare taxes at his office.

FYI—If you live in Louisville, you might want to check out ValuMarket’s Curbside Direct, Louisville’s original online grocery shopping platform that allows customers to buy all their favorite grocery items online in a safe and convenient way. Or check with your local area store to see if you can call in the day before to get your order delivered.

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.

Homelessness Can Happen to Anyone

Homelessness Can Happen to Anyone

Homelessness Can Happen to Anyone

A letter from Sherry P.

Dear Friends and Family

Unexpected happenings can take you from stability to fragility in a matter of moments.

Have you or anyone you know:

  • ended up in the hospital for an extended period of time,
  • lost his or her job and can’t find a job at his or her same pay grade,
  • graduated from college and has enormous tuition expenses and can’t find a job,
  • an elder person who is on a fixed income or health is declining?

Many years ago as a college student, it wasn’t unusual to see a woman who pushed around a grocery cart with sacks of stuff in it.  She was referred to as a “bag ladies.’  What was in the cart was everything she owned.

Men would hang around the area fast food places near the college begging for money, saying that they wanted food.  These men were referred to as “pan handlers.”

One day in Sociology class, there was a discussion on how did these people wind up on the street.  There were many perspectives to that question.  Primary, the perception was that they were either lazy, mentally ill or on drugs.  A discussion ensured that didn’t bring about much change in the negative view towards their situation except to say that they were living on the street.  Could not say with certainty that the words poverty or homelessness were even used.

The issues surrounding poverty, hunger and homelessness need to be address.  The are a leading issue of today and is not going away.

No one is immune.  The potential to the vulnerability to poverty, hunger and homelessness impacts each and every single one of us in some way be it environmentally, economically or overall health.

There is an estimated 15% of the homeless who have jobs, but do not make a living wage.  Then you have retirees who are on fixed incomes who watch their benefits get cut while the cost of living continues to rise.

Infants to the elderly are struggling to maintain their basic needs – food, clothing and shelter.  Children and the elderly have the most difficulty surviving the devastation of poverty.

In 2017, the access to healthcare is a big issue.  With the potential policy changes to Medicard and Medicare, healthcare becomes an even bigger uncertainty for those who are medically fragile—which lead to financial fragility.

We need to become advocates for our fellow man.  It is the simple things that make a BIG difference.

As an avid volunteer, I want to tell you there are so many organizations that would love your help.  Find something you enjoy and then see what you can do.

soupkitchenBeing able to interact is rewarding.  Working in a soup kitchen has been rewarding over the years for my husband and myself.

You will be amazed at the gratitude that you receive when you are serving others.  In our case it is serving times two.  We are able to serve a population in need while serving up a hot meal.

What a blessing that is for everyone.

 

Hope in a Passport

Hope in a Passport

Hope in a Passport

Written by Christopher V.

passportThis is my passport. Although worn, it is what proves that I am an American. Although torn, it shows that not only was I born in this country but this country is also my home. Many American children whose parents are undocumented are left with just a birth certificate. They are left with the uncertainty of “will my family be able to stay in this country, or will we be forced to leave.” If their family gets deported, they’d be seen as an alien in their parent’s country.

I started raising money on Friday, December 9, and given the generosity of friends, family, and people I don’t even know, I’ve been able to raise enough money for 15 Passports ($1250 to be exact). And that’s awesome! But there’s still a need, go to Christopher’s Facebook page and see how you can help.

 

Why is this more important today than ever before?

In 2015,Texas wanted to deny Birth Certificates to U.S.-born children of immigrants. Although Texas ended their attempt in July of this year, given the new administration coming in 2017, new policies remain uncertain.

 

Why is a US passport better than a birth certificate?

A passport is the most legal document to prove one’s citizenship. It also makes dual citizenship easier should an individuals family get deported. Without it, a child risks becoming an alien within their parent’s home country.

 

How will the money I give result in a passport for a child in need?

I am working with churches who hold Spanish masses. To me, this is the easiest way to get the message out that help is available. The first round of passports will be ordered this week.

 

How much does a passport cost?

For a child, it cost $80. All donations help though, and I’ll round up the final amount so know your money will result in a passport.

Luminating Letter to a Young Newlywed

Luminating Letter to a Young Newlywed

Luminating Letter to a Young Newlywed – Inspired by a difficult marital journey

Written by Ginny C.

Dear Newlywed,

As a teenage bride over 50 years ago, knowledge of the real world was lacking.  Financial difficulties, a miscarriage, isolation and depression were sitting on the doorstep. Due to a problem with the premises, we had to move from the apartment we had only been in for a few months.    Tension was mounting in the marriage.  This all happened within the 1st year.

Life’s challenges continued and seemed to become more complicated. The biggest problem facing the marriage was the lack of communication. Coping mechanisms that had been learned kept us entangled in a quagmire of gloom and doom due to multiple family issues.  Neither one of us knew how to begin to untangle the mess we were compounding due to lack of experience and resources.

I kept hearing the term coping mechanisms.  It seemed that no matter with whom I spoke, I was told that it was normal to have problems when you are young.  In the late 1960’s early ‘70’s there were not many places to turn.

Being a sporadic writer, I would keep a diary of sorts.  It would help a little since I really didn’t have anyone to talk with that I felt I could trust outside of someone that was clergy or medical.  The resources that I felt I had just made me feel that it was my problem, get over it.

needleworkI had an aunt that taught me to knit as a child. I learned to sew in Home Economics in high school.   Neither one was of much interest to me.  But, I needed something to occupy my time and utilize some form of talent I was hoping to find within myself.

Knitting seemed a better alternative to sewing.  Yarn was cheap and you could make something that could be given as a gift.  Knitting ended up not being so helpful, because, I would drop stitches and I would get pretty far along and there would be a hole in my work.

I switched to crocheting.  It was faster than knitting and if you made a mistake, you knew it pretty quickly after you made it and correct it without feeling like you had to start over.

The crocheting would go into full swing for Christmas presents and I would start right after Christmas for the next year.  Then I found
myself mixing in some knitting again.

After putting items in a small store on consignment people started placing orders.  The money that I received helped me buy materials for the gifts I was making.

When you are young there are a lot of baby showers and wedding gifts to be made.  I became pretty proficient at knitting baby sets (sweater, hat and booties) and crocheting afghans as wedding gifts.

The beautiful thing about needlework, I could keep my hands and my mind busy, which became very therapeutic and I was able to give a lasting gift made out of love.

I have come to the belief that giving of yourself and using the talents you have is both healthful and hopeful.

Portrayal of Hope Tapestry

Portrayal of Hope Tapestry

Portrayal of Hope Tapestry

Portrayal of Hope TapestryOn November 5, 2016, there will be a new activity introduced at LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited–Portrayal of Hope.

We are very excited about our reconnecting with Sunshine Joe Mallard. He has design a commemorative piece for  LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited 2016 LIGHTFEST Station in Louisville, where participants will be provided the opportunity to embroidery their names into the Portrayal of Hope Tapestry.


sunshine-joe-library-pictureSunshine Joe Mallard
is one of American’s premier Creative Embroidery craftsmen. He has been embroidering for more than 40 years.

Portrayal of Hope

As we take the message of HOPE Around the World—We Survive asks that everyone join this journey to create a Portrayal of Hope Project at his or her school, workplace or organization.

We may not always comprehend that poverty can be an entanglement of multiple circumstances. As we send messages of inspiration and hope around the world, We Survive and “Sunshine Joe” would like to see you incorporate HOPE into your daily lives and reach out to your community, city and the world at large bringing awareness to the issues of poverty, those susceptible to poverty, hunger and homelessness.

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited
http://lightfestreignited.info/
https://www.facebook.com/lightfestcommunity?ref=h

Portrayal of Hope
http://wesurvive.org/portrayalofhope/
https://www.facebook.com/Portrayal-of-Hope-532362823620962/

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!!

 

Firehouse Fest and Chef Jess

Firehouse Fest and Chef Jess

Firehouse Fest and Chef Jess 
LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited activities are geared towards innovative educational experiences while having fun.

The first Firehouse Fest was held on Saturday, May 9, 2015 was a great success! As noted by Sharon Cecil at her “Speaking Intergenerationally” blog site,  “Participants visited an historic firehouse and provided with valuable information for health, wellness and mental well-being.”

chefjessShortly after graduating from high school, Jessica began working with senior adults.  With a quiet demure, her rapport with the participants in the senior program was AMAZING.  She demonstrated a remarkable artistic talent.

With her incredible artistic ability it wasn’t surprising that she wanted to be an artist.  A Culinary Artist that is—something she had aspired to do since she was four years old.

At Firehouse Fest, participants enjoyed working with Chef Jess who volunteered her time decorating cupcakes, cookies and donuts on May 9 with graduation from the Culinary Arts Program on May 12, 2015.

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited wants every young person to know, “If you can dream it, you can do It.” ~~ Walt Disney

Chef Jess epitomes “The Power of the Dream!”

To read more Portrayals of Hope go here.

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