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.

choir 1

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
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.

WOW Continues to Evolve after 20 Years

WOW Continues to Evolve after 20 Years

WOW Continues to Evolve after 20 Years

We Survive has provided youth lead leadership experiences through youth mentoring for 22 years.  By engaging the youth in a creative experiential learning process they become active participants in the planning, promoting and presenting of programming empowering youth to take leadership roles.

Sharon2017Beauty

Find the Beauty in Everything painted by Sharon McKean

Creative Expression offers a journey to good health and healing which is an important part of life.  It allows participants to open up to his or her inner most thoughts and feelings.  Once you begin to create, you can begin to connect to your inner self.

We Survive’s Women Offering Wisdom (WOW) Program  has provided Creative Expression opportunities through health and wellness programming since 1996.

Sharon Wells was a young high school student who loved to write and became involved with the WOW Program after one of her submissions was chosen to appear in a WOW Publication in 2000.   Sharon is married now (Sharon Wells McKean).

“We Survive’s WOW programming provided tools that helped us create transformational and inspirational societal changes with our health and wellness educational programs.  Writing, art, publishing, radio interviewing/moderating and creating media pieces (magazines, books, pamphlets, press releases, etc.) was a wonderful learning opportunity. We learned the importance of gathering creditable information from various sources through interviews and research allowing us to develop our own educated opinions on various topics while enabling us to share valuable information with our community. These experiential activities helped me become a more effective communicator and leader.” ~~ Sharon McKean

Sharon is an avid volunteer with We Survive.  Over the past 5 years she has been working with promotions of We Survive programming and has been active with LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited.

Sharon wanted to do something positive to connect with people and utilize her skills as a writer, educator.   A year ago, Sharon came up with the idea to start an online health and wellness education community.

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) recognizes March as MS Awareness Month.   Having Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Sharon felt that March was a perfect time to begin the health and wellness community.  Sharon helped launch and has runs the online community which began on March 1, 2016.  It is now her “pet” project.

You can visit this community on Facebook here.

Read more about The History of the WOW program.

Luminating Letter to Girls Entering High School

Luminating Letter to Girls Entering High School

Luminating Letter to Girls Entering High School

Written by Ingrid N.

Dear Rising Senior High Girls,

scientistGoing into high school was one of the biggest milestones I and any other 8th grader could ever face. With puberty came a sense of maturity and intellectual curiosity that stemmed from my passion for the physical sciences. Already well past my peers in terms of academia, my next sight was set on gaining admission at a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) magnet high school not twenty miles from where I lived, in Greenbelt, MD. The opportunity meant a chance at a better education and academic environment. But it also sowed seeds of doubt in my mind. What if I failed the entrance exam? Or worse, what if I wasn’t shaped to be in the STEM program? Panic mixed with fear flooded my stream of consciousness, as I scribbled away at my answer sheet for a spot that hundreds of 8th grade girls and boys from across the county were competing for. Nearly four hours later, I left the silent halls sullen, sore-eyed, and seething with regret and anger. Regretful of the fact that I had left nearly three pages of problems unanswered. And angry for flustering myself at the least opportune moment. I was sure I had blown it.

Or, at least I thought I had.

It was that nagging voice in my head that day that had let my doubts and insecurities avalanche into what they really were: fear. Like many of you reading this, I was intimidated by going into high school altogether, but moreso, I was intimidated by chasing after my career choice at so young an age. Compounded with the social stigma surrounding female STEM workers in a traditionally male-dominated field, and it was just a matter of time before my worries for my future reached their tipping point. As young girls, we are molded to strive for what society lets us strive for. We are told that we can have ambition and the motivation to succeed, but only in fields that are already overwhelmingly occupied by women, specifically those many perceive as the “soft” sciences. But here I–and possibly you—was, ready to tap into the field of the “hard” sciences. Enamored by algebraic concepts, Newton’s laws, and computer programming, branches of science that many girls in my school had brushed off with a insouciant shrug by the 6th grade. The sense of achievement I felt while excelling in these subjects at school was quickly left by the realization that each step toward my dream distanced me from the others. Each step towards being a competitive candidate for the STEM program gravitated me away from my peers, and further into the hands of my unknown Destiny.

But later that May, and the months that followed, I gradually learned to flush those toxic fears away. I gripped my big, bold-capped acceptance letter in my hand with a radiance and confidence I never knew I could possess, and like any other middle school graduate, I reminisced the past and embraced what would come to be my future: pre-majoring in Computer Science at the school’s prestigious magnet program. I acknowledged that through it all, I couldn’t give in to fear or let anything come between what I wanted to do. And being one of the few teen girls in my trade, I learned that I had to be my biggest supporter, in order to overcome the adversity that would linger my way. And that now more than ever, a strong work ethic was the defining factor in one’s aptitude to succeed.

For those in my shoes, who are still determined to pursue their academic focus in the sciences, or whatever daunting field that may be, never let society, your peers, or your conscience let you believe that your dreams aren’t worth chasing after. There’s no doubt that the future is scary to think about in your young teenage lives, but the sooner you navigate your interests and build your skillsets, the easier the road to your future career will be . Sometimes, you might veer off that road to self-discovery, and other times, you might have moments where you question the validity of your dream, but no journey comes without its bumps and potholes. It’s okay to be uncertain of life’s uncertainties. But just know that anything that you set your mind to, especially the sciences, can be achieved, and only you can define the standards you set for yourself. A strong work ethic and eagerness to learn can catapult you into fields you would never dream of crossing. All you have to do is open your mind—and your heart–to start your journey.
open-your-mindopen-heartjourney

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 from Kyle Mitchell

Luminating Letter from Kyle Mitchell

Kyle Mitchell

Luminating Letter—Inspiring Hopes and Dreams

Kyle knows the frustration being felt by youth today.  Kyle’s Luminating Letter is written to inspire middle and high school students to focus on what is important as they make their decisions regarding life after high school and going to college.

My name is Kyle Mitchell and I am a recent grad from Indiana University Southeast.  In high school and through college, my goal in life was to make a lot of money.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to make a lot of money and I am still striving to make money but my number one goal in life is to inspire others.  I realized that the feeling I get from inspiring is far greater than the feeling of receiving money.  With all this being said, I hope I can inspire kids in high school who are about to go to college with this letter.

do-your-bestThe most important thing you need in college to be successful is effort.  I have friends and colleagues that tell me all the time, “I want to go to college but I am not smart enough.”  There could not be a more false statement about college.  If you put in the effort, you will see the results.  Let me tell you what college is really like.

A lot of high school students experience fear, anxiety, and apprehension when starting college.  This is normal and happens to most (including me) but really there is nothing to worry about.  As long as you can commit yourself to putting in the effort, you will be fine.  A great speaker that I highly recommend to any student to listen to is Eric Thomas.  Even out of school, I still listen to him every day.  One of Eric’s biggest things he “encourages” having phenomenal will is greater than having phenomenal skill.

If you can work on your will power and get that to a phenomenal level then you will undoubtedly succeed not just in school but in life.  You will realize in college that you have a lot less time in the classroom and that most of your learning comes outside of the classroom.  This is where that will power has to kick in for you.

Most high school students are not used to all the freedom and a majority do not know how to handle it.  It takes practice and a mindset to control your will power.  You have to know why you are doing what you are doing.

what-motivates-youWhat is your motivator?  You need to have a reason for why you are going to school.  Going to school because your parents want you to is going to make it hard to control your will power.  You need to have a deep reason that can drive you every day to get up and put everything you have into that day because only then will you feel truly successful.  There is one more element that is important to have in college/life.

The last thing I would like to touch on is having a sense of pride and passion for what you are doing.  Whether it is school, work, sports, etc., make sure you are passionate and have pride in what you are doing.  You should be able look at yourself at the end of the day and feel proud of what you did because you know that really gave it your all that day.

live-lifeTo leave off, make sure you have that effort and phenomenal will power because you only live this life once.  Don’t go to college and waste your time.  Second, develop a sense of pride in what you are doing.  If you don’t feel that pride or you don’t have a passion for what you are doing then switch to something else.  You are at the beginning of your life and it is time to take advantage of it.

Hope during the Holidays

Hope during the Holidays

treeHope during the Holidays

Written by Todd S. 

“I was just doing some shopping last night looking for this Christmas tree that I really liked and I found it. It was left on the shelf. As I placed the tree in my cart, I found the ornaments that I wanted and was ready to check out. While I was moseying along through the aisle, I heard this little girl and her mother talking:

Little Girl: Mommy, I love this tree, can we get this one, we never had a big tree before.

Mommy: I’m sorry baby, we can’t afford that tree, how about this tree right here; it’s really pretty.

Little Girl: That is too small mommy; Santa Claus will not come see me.

Mommy: Sweetie, Santa will come see you; you’ve been a really good girl.

Little Girl: Dang mommy, we’ve never had a big tree before and I really wanted one but I understand.

As I looked on at the two standing there, the little girl was on the verge of tears and I could see the Mother standing there in sadness that she couldn’t fulfill her daughters wish. I walked away feeling overwhelmed with emotions…I don’t have kids so I couldn’t imagine what she felt like inside. But I knew in my heart what I needed to do…I went to the checkout, paid for the tree and the ornaments; I explained to the checkout lady, can you check this lady out behind me, as the lady approached, she was about to put her tree on the counter and I told her, excuse me ma’am, you won’t need that tree, this tree is for you and your daughter. NO CHARGE; MERRY CHRISTMAS. Watching the little girl smiling and feeling her hug, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I gave her and her daughter the best Christmas ever!”

Confronting Conflict with Purpose

Confronting Conflict with Purpose

Confronting Conflict with Purpose

Written by Sharon Cecil

Our youth are creative strategists.  They want their world to be a safer place to live.  The frightening statistics  affecting them today regarding vulnerability to poverty, hunger, homelessness and violence are NOT acceptable.

The answer is not easy but together we can find the right pieces.

There are no simple or easy solutions to the anguish being seen around the world. Yet, young people are eager to help bring about change by confronting conflict through art.

When working with young people, it  is imperative they are in an environment where they can feel safe.  The youth open up and are extremely honest with their feelings in a relaxed, safe, informal setting.

Recently, discussions have been geared toward how youth feel about attitudes in their world.  They are seeing a shift to a culture of violence and hatred and want to offer young people options to express their discontent, anger and fear.

Artistic outlet for health and healing

There are definite benefits between health, healing and art. James W. Pennebaker, PhD is a professor of Psychology at the University of Texas, Austin.  Dr. Pennebaker has done extensive research on Writing to Heal.  In his book Writing to Heal–A guided Journal for Recovering from Trauma & Emotional Upheaval Dr. Pennebaker states, “the simple act of expressing your thoughts and feelings about emotionally challenging experiences on paper is proven to speed your recovery and improve your mental and physical health.”

We Survive designs programming that concentrate on health and wellness from all disciplines. With the Creative Expression program, “There are so many different approaches to mental and physical healing. Writing and the arts offer many choices for you to express yourself.  By releasing your emotions through some form of medium, you can improve your health.”

Hope through creative healing, Courier Journal 12-9-2014,  “We all benefit when dreams take precedence over fears. When possibilities take precedence over probabilities. When we choose love over fear.”—Nikki Giovanni, one of the best known African American poets

All forms of art have been used throughout history.  Researchers continue to explore the benefits to health and healing. The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature—US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.  “This review explores the relationship between engagement with the creative arts and health outcomes, specifically the health effects of music engagement, visual arts therapy, movement-based creative expression, and expressive writing.”

We Survive’s Portrayal of Hope provides a platform for voices to be heard through artistic talent.  It is an opportunity to take action NOW to show the world there is HOPE for the Future.

EDUCATION is the KEY to Understanding

Sunshine Joe Mallard – one of American’s premier Creative Embroidery craftsmen for more than 40 years

We may not 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 Mallard (one of American’s premier Creative Embroidery craftsmen) 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 on the issues of poverty.

If you need help in developing ideas and or need support for your Portrayal of Hope project, please contact lightfest@wesurvive.org

Together we will change lives!

Portrayal of Hope

Portrayal of Hope

https://www.facebook.com/Portrayal-of-Hope-532362823620962

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited 2016

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited 2016

an Ultimate Day of Hope

 

On November 5, LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited once again brought education and awareness to the communities regarding issues faced by those vulnerable to poverty, hunger and homelessness.

Thanks to Matthew Simons and Simons Electronics, we were able to see the impact LIGHTFEST had made worldwide on November 5, as he displayed the 2016 Locator Map on a large screen for all to view at the LIGHTFEST Station held at St. Augustine.  Matthew also displayed pictures of activities on the LIGHTFEST Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lightfestcommunity?ref=h  during the event.

There was a group of little ones (looked to be 3 to about 6 years old) standing about half way into the activity area.  They were so excited about being on TV.  Listening to them had me excited for them.  They kept pointing to the screen with their sweet giggles of excitement repeatedly saying, “Did you see that? We are on TV!”

Nurturance in Nature is a cornerstone of We Survive programming.  Courtney Ellis brought a nurturing nature lesson to LIGHTFEST as she had participants planting in a small cup and talking about how useful plants are and what they do to give us a healthy life.

One little boy held onto his freshly planted seed with two Popsicle sticks saying, “I will cherish this.”  You would have thought that he was holding a pot of gold rather than a cup full of dirt.

Along with educational information from health providers, there were health screenings, chess and checker challenges, a cakewalk, face painting, jewelry making, quilling, lanterns, lighthouses, a embroidered commemorative tapestry and other crafts.

Concluding with the Light of Hope Walk

 There was a diverse group of participants including those within the homeless community.

Katrina Bailey, LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited Volunteer stated, “When we lit up our lights for the walk/observation, the happiness, willingness, enthusiasm and vigor the children had in participating was overwhelmingly speechless.  They wanted to walk, although they themselves were facing and LIVING in the very circumstance in which we were holding the vigil for: the homeless, hungry and poverty stricken.  That was, to me was the ULTIMATE show of love and sacrifice.  Deeply touching and humbling.”

A special thanks to all our sponsors and volunteers for making this a very special day for all!

Sponsor-Passport Health Plans
Host—St. Augustine Catholic Church

Volunteers- 

ATA College-Nursing Students
Burnett Ave. Baptist Church Youth Group
Courtney Ellis from the Louisville Nature Center

Girl Scout Troop 476
Jacqueline Browning
Jacqueline McMillian-Bohler

Katrina Bailey
Kentucky One Health—Our Lady of Peace
Linda Young

Louisville KY Bikers Guild
Matthew Simons Simons Electric
Marji Pilato
Michelle Dollar

Miguel Walker-The Best Bite
We Survive
Youth Checker/Chess Challengers
Zeta Amica of Louisville Ky

In case we have missed anyone, please know we appreciate your help. To read more about the event and to see pictures go here.

learning-station joe-with-child chess-time quilling making-light-holders

 

rsz_img_7345VLUU L110 / Samsung L110 20161105_172056

Journey Begins with a Journal

Journey Begins with a Journal

Journey Begins with a Journal

Written by Sharon Cecil

A Reflection of Let Hope Win

bookWe Survive, nestled on gentle rolling woodland, is a perfect setting to take a “Journey Through a Forest of Feelings.”   Although, you can journal any place.

A pen and paper will be important tools as you begin your journey through your feelings.  You don’t need a fancy journal.  It can be a notebook or composition book.  Like a painter’s paintbrush to a canvas, your pen will reflect your feelings on a canvas made of paper to learn more about the amazingly complex and fascinating person you see in the mirror.

How many of us were given diaries as children?  A diary is a form of journaling. Writing is a way to process thoughts as you pour out you feelings. Paper is sometimes the only thing that that will be at your disposal 24/7 and you get undivided attention.

Keep in mind that some people may prefer the use of their computer.  You can call me old school, but I feel that you can be more reflective with paper and pen.

It has been said that the hardest thing any person will ever have to do is be honest with him or her self.

As you write in a journal, your own inner truth will emerge.  Writing both hurtful and happy thoughts. Those free thoughts may feel uncomfortable at first.  Once you finally reach that inner truth, denial isn’t an option. This is when healing begins.  Letting go of the pain and moving towards a mental and physical release.

Writing helps with organizing your thoughts and your life. It should be a safe place to express your feelings. Remember, there aren’t any rights or wrongs in keeping a journal.

Some people may say that there isn’t enough time in a day.  But the truth is, time is all you do have.  How you spend it is up to you.

As I said in Let Hope Win, “Where and how we spend our time is the story of our life.”  Once you discover the real you.  Once you decide you need to make a few changes to improve on the already amazing story, “Only you can change the script of the story by ending the old script and creating a hopeful script for your future…Don’t miss out on your story.  Only you can change the script of the story by ending the old script and creating a hopeful script for your future.”

Tap into your strengths and explore…