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

Jenniffer Truitt, MSOT

Jenniffer Truitt, MSOT

Jenniffer Truitt, MSOT

Jenniffer Truitt attended the first WOW program in 1996, at age 11. Jenniffer has been very active with WOW. As the Community Outreach Coordinator she has made presentations throughout the community. Jenniffer has also created and produced educational materials. She is a member of We Survive’s Board of Directors.

Jenniffer completed her Masters Degree of Science in Occupation Therapy. Jenniffer connects easily with children and has spent years working with children and adult programming, structuring activities to be fun and engaging allowing for Creative Expression.

As a Certified Personal Trainer, Jenniffer combines her expertise to motivate, set goals and provide feedback and accountability to participants while providing fitness assessments.

Jenniffers’s Interest in WOW from its Beginning

“My interest in this program was peaked easily and I am now enthusiastically looking forward to its advancement. Let me explain why I think this is a vital program in the tweens, teen and twenties arena.

My childhood was somewhat unsettled due to frequent moves; as a result we ended up in Wayside Christian Mission. I was probably about six when first introduced to the Mission. We, my siblings and I, were later taken in by other families, but my Mother continued to frequent Wayside. On one of my return visits when I was about 10 or 11, I remember being entertained by young clowns. This has become one of my most secure and happy memories of the Mission. I believe this group of clowns was the first group of WOW Girlz when WOW was first presented to Wayside. The clown’s mission: make the young girls feel more secure, adapt to Wayside, and provide healthful information – mission accomplished.

After attending nursing school I realized again how important it is to me that young girls know there are people that truly care about them and their concerns. The clowns were a small thing that made a huge impact on the way I felt and reacted that day. That is why I have become part of the WOW team.”

JennifferPhotoTrain

Marlene Will, Ed.D.

Marlene Will, Ed.D.

Marlene Will, Ed.D.

Wellness the Write Way Coordinator

Dr. Marlene Will is an educator and author who has taught at Spalding University since 1978 in the Department of Mathematics and Science.

Besides presenting workshops on problem solving skills and using humor in the workplace, Marlene has published numerous professional articles.

Marlene (on left) with Sharon Cecil

Marlene (on left) with Sharon Cecil

Marlene was part of the organizing of We Survive from the very beginning.  There was a lot of research that needed to be done and plans to be made.  In order to get We Survive recognized within the community, Marlene fulfilled speaking engagements at community businesses and organizations, appeared on TV and did radio interviews.

When WOW was created in 1996, Marlene began working on coordinating intergenerational programs and projects.  Many of these projects included writing and working with media.

In 2002, Marlene became the Wellness the Write Way Coordinator.  This program introduced journaling as a wellness and productivity tool.  Participants were encouraged to do purposeful personal writing to help improve their mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well being through reflection.  This was a cost-effective tool that can be added to a person healthful toolbox.

In 2003, Marlene created WOW Daughterz.  Having had breast cancer and the mother of two daughters, Marlene wanted there to be a forum for young women to share their thoughts and feelings.  The objective was that no young women ever feel alone after their mother, grandmother, aunt or friend is diagnosed with breast cancer.  These meetings were held monthly at the WOW Resource Center housed within the Jefferson Community College Women’s Center for Growth and Leadership.

Together, Marlene and Sharon Cecil have published numerous workbooks that help people to get in touch with thoughts and feelings while tapping into their inner most energy releasing their own creative expression. Marlene combines her expertise to motivate, set goals and provide feedback and accountability to participants while providing creative ways to express grief.

Marlene has conducted research on learning styles, and has published numerous professional articles.  She has been a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist since 2002.

Sharon Cecil

Sharon Cecil

Sharon Cecil

Co-founder We Survive
Current Executive Director

Sharon Cecil is a registered nurse with a degree in art. Since 1994, she’s put her combined education to work co-founding and creating intergenerational wellness presentations and events as the Executive Director of We Survive, Inc., a non-profit organization.

With over 40 years in healthcare, Sharon is dedicated to creating motivational and inspirational programming focusing on health and wellness.

As a breast cancer survivor and registered nurse (with a specialty in Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing), Sharon knows we all face adversity. In 1996, Sharon started the WOW Program, dedicated to providing educational programming through intergenerational mentoring and creative expression.

Rising from the ashes of a “dysfunctional family,” Sharon focuses on providing information that heightens awareness, educates, and advocates. Her motivational and inspirational talks, seminars and workshops encourage people to laugh and “lighten up.” They share a common theme: maintain a positive attitude when faced with adversity.

As a 1996 Olympic Torchbearer, Sharon carries the “Power of the Dream…deep within her heart” each and every day.SharonWithTorch

Since carrying the Olympic Torch, in 1996, Sharon has had a passionate goal of helping youth realize “The Power of the Dream,”.—the theme song from the 1996 Olympics.

Through life experiences, Sharon and Marlene Will realized the importance of nutrition, physical health, and a positive mental outlook—the Mind, Body, Spirit connection.  These are areas addressed by the WOW and Creative Expression programs. Both programs advocate the position that the more a person knows about him or her self, the better prepared he/she will be to face any problems that may develop in his/her life.  Combining art and writing, Sharon believes that expressing yourself creatively offers good health and healing.

Beside being an educator, writer and consultant, Sharon has been a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist since 2002.

Moody Cecil

Moody Cecil

Moody Cecil
Visionary
Co-Founder, We Survive

Moody Cecil has been dedicated to working with youth and the vision of creating “a legacy for future generations.”

HPIM1257Sharon and Moody Cecil co-founded We Survive in 1994. Moody dedicated his homestead to be a Stewardship Forest. The homestead is now known as Haven of Hope (We Survive’s corporate headquarters) and is a Certified Stewardship Forest—a designation given by the Kentucky Division of Forestry.

Moody has been a fierce champion for both the young and old. He has an extraordinary love of nature.

One example of his gift of giving began in the fall of 1999, Moody completed a Master Gardening Course through the Jefferson County Extension Office in order to learn more about plants and garden design. Moody needed volunteer hours as part of the Mast Gardening curriculum. Someone mentioned the National Arbor Day Poster Contest. It seemed only natural for him to explore the Arbor Day information. He became the first Kentucky State Coordinator and began planning the 2000 Arbor Day National Poster Contest in September, 1999. He was the State Coordinator for five years. After he resigned, they did not find a new coordinator for quite some time. It is felt that Moody’s shoes must have been hard to fill.

HPIM0948As time passes, Moody’s memory is fading. He is losing many of the memories that he held so dear. But his desire to be around people of all ages and his love of nature still shines bright as he continues to make new memories for those of us who love his company.

What is most admired about Moody is that he continues to be a champion for causes in which he believes. This allows those of us around him to Celebrate Life.

In Pursuit of Hopes and Dreams through Creative Expression

In Pursuit of Hopes and Dreams through Creative Expression

This is a journey of 3 Wise Women and 1 Wise Guy (the Visionary) and an Envisioner

Everyone has dreams. Some dreams are forgotten, others are never forgotten but never are followed through.

You are about to go on a journey that involves:

Friendships
Families
Love
Heartaches
Happiness
HOPE

A Celebration of Life

AttitudeDuring this journey, you will get to know Sharon Cecil, Marlene Will, Jenniffer Truitt, Moody Cecil and Melissa Black. A group of people brought together through extraordinary circumstances, overcoming multiple adversities while believing in the power of a dream.

By stepping out of a comfort zone, a craft class began in 1974, where Sharon Cecil met Marlene Will. Two young mothers were seeking an opportunity to be creative while meeting new people. The class became a social network. Participants further developed their creative abilities—the sharing of ideas and making all sort of artistic craft items.

There were a few that were able to sell items through consignment. Others enjoyed the single items made during class, taking that knowledge home and creating gifts for family and friends.

The class began to include short walking trips, visiting shops along a corridor in the heart of the Highland community in Louisville. These short trips soon included lunch along with innovative conversation. The talents of each participant shared.

It was amazing the creative energy generated from a class that continued until 1988.

In 1994, Sharon and Moody Cecil co-founded We Survive. Sharon, Moody and Marlene began coordinating programming.

Jenniffer Truitt was introduced to programming created by Sharon, Marlene and Girl Scout Troop 1472 in 1996. Jenniffer was an 11-year old homeless child who just happened to be at the shelter during the first WOW Program.

As a middle school student, Melissa Black entered the picture in 2004. Melissa’s writing abilities awarded her the opportunity to be published in a magazine that was started by We Survive’s WOW team in 2000.

Creative Expression

Creative Expression

Expressing yourself creatively offers good health and healing

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.

Our team created a Creative Expression program that has been done in many settings over the years. Creative expression offers participants creative, innovative learning providing the opportunity to express feelings and learn new techniques to stimulate intellectual responses through art, writing and movement.  This affords the opportunity to enrich lives through learned techniques.

James Pennebaker, Ph D., is a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.

He has earned honors and received grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Pennebaker has been a wonderful resource for our writing programming.

writingHealWe have referred his book “Writing to Heal: A guided journal for recovering from trauma & emotional upheaval” during programs and workshops.  This book offers an introduction to writing, health and healing along with some exercises that are applicable to a general audience.

In a Psychology Today article http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/write-yourself-well/201208/expressive-writing  Expressive Writing Published on August 15, 2012 by John F. Evans, Ed.D, it is stated that Expressive Writing is the cornerstone of wellness and writing connections. Under the “ Become Your Own Researcher” section, you can view “The Pennebaker Writing Prompt.”

Marlene Will and Sharon Cecil are available to consult with you regarding the Creative Expression programming.

We Survive’s Creative Expression uses artistic methods, especially writing.  This can lead to lower healthcare costs and increase productivity.  It helps you find yourself as an individual and connects you to the bigger picture.  Writing provides insights, brings things together, shows relationships and wholeness instead of separations.

Contact  Marlene or Sharon and schedule a consultation to see how We Survive’s Creative Expression can help you heal.

Sharon Cecil
sharon@wesurvive.org

Marlene Will

marlene@wesurvive.org