Our struggle Built the Story

Our struggle Built the Story

Our struggle built the story

Sharon and Moody Cecil 

by Sharon Cecil

We met, became best friends, and eventually married.  Our life’s struggles became our story, filled with passion and compassion to help.  We created so many programs that helped others as well as helping us heal.  Our love grew through our struggles.   Our careers gave us the ability to promote Heath and Wellness.  We Survive will celebrate 25 years at LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited on Nov. 2 sharing a Light of HOPE. 

You + Me = We Survive –25th Anniversary.

imageEveryone has dreams. Some dreams are forgotten. Others are never forgotten but never see a follow through.

Moody Cecil had a dream that led to the creation of We Survive in 1994. Blending our talents, Moody focused on nature and Sharon Cecil created Women Offering Wisdom in 1996.

January 2019– Life brought us to it “Nurturance in nature brought us through it”

Moody Cecil has provided a guiding light since he passed away in December, 2016, while I have taken several years to reflect, restore and renew.  Knowing I wanted to keep the legacy alive, I wasn’t sure what that would look like although LIGHTFEST continued to be the mainstay for We Survive through the transition. 

croppedIn July, 2019, Olivia Bohler sent me an email stating, “You may remember my mom, we used to help out with the Day of Hope on the farm and LIGHTFEST at the church in downtown Louisville… I am looking for an organization to partner with for my National Honor Society (NHS) Project as well as my Girl Scout Gold Award.”  In that moment, as I read her email, I could feel the passion for working with youth filling the empty void that once was the “fire in my belly.”

Olivia and I worked together on her learning how to arm knit for her NHS project. She acquired the necessary amount of hours to meet her NHS requirement.  As we moved forward towards her Girl Scout Award, Olivia wanted to put together Hope Bags for the homeless that include various necessary supplies such as toiletries (soap, tooth brush, tooth paste, deodorant) and items to keep them warm (gloves  hats and socks).  Also, Olivia decided to include arm knitted scarves, which are warm, useful and not to large for her first Hope Bags. Making arm knitted scarves was something that she could make and also teach the recipients to make one which they could either keep for themselves or give to someone else.   

By We Survive partnering with Olivia with her NHS project and Girl Scout Gold Award, it was a reminder of what a young woman wrote years ago. “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 educational 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 

We Survive is looking forward to Olivia’s plan to sustain her project by offering others the opportunity to help her.   They will be creative while meeting new people. Classes will encourage women to make arm knitted scarves or other artistic items so that they can “Learn to Earn.”  

Happy 25th Anniversary We Survive.  Celebrating LIGHTFEST 2019

Red & Yellow Border Invitation
 
 
Closing a Door to the Future

Closing a Door to the Future

My name is Sharon Cecil, a resident of Fern Creek for almost 50 years. I am writing regarding the proposed closing of the Fern Creek Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library (LFPL).

It is my belief, that for many reasons, it makes no sense to close the Fern Creek branch of the LFPL. Statistically, you will be closing the largest youth service provider in the Fern Creek community.  

As an educator, I believe Education is the Key to Understanding.  We need to give the  best opportunities to our  youth if we want to ensure a strong America for their future.  

In order to build a relationship with our youth, it is important to build  trust and cultivate an environment where the youth can tell us what they think.  Youth are the assets for the future of this great nation.  

From what I have heard from the youth in the Fern Creek Community, the youth (and their parents) do not want the Fern Creek Library to close.

Being very involved with multiple organizations over the years, my efforts have been to strive to improve the lives of the people in our community. My personal goal has been to provide hope to those who are marginalized in our society. It is important to give a voice to those who are dealing with adversity.

The Fern Creek community is comprised of diverse populations. For example, there are families in Fern Creek that are highly educated and can’t find jobs because they come from other countries where their credentials are not recognized in this country. The library offers help with writing a resume and resources on how to search for jobs along with support from library staff.

Pre-school and school aged children in the Fern Creek community rely on the library for programming that includes story hour, craft projects and activities from pre-school to teens. The local schools attend the library for field trips. Approximately 40 community organizations utilize the meeting rooms. The library is a Safe Place for children to learn and grow.

Fern Creek Library has a history that dates back to 1937. I have been witness to the changes over the past 5 decades that the library has undergone. In November 1993, when the Fern Creek Library rejoined the LFPL system after being a voluntary initiative housed in the Fern Creek Community Center, those who worked to keep the library open during the interim never thought that the library would ever be closed again.

In 1997, Louisville sent a 10-person delegation to the President’s Summit for America’s Future. The Mayor asked that youth provider organizations make a “commitment for kids” as part of the America’s Promise. As one of those organization members, I made the commitment to the five fundamental resources. They can be seen at the America’s Promise website https://www.americaspromise.org/.  

America's Promise Alliance

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited 2018

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited 2018

Written by Sharon Cecil

November 3, 2018

November 3, was a Brilliantly Bright Autumn Day, where education and awareness was provided regarding issues faced by those vulnerable to poverty, hunger and homelessness while offering various activities for all that attended.   

tapestry lightfest 20182VOICES were heard through artistic initiatives—displayed, demonstrated and created.  

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited Ambassador “Sunshine” Joe Mallard’s commemorative tapestry from LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited 2017 was presented to a representative of St. Augustine Catholic Church in appreciation of their continued support of LIGHTFEST. 

Sunshine Joe Mallard is a motivational lecturer and visual art presenter and educator.  During a presentation some years ago, a young girl called Mr. Mallard “Sunshine Joe.”  She said to him, “The sunshine brings light and you do too.”

There was a diverse group of participants where education and awareness regarding issues faced by those vulnerable to poverty, hunger and homelessness was provided. 

All participants, including those within the homeless community, were invited to light up at 7pm led by Brad DeZern as participants sang This Little Light of Mine and This Land is Your Land.

Click here to see more pictures and a video from the day.

Sponsor—Passport Health PlansIMG_20181103_173207199

Host—St. Augustine Catholic Church

 

 

 

Volunteers

Diane Corsey

Jacqueline Browning

Kentucky One Health—Our Lady of Peace

Jacqueline Browning

Last Days Motorcycle Ministry

Brad DeZern

Linda Young

Jason Reynolds

Sunshine Joe Mallard Tapestry Creation

Carol Balogh

Enrichment Activities, LLC

Cathy Upshire

Carol Wieger

Joy Hooten

Bernell Porter

Complex Collaboration Step Dancers

Michelle Wolf

Matt Wolf

Sharon Moody

Surekha Kulkarni

Beaded Treasures Project

Marlene Will

Fern Creek Funeral Home

Kyle Mitchell

“Learn and Earn” Entrepreneurial Initiative Members 

 

In case we have missed anyone, please know we appreciate your help.  

Invisible Yet Invaluable part8

Invisible Yet Invaluable part8

Invisible Yet Invaluable

You know who they are.  People who are passionate and committed to helping while encouraging others.  The invisible are invaluable.  They use their talents to let someone else shine. The invisible do not encourage others for accolades.  They do it out of the passion that is in their hearts.    

On November 3, you will be able to meet amazing encouragers and see some of the work that has been done by those that they encourage at the 2018 LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited.   

Location                        St Augustine Catholic Church

                                          1310 W Broadway, Louisville, KY 40203

Time                               5:30-7:30pm (the Walk of Hope is at 7pm)

Vernell Porter Jr. Founder of Complex Collaboration Step Team Est. 2011

Vernell Porter Jr. Founder of Complex Collaboration Step Team Est. 2011

Let us introduce you to the Complex Collaboration Step Team.

I want to continue to inspire, motivate, and instill passion into others! Back in 2011, I created something that was a desire, a dream, a vision; Complex Collaboration Step Team. CCST is a youth organization made up of elementary, middle, and high school students in Louisville, KY that enhances confidence, builds character, promotes progression, & saves lives through the art of STEP & DANCE!

Complex Collaboration Step Team has been blessed to have rehearsal space partnerships with different venues and we are so thankful for all of them. Now it’s time we know what it feels like to have a key to our own space and somewhere to call HOME! I want to provide these kids with a facility where they can continue to develop and explore their creative voices through the sound of step and the movement of dance.

Louisville, Kentucky is a city of hidden talent! My dream doesn’t stop here. I plan to expand and develop more opportunities for the youth in my community using this facility! The Complex Dance Centré  will instill positive attributes in the generation today! Most importantly giving an outlet for the youth to release energy, express emotions, and escape from hardships. I am dedicated to my art! This is why this space is sure to make a difference in what I will be able to contribute back to my community.

Here is where I need YOU:dance
The Complex Dance Centré will be HOME of Complex Collaboration Step Team but will also be HOME to any supporter who is willing to donate. With a new business, comes a lot of start up expenses. All money donated will go towards start up cost (mirrors, studio equipment, signage, etc.). Any monetary contribution will be greatly appreciated and the Complex Collaboration Step Team family will love you long time!

THANK YOU!   

-Complex Collaboration Step Team

Invisible Yet Invaluable part7

Invisible Yet Invaluable part7

Invisible Yet Invaluable

You know who they are.  People who are passionate and committed to helping while encouraging others.  The invisible are invaluable.  They use their talents to let someone else shine. The invisible do not encourage others for accolades.  They do it out of the passion that is in their hearts.    

On November 3, you will be able to meet amazing encouragers and see some of the work that has been done by those that they encourage at the 2018 LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited.   

Location                        St Augustine Catholic Church

                                          1310 W Broadway, Louisville, KY 40203

Time                               5:30-7:30pm (the Walk of Hope is at 7pm)

Let us introduce you to Cathy Upshire, Wholeness Strategist, Author, Speaker and Spiritual Wellness Coach.

HeadshotHi, I’m Cathy Upshire. I help women who have lost their sense of identity and power to not only reclaim it so that they can live their lives with dignity and resolve, but I also help them break free from the clenching jaws of their past.  I am not a doctor or a therapist.  I liken myself to a beautiful butterfly.  The colors and intricate patterns embedded in my wings represent all of the collective experiences and lessons I’ve learned along the way.  I spread my wings proudly (void of shame); I spread them wide; because they legitimize me, they authenticate me, they are God’s signature and seal that I am a transformed being; ready and suitable for the task at hand; ready to take those who are wounded, broken and marred on their own personal journeys to inner healing, wholeness, self-acceptance and self-love.

Invisible Yet Invaluable part6

Invisible Yet Invaluable part6

Invisible Yet Invaluable

You know who they are.  People who are passionate and committed to helping while encouraging others.  The invisible are invaluable.  They use their talents to let someone else shine. The invisible do not encourage others for accolades.  They do it out of the passion that is in their hearts.    

On November 3, you will be able to meet amazing encouragers and see some of the work that has been done by those that they encourage at the 2018 LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited.   

Location                        St Augustine Catholic Church

                                          1310 W Broadway, Louisville, KY 40203

Time                               5:30-7:30pm (the Walk of Hope is at 7pm)

Let us introduce you to Surekha Kulkarni, Founder & Executive Director, Beaded Treasures Projectsurekha

Surekha learned the art of jewelry making while on a trip in India and fell in love, which led to teaching a class for students at Jefferson Community College. While volunteering with Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Surekha encountered several women trying to market their handmade jewelry, and she had an idea. She organized a home party for them to sell their work, and within one hour they had sold over $1,000 worth of jewelry!

Beaded Treasures Project began with this small group of dedicated women. Surekha continued teaching more advanced techniques as well as business skills. It wasn’t long before word spread  and more women joined the project. Since 2011, Surekha has taught jewelry making to hundreds of resettled refugee women in Louisville, KY through Beaded Treasures’ “Skills Training Workshops.” 

Invisible Yet  Invaluable part5

Invisible Yet Invaluable part5

Invisible Yet Invaluable

You know who they are.  People who are passionate and committed to helping while encouraging others.  The invisible are invaluable.  They use their talents to let someone else shine. The invisible do not encourage others for accolades.  They do it out of the passion that is in their hearts.    

On November 3, you will be able to meet amazing encouragers and see some of the work that has been done by those that they encourage at the 2018 LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited.   

 Location                        St Augustine Catholic Church

                                         1310 W Broadway, Louisville, KY 40203

 Time                              5:30-7:30pm (the Walk of Hope is at 7pm)

 

Let us introduce you to We Survive Volunteer, Dr. Fred Schloemer.

FredI was a troubled child in many ways. I talked non-stop, disobeyed rules, and even set fires for a time. Teachers always told my parents that I was smart and gifted in art, music, and writing. However, they also said that I “didn’t apply myself,” and “didn’t respect authority.” Naturally, hearing myself described that way took a huge toll on my self-esteem.

Later, as a teenager, I would come to understand how my parents’ drinking problems had impacted my behavior when I was younger. I realized then that my childhood acting out had been a cry for help in dealing with a dysfunctional family and home life. At the same time, I also came to understand how I had been literally saved from worsening problems by the support and encouragement of several teachers, extended family members, and adult friends.

These people took a special interest in me and convinced me that I was special. “Yes,” they said, “you are different from other kids, but in a good way.” Realizing how they had uplifted me and my whole life course, I decided I wanted to grow up to one of those adult helpers to other troubled children.

Hoping to be a teacher, I took education courses in college, but the job market for teachers was poor at the time. So, I shifted to studying psychology and sociology and became a clinical social worker. First I worked solely with children, but eventually branched out to adults and seniors, as well. I also achieved my original goal of teaching, at an undergraduate and graduate level.

Now retired due to being diagnosed with cancer four years ago, I can look back on a very satisfying career. For over forty years, I taught, counseled, and did case work for thousands of marginalized people. Volunteering with We Survive and getting to know Sharon, Stephanie, and lots of other talented, committed helpers, has been a welcome extension of my professional career.

I’m glad to be here, and look forward to continuing to be involved with We Survive for years to come.

Invisible Yet Invaluable part4

Invisible Yet Invaluable part4

Invisible Yet Invaluable

You know who they are.  People who are passionate and committed to helping while encouraging others.  The invisible are invaluable.  They use their talents to let someone else shine. The invisible do not encourage others for accolades.  They do it out of the passion that is in their hearts.    

On November 3, you will be able to meet amazing encouragers and see some of the work that has been done by those that they encourage at the 2018 LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited.   

Location                        St Augustine Catholic Church

                                         1310 W Broadway, Louisville, KY 40203

 Time                              5:30-7:30pm (the Walk of Hope is at 7pm)

image (1)Let us introduce you to 2018 LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited Ambassador Sunshine Joe Mallard, World Renowned Tapestry Artisan who adds a spark of light in his work as he records hopes and challenges facing our communities in the tapestries that he creates. 

Sunshine Joe shares his creative artistry gift with children in our local community.  “I try to teach the children that anybody can start a project, but it takes a special person to finish it, and that it’s the little things you do on a daily basis that allow you to accomplish great things over a period of time.” I am making an impact in some children’s lives.” 

Sunshine Joe has definitely made an impact in the children’s lives he has reached with LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited over the 4 past events.image (2)

Invisible Yet Invaluable part3

Invisible Yet Invaluable part3

Invisible Yet Invaluable

You know who they are.  People who are passionate and committed to helping while encouraging others.  The invisible are invaluable.  They use their talents to let someone else shine. The invisible do not encourage others for accolades.  They do it out of the passion that is in their hearts.    

On November 3, you will be able to meet amazing encouragers and see some of the work that has been done by those that they encourage at the 2018 LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited.   

Location                        St Augustine Catholic Church

                                        1310 W Broadway, Louisville, KY 40203

 Time                              5:30-7:30pm (the Walk of Hope is at 7pm)

rev carolLet us introduce you to Rev Carol Wieger, Pastor of New Life in Christ Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) located inside Dismas Charities – Diersen and supported by Mission Behind Bars and Beyond Inc.

“I believe that God has blessed each of us with a gift.  That gift may not be readily apparent to us without the encouragement and discernment of another individual.  That gift may not be something that’s exactly tangible, either.  But, regardless, we each have a beautiful gift to share with one another.

When we realize that we have something valuable to share, we realize that we are valuable.  Unfortunately, not everyone has felt this before in their lives. 

My hope is to serve women in a capacity that leaves them feeling empowered, valued, capable, and respected.  When all these goals are achieved, the gifts that are found within each one of us can be shared with others… and that’s when the beauty truly begins.”

Invisible Yet Invaluable part2

Invisible Yet Invaluable part2

Invisible Yet Invaluable

You know who they are.  People who are passionate and committed to helping while encouraging others.  The invisible are invaluable.  They use their talents to let someone else shine. The invisible do not encourage others for accolades.  They do it out of the passion that is in their hearts.    

On November 3, you will be able to meet amazing encouragers and see some of the work that has been done by those that they encourage at the 2018 LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited.   

Location                        St Augustine Catholic Church

                                        1310 W Broadway, Louisville, KY 40203

 Time                              5:30-7:30pm (the Walk of Hope is at 7pm)

 blue browningLet us introduce you to Jacqueline “Blue” Browning, a psychiatric nurse who works with patients across the life span and volunteers to offer hope through health and wellness education.

Since a very young age, I knew I was placed on this planet with a mission, that mission being help others heal. Little did I know of the pain and struggles I would have to face and conquer in order to understand the concept of survival and thriving.  Everything I do, I do with the vision of being my best version, so I may impact others who may need a glimmer of hope, a kind word, reassurance. Many people whether it be family, friends or strangers have given me just that along the way. I am eternally grateful to them and work to give back every day. 

My goal is to bring holistic care to my patients and with those whom I volunteer. We all share this planet; this living breathing planet and we are all connected. My hope is to have people re-connect with themselves so that they may connect with others. Connection is what makes us strong. Together we are an unstoppable force.