Hope and Healing from Sunshine

Hope and Healing from Sunshine

Hope and Healing from Sunshine

Written by Sharon Cecil

There is no doubt about it.  We are like bears, hibernating in the winter waiting for springs lavish colors from nature’s pallet breaking out into full bloom, as the days are longer while enjoying the warmth and glow of sunshine.

I remember hearing the voices and laughter as the children in the neighborhood would play outside.  With all of the electronic devices and both parents working or being part of a single parent household, the sound of the children outside is a rarity.

Advocating for youth, We Survive has been able to bring sunshine to the life to an under-served population through intergenerational connections.

I have created programming for all ages for over 40 years.  These programs encourage people to believe in themselves and dare to DREAM.

Creating youth driven programming for We Survive has offered an extreme amount of joy in my life. Youth were instrumental in the creation of LIGHTFEST, originating in 1997 as a Festival held at Churchill Downs from 1997 to 2001.  As Bill Wolfe wrote in the Courier-Journal on March 24, 1997, “Festival radiates light, hope, dreams and Olympic spirit.”

Sunshine8493I was first introduced to “Sunshine” Joseph Mallard’s artwork in 2005. In November 2006, “Sunshine” Joe was part of We Survive’s month long activities for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness. It all started on November 3, with a tapestry/needle art exhibit.

In collaboration with Wayside Christian Mission, “Sunshine “Joe” Mallard’s tapestries were featured at Expressions Gallery (Wayside Christian Mission’s Art Gallery).  There were handcrafted items made by Jeffersontown Christian Church—Grateful Threads. Also, items created by clients served by Wayside Christian Mission were also displayed.

While on my personal and professional journey, I combined my art and nursing degrees to provide Creative Expression  programming which has been an important part of my life’s journey.

In 2016, “Sunshine” Joe’s name crossed my path once again. Who could forget his creative ability with his tapestries and his embroidery!

Without light, darkness prevails—SUNSHINE is a natural healer and offers HOPE. With a name like Sunshine Joe, this was a perfect re-connect.

Sunshine8496I wondered how Joe Mallard got the name Sunshine Joe.  He told me,  “Many years ago while working with a group of fifth graders in Louisville KY, a student asked if she could give me a nickname. I said yes.  She said ‘Sunshine Joe.’  I asked why. ‘She said, ‘the sunshine brings light and you do too.’”

Since retiring in 2013 from Corporate America, Sunshine Joe said, “I turned my energies exclusively to my community work and my own art.”  Sunshine Joe’s exquisite artwork has gained national recognition. He says, “The tapestry-quilts, sometimes taking years to complete, pulsate with color, energy, and joy.”

With a shared interest in our youth, Sunshine Joe will be working with LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited  “to heighten awareness of those who live in poverty, susceptible to poverty, hunger and homelessness and help to Improve Impoverished Lives.”

We Survive would like to invite everyone to be part of LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited “to show your support for the future of America with a Light of HOPE.” By joining this worldwide movement, you will be showing the passion that you have for your community and the world.

On November 5, you can send a message of HOPE for LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited 2016, by having a Light-Up Celebration at 6pm Eastern Time, with your family and friends while putting compassion into action. Display some form of LIGHT representing HOPE. It can be a porch light, candle, flashlight or cell phone.

For more information about Sunshine Joe Mallard’s work, you can contact him at: Email [email protected]

Telephone: 502-491-2517 or 502-533-2261