LIGHTFEST & Those to Inspire Others to Aspire

LIGHTFEST & Those to Inspire Others to Aspire

It is the first week of the New Year and LIGHTFEST will be igniting the Flame of Hope from a SPARK in your heart as LIGHTFEST will continue its 25th Anniversary Celebration activities as we Light the World with Hope.

How it all got started
In 1996, Sharon Cecil met Girl Scout Troop 1472. They were working on a project –Growing Up Female. The troop became involved with the pilot program for WOW (WOW – Women Offering Wisdom) that started at Wayside Christian Mission. The girls wanted to use their clowning ministry to help educate about the concepts of the WOW program. These girls were instrumental in creating many of WE SURVIVE’s events including the LIGHTFEST born from the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay held at Churchill Downs in 1997.
LIGHTFEST is a time to come together and bring awareness to the issues accompanied by a sense of hopelessness; some being feelings of entrapment in unresolvable outcomes (ie: hunger and homelessness) with mental and medical challenges.

Recent Themes
We Survive continues to reach out to children and families through various activities and the annual LIGHTFEST event while Realizing The Power of the Dream.

“Deep within each heart

There lies a magic spark

That lights the fire of our imagination…
Feel the flame forever burn

Teaching lessons we must learn

To bring us closer to the power of the dream”

Lyrics from “The Power of the Dream”

LIGHTFEST 2022 – “Hope a Gift of Empowerment” was nontraditional with the creation of a Commemorative Tapestry designed by Sunshine Joe Mallard.  

LIGHTFEST 2023  – “Light the World with Hope” is showcasing youth and what they have done for 25 years through combined efforts with schools and other organizations assisting We Survive and LIGHTFEST to be viable entities as an intricate part of communities worldwide.  
Through a series of stories over the next 7 months, we will be introducing multiple aspects of  volunteers and their contribution to our communities (locally and globally).  We will also be acknowledging those who have mentored and advised these youth through the years.  

People who Inspire others to Aspire Today, I am introducing you to Sunshine Joe Mallard and Stacy Burks. You will be hearing more about these extraordinary people in the next 7 months.  

Sunshine Joe at LIGHTFEST 2019

Sunshine Joe Mallard “Sunshine Joe’s work sparks dialogue and chronicles the hopes and challenges facing our greater community.” ~~ The Carnegie Center for Art and History  

Sunshine Joe’s involvement with We Survive began almost 20 years ago when we had an educational display at the Kentucky Center for the Arts for Hunger and Homelessness.    In  2016-, Sunshine Joe and We Survive worked to coordinate an activity with the youth at Global Games Changes creating a tapestry “Voices.” The children learned about the art of  needle/tapestry art.  They wrote on the tapestry before its being embroidered and quilted in preparation for hanging.  
In 2023, we will be presenting a Commemorative Tapestry to YPAS-duPontManual.

Stacy Burks at LIGHTFEST 2019

Stacy Burks Stacy Burks was a nursing student when I first met her.  I took nursing students to Wayside Christian Mission for clinicals and she was one of my students who truly was moved by her experience.  
Stacy is now a nursing instructor.  She takes her students to Wayside Christian Mission on a regular basis and brings students each year to LIGHTFEST events.

On Friday, December 30, I got an invitation to a new non-profit started by Stacy who has partnered with Cristal Pollak. Stacy says, “We have been a solid team for many years now and without each other’s support Our502family would not exist. This is a dream for us both.”
How amazing is it that one of my past students who has been extremely involved in LIGHTFEST has launched a non-profit from her experience at Wayside years ago!  
Their mission “to share the love, joy and hope that so many have lost through homelessness. As long as we are able we will move… #hopelives”

2023 LIGHTFEST – Light the World with Hope Since the inception of LIGHTFEST in 1997 at Churchill Downs, the blending of organizations and schools throughout Kentuckiana has included a constant base from YPAS-duPont Manual.  One of our very first Youth Advisors was JC Reedy (Assistant to the principal at YPAS and Artistic Producer). 
Individuals and groups will continue to create activities leading up to the date of the Commemorative Tapestry Presentation Event in 2023 – Date TBA