Beyond My Walls, An Open Letter to My Readers

Buenos Días!

As you hopefully read in my blog post from Tuesday, I returned just 11 days ago from my first ever mission trip to San Salvador, El Salvador. To say that my life was forever changed is truly and understatement. I prayed for months about whether or not God wanted me there and once I realized He did, I was eager to discover His plan and purpose for my Central American adventure. It took a few days and even a few tears, but by Thursday of our weeklong trip, I knew why God wanted me there.

I was blessed to be able to visit a local private school in San Salvador, Colegio Ceren, to talk with a group of high schoolers (most of them were around the 15-18 age range). I figured that this wasn’t God’s purpose for me, since it’s what I do for a job and I was sure there was something bigger for me in San Salvador. Once again, I was wrong. I spent two and a half days at the school talking with the teenagers about my faith and theirs, comparing high school experiences and laughing. One of the boys I met, Josué, pulled at my heartstrings from Day 1. It was something beyond the fact that he was at least 5’10″ (unusually tall for a Latino!), had skin as pale as mine, bright blue eyes and naturally red hair. It took me a few days and numerous people to piece together his backstory, but in a nutshell, his dad left when he was little, his mom passed away from breast cancer, his brother is in jail, and Josué is living alone in a tiny apartment with just enough money from a family friend in the states to cover tuition and a little food.

Friday afternoon at Ceren with Josué!

Friday afternoon at Ceren with Josué!

After 3 days with Josué and his peers, I knew why God had sent me to San Salvador. After discussing the idea with Pastor Victor (the head pastor at the San Salvador church we partner with, Iglesia Gran Comision), we decided that I would become Josué’s sponsor. My financial support will go through the Great Commission Latin America (GCLA), the same organization Rock City Church uses to sponsor the little kids. From there, my money will be specifically designated for Josué and will go to Pastor Victor and he will use it as he best sees fit for Josué’s needs at that time. In 2 years, when he graduates from high school, I can continue donating money to go towards Josué’s college fund. Then, once he is stable and on his own, he will no longer need my financial support. Through all of this, Josué and I will be able to email one another and build a friendship that spans many years and thousands of miles. I have a dream of seeing Josué graduate high school 2 years from now!

Working with the high schoolers didn’t feel “special” at first, it just felt like another day at work (I’m an 11th & 12th grade English teacher in Columbus). But maybe that is how God shows us our spiritual gifts and purpose. The things that we love to do and can do without hesitation are the things He wants us to do for His glory. Yes, he will challenge us and push us to “flex, flex, flex” (this was our motto for the week to remind us to be flexible!) out of our comfort zone, but it’s only to make us stronger in His purpose for us. 

I have only been home a little while, and I already know that my time in San Salvador is far from over. It was definitely hard for me to leave. Part of my heart was ready to be home, share my experience with my friends and family, and cuddle with Dewey, but the other part ached for the new friends I had made.

This past Sunday, an opportunity to return to San Salvador presented itself. I was sitting next to Annie, a woman I became friends with on the trip, at church on Sunday, and in the middle of the service, she leaned over and whispered that she was joining up with the August mission trip. My heart immediately longed to return, so I spent some serious time in prayer begging God for a sign of whether I was to go back in August or not. I realized that really the only thing keeping me from going was raising the money. As a teacher, I’m on summer break, so the timing is perfect.

Yesterday in the mail, I got a check for $425 as an AEP Electric refund. “HEY ASHLEY!!! HERE’S YOUR SIGN!!!” -Love, God

I am hoping and seriously praying that God will come through, not just for me, but for the Salvadorians as well, and help me to raise the extra $1325.

Our trip is August 2-10 and our role will be to serve the community through working with the children, assisting in the health clinic and possibly some construction work. We will share the love and message of Jesus Christ and build relationships with people that are eager to share their life stories and hear why we have the hope we have. I realize that it might not fit into the schedule to visit Colegio Ceren, but I trusted God once to stretch me and grow me, and I know He will do it again. Obviously, I hope and pray that we do, but if not, I am eager to see what God has in store for me this time.

I am asking for your support in two ways. First and foremost, I need some diligent, persistent prayer partners! If you remember to do nothing else on our behalf, please remember to pray! This is so imperative as I begin making VERY QUICK preparations for my trip and then as I actually arrive on site to minister to the poor and hurting of San Salvador. 

Please add us to your daily prayer list!

Secondly, I am asking for support financially in this outreach endeavor. The total cost is $1750 per person for the 9 days we will be in San Salvador. I believe that God has put this trip on my heart (again!) for a reason and I am very confident that He will put this request on the hearts of the people he would have support this mission opportunity. All that I ask of you to do is to pray about it and then follow what God wants you to do for His Kingdom. If you decide to donate, directions are below.

I realize that you may have never met me, maybe this is your first time stopping by adorable lil blog ;), or maybe you’ve never donated to something like this before. Please understand that when you donate, your money IS NOT going into my pocket! First of all, when you donate, you go through Rock City Church. You simply designate your donation for Mission Trips, and then include my name so it goes towards my fundraising. This process will not only assure you that you are not sending money to some quirky girl with pink hair (oh yeah, I dyed my hair pink last week!) to do who knows what with, but it also makes your donation tax deductible! YAY!

I hope that you will also be assured that your hard earned money is going towards a cause bigger than me, bigger than you, greater than the sum of us combined. Your money will be used to show the poor and disadvantaged people of San Salvador God’s love. You will be helping me to connect with Josué, the 16 year old boy I am supporting financially, spiritually and emotionally. And a little bit selfishly on my end, you will be supporting me in finally feeling like I am fulfilling God’s purpose for me.

Your prayer and financial partnership will help our team to influence many for Christ as we serve them in different ways while we are in their country. For those of you that are serious planners like myself, this might be a bit last minute, but remember, “FLEX, FLEX, FLEX!” I must have ALL of this financial support by July 6th. I look forward to hearing from you! Together, we can make an impact on the lives of these precious Salvadorians!

With love, Ashley

If you feel led to donate to my Salvadorian Adventure or have ANY questions whatsoever about donating, please let me know by using this form to contact me!

To read more in depth about my first of many San Salvadorian adventures and see the beautiful faces of the people God has blessed, please check out my blog post:

EndingUpHere.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/san-sal  

† † † † †

How to Give

Online Donations

  • Rock City Church can accept donations online through our website www.rockcitychurch.tv
  • In the upper right corner, click the little black box with 3 lines. Scroll to the bottom and click “Give Online.”
  • On the next page, click the large box that says “One-Time Gift.”
  • On the next page, in the first drop down menu, select “Mission Trips”

This next part is important!!

  • Currently the merchant services that Rock City Church uses does not offer an option to leave a memo with my name, designating your donation to me. Along with your online donation, please send an email to missions@rockcitychurch.tv with the subject being “Missions Donation For Ashley Arend.”

Turning support funds in to Rock City Church via an “actual” check:

  • Double check that all checks are made out to “Rock City Church.”
  • Double check that the memo section states “Rock City Missions: A. Arend”
  • Once you have verified that all the checks are completed correctly you may:
    • Drop them in the offering OR
    • Mail them to: Rock City Church / Attn: Mission Trips / PO Box 474 / Hilliard, Ohio / 43026

Example Check:

***IMPORTANT: DISCLAIMER!***

To insure the tax deductibility of your support gift, IRS regulations stipulate that support contributions may NOT specify that an individual be the beneficiary of or direct recipient of the contribution. However, you may indicate a preference below and the Church will endeavor to honor that preference. Make all checks payable to “Rock City Church.”

Thank you for considering giving to this cause. Any amount you would like to give will be greatly appreciated.

Beyond My Walls, San Salvador Mission Trip: Love Is My Purpose

{please click HERE to see ALL my photos from San Salvador!} Well, I think it is quite obvious that I was unable to complete a daily blog while in San Salvador. I got to the point where I was so … Continue reading

Life, According to my iPhone: 100 Happy Days :: Vol. 4 & 5

 

If you are not familiar with the 100 Happy Days challenge, read my post explaining it HERE!

Okay, okay, I know I’m late!!! JEEEZ! But it’s been SUUUUUPER busy up in hurr lately (more on that LATER!). BUT! I still haven’t missed a happy day!!  Yesterday was Day 52 and I’m still going strong! I will admit that there have been a few days that haven’t been anything special, so they have resulted in some sort of Dewey portrait. But I almost appreciate those days more because it forces me to really look at my day and appreciate the little things. In fact, I’m working through binge watching How I Met Your Mother (I just started season 8 of 9!!!). An episode I watched last night ficused on Barney trying to convince Ted that they should do something”LEGENDARY” every night. The first few nights are pretty awesome (they start a Mariachi band, eat everything on the menu of their favorite bar and bring a horse into the bar!), but by night 4, Ted is getting tired and  implores Barney to understand that,

“Every night can’t be legendary. If all nights are legendary, no nights are legendary.”

WOOOOAHHHHH!!!!!! Mind. Blown.

 

Okay, in the episode, that was NOT Barney’s reaction. He vehemently argued against Ted…but MY mind was blown! If something awesome happens everyday, it becomes normal and the awesome things just seem regular. Does that make sense?

So because everyday isn’t “legendary,”, I get to value the little, insignificant days more.

*****

Here are my photos from the past 20 days!

OH! And check it out! I’ve gone long enough that I’ve had ONE FULL MONTH of Happy Days!!

I'm using the Photo 365 app to organize all my Happy Days!

I’m using the Photo 365 app to organize all my Happy Days!

And here are Days 11-20!

And Days 21-30!

(click to enlarge!)

Days 31-40

 Days 41-50

Day 31: Brunch with these cats!! I LOVE Sundays with Shelly (& Vikki)!!!

Day 32: 6am workout followed by coffee, tea and breakfast with the amazing Christine! We got to share incredible stories, challenges and I even got a few writing tips! All before 9am on my first day of spring break!

Day 33: Project Barbie Dream House Facelift continues!!! Where do you suppose this “Fabulous Grape” is going???

Day 34: I had a blast today hanging out with my sister and my favorite nephew (don’t tell him he’s my only nephew!)! Rarely do I get such quality time with the bugger!

Day 35: I knocked an item off my Spring Break To-Do list by exploring downtown and taking a little photo adventure!

Day 36: Good Friday: “IT IS FINISHED!” “It wasn’t a cry of defeat. It was a shout of victory. The great work of rescuing us was finished! There is now nothing you can do to make God love you more — nothing you can do to make him love you less. It is finished!”

Day 37: Got to spend the day being a model with this gorgeous girl for Drauma!

Day 38: Hosana! Hosana! Hosana in the highest! “Many will be counted righteous for He will bear their sin!” Isaiah 53:11 This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.

Day 39: “HOW DID I GET UNDER THIS DRESS?!” “WHEN DID I HAVE A DRAG BABY?!” Monday’s a Drag kicked off our Alternative Fashion Week (AFW) 2014!

Day 40: I Screen, You Screen Screen Printing Workshop! Another successful screen printing night! Check out my Mobster Red tank I printed with Kelli! 

Day 41: Stew’s first ever yoga class! I may have left out that Alexander is evil…but he survived anyways!! {Don’t get excited…we dated for a smidgeon, but he’s no longer in the picture! Pun??}

Day 42: So I joined a girl band after our Reconstruction Night for AFW 2014.

Day 43: Secret’s out. It’s Wig Night!!! I love having a friend that I can be silly and awesome and beautiful with!

Day 44: Wow wow wow. What a night!!! Amazing! Nerve-racking! So many words. Must sleep to process. Thank you too all who came out. Your love and support truly means everything. {Post AFW Grand Finale Runway Show!!!}

Day 45: Somethings will never change! I got to round out my amazing weekend with Yenny, visiting home from the Left Coast! 

Day 46: I spent the day paying bills, cleaning and reorganizing the Barbie Dream House. I found this love note stashed away in a corner! It’s easy to be a good friend when you have wonderful, kind and loving people in your life. 

Day 47: My life may not always be glamorous, but at least I get to cuddle up with the Dewster every night.

Day 48: Ahhhh…I heart Wednesday nights! Yoga, hit shower, dinner and Law & Order: SVU. 

Day 49: Just a typical Thursday morning sweating my ass off before work! 

Day 50: Oh y’know, just spending the day flexing & drinking champagne with my best model and workout buddy! Amanda and I spent the day prepping for the Cap City Marathon! Unfortunately, I couldn’t run due to a strained IT band, but I’ll be back next year!!!

Life, According to my iPhone: 100 Happy Days :: Vol. 3

32 days in and still haven’t missed!! If you are not familiar with the 100 Happy Days challenge, read my post explaining it HERE!

I have to admit that it has been pretty easy to be happy these past 10 days. As crazy as my schedule is, I have lots of blessings in my life and I’ve actually remembered to document them! And a few friends have joined the challenge!!

Here are my photos from the past 10 days!

And here are Days 11-20!

(click to enlarge!)

Days-21-30

 

Day 21: Sweating before 7am?? NAILED IT!! I’ve started working out at Seven Studios at 6am on Mondays and Tuesdays since my evenings are so busy!! This is my awesome friend Justin and one of our trainers, Christine!

Day 22: Besties/Sisters/Mobsters Amee & I steppin’ out at Circa Fashion Show, supporting the AMAZING Ashley Wills! She is a blogger and occasionally blogs for the Alternative Fashion Mob!!

Day 23: Hittin’s the streets of the Short North in downtown Columbus to get the word out about Alternative Fashion Week! Believe me…I was hard to miss and even harder to avoid!

Day 24: Celebrating the 3rd birthday of my new church, Rock City Church! The music and sermon was SOOO good, I stayed for 2 services!

Day 25: Jeff & Kelli gave a behind the scenes look into planning Alternative Fashion Week at Motive Monday. Apparently it’s not as easy as it seems!

Day 26: After residing at Barbie Dream House for Wayward Girls for 7 years, it was time for an update. New (to me) couch!! Step 1 of a few little tweaks!!

Day 27: First nap on the new couch was a snoring success!!

Day 28: Paw my gosh! That happy face!! What you can’t see is that I’m making the same face behind the camera! The weather is finally perking up!

Day 29: My lovely friend Brenton just made a penny floor in his bathroom! It was begging for a selfie!! This was also his birthday dinner!

Day 30: This is our type of weather! 45 minutes soaking up the sun resulted in a little sunburn! I ain’t mad!! We are ALL smiles!

 

Life, According to my iPhone: 100 Happy Days :: Vol. 2

I can’t believe it! I’ve made it 21 DAYS into this challenge and I haven’t missed a day once! Knock on wood!! If you are not familiar with the 100 Happy Days challenge, read my post explaining it HERE!

I don’t know if this challenge has made me more happy, but it has helped me to take joy in the little moments in life. But honestly, the thing I have loved most is sharing in my friends’ (and even some strangers!) happy moments! It has been helpful to have my friends do this with me. If it gets late in the day and I haven’t posted yet, I’m likely to get a “Have you been happy today??” text! I have found it to be true with every challenge in my life that the most important thing you need to be successful is a dedicated support group of friends!

Just a couple of Joyments!

Just a couple of Joyments!

Here are my photos from the past 10 days!

(click to enlarge!)

Day 11: Ahhhh….nothing like a brand new (and stinky!) yoga mat! The good people at Natural Fitness have a Zero Impact Program, in which they plant a tree for every product they sell! I hope it’s a cool tree! Maybe I’ll go visit it someday!

Day 12: Gah. I finally gave in. After my 2 day cleanse, I was starving and had a bagel with cream cheese. I don’t even care.

Day 13: Don’t leave me alone in a room full of buttons & knobs! Happy to get a clean bill of health at the eye doc!

Day 14: Happy to be surrounded by other Rock City Church folks at our weekly Life Group! We’re trucking through “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson.

Day 15: My best friend. Forever. Sometimes it just works.

Day 16: Feeding my hangover! Turns out Bareburger’s burgers are neither made out of bears or served by big, burly gay men.

Day 17: I became a Seven Studios Warrior today! I got to be a part of Julie Wilkes’ 7 Life Miracles Workshop!

Day 18: My city is better than yours. After a 6am Bootcamp workout at Seven Studios with Christina, I made time to snap a few sunrise pics. Gosh, Columbus is beautiful. 

Day 19: Finally, a day nice enough to go on a run, sit outside with Dewey, and chew on sticks.

Day 20: Oooohhhh!!! Happy happy joy joy!!! Presents (that I bought for myself) from Shoedazzle & Roozt were delivered today!!! (and maybe I had a little fun with a new photo editing app, Picfx 🙂 )

 

Life, According to my iPhone: 100 Happy Days

I love challenges. There’s just something so fulfilling about completing a difficult task that I set my mind to complete.

I also love photos. If my house were to catch on fire, I’d grab Dewey and then all my photo albums, my phone and my laptop (I’m a Millennial – most of my photos are digital!).

So, it should be obvious that I love a photo challenge!! Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim has monthly photo challenges that encourage participants to take 1 photo-a-day that aligns with that day’s topic. You can see March’s challenge HERE (and then keep watch for April’s!). I have done these challenges quite a few times and even posted my results here on my blog! You can check ’em out HERE!

My current photo challenge comes from 100happydays.com.I found this posted on a friend’s Facebook and had to check it out. The premise is simple: Can you be happy for 100 days in a row??

“We live in times when super-busy schedules have become something to boast about. While the speed of life increases, there is less and less time to enjoy the moment that you are in. The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being.”

All you have to do is take a photo of ANYTHING that makes you happy each day. It can be anything from coffee with a friend to something that captures the feeling of relaxing at home after a long day to your pet’s nose snuggled into your side – whatever it is that makes you happy just for a moment.

I gathered my girlfriends and we all agreed to start on the same day. Doing this challenge with a friend (or 7!) is helpful because you can help keep one another accountable. “Hey girl…sooo…I was avoiding work and checking my happy hashtag and I didn’t see you on there yet today…GET HAPPY!!!” The directions are easy:

  • Share your picture via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with a public hashtag #100happydays!
  • Come up with your own hashtag to share your pictures with your people!

Wanna follow the gang and I on our happiness photo journey? Hop onto Instagram and check out our hashtag, #happyin614 (614 is the Columbus area code)! Don’t be shy! Follow my crazy, busy, awesome, badass, exciting life on Instagram!

Wanna start the challenge yourself?!? AWESOME!!! Please share your personal hashtag here so I can encourage you and share in your daily joyments (joyful moments)! I’m so excited to see what makes you smile!

So far, I am 11 days in and totally enjoying the challenge! Here are my first 10 shots. Be sure to check back here to see my Joyments!

(click to enlarge!)

Days 1-10

Day 1: The A-Squad reunited!! Some of my best girlfriends Allie, Amanda, & Amee

Day 2: Saturday was been a perfectly beautiful day to spend outside with my favorite four-legged friend!

Day 3: I always leave Rock City Church feeling joyful and motivated! Each Sunday, I am able to take the message and apply it to my life. This week, where can I turn “Not a chance!” into “Okay God…I’ll take a chance.” ?? I’ve got some ideas!!

Day 4: Happy to catch up with an old friend over a home cooked dinner!

Day 5: Amee is now SIX YEARS CANCER FREE!!! And obviously it makes me so superduper happy to have my bestie/big sis/lesbian lover around year after year.

Day 6: I love my CBus!

Day 7: We got to welcome in spring with 108 sun salutations!

Day 8: YAY!!! I bought the Divergent trilogy and they finally came in the mail Friday! Guess what I’ll be nerding out to this weekend!!! (I have this silly rule about having to read a book BEFORE I see its movie.)

Day 9: I probably shouldn’t tell what I had to play during Cards Against Humanity to make Joe laugh to the point of tears…point of the story, Saturday was a wonderful night full of laughs with great friends.

Day 10: Happy to be stronger than I’ve ever been – in every way possible.

 

Ending Up Helping :: January 22nd :: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

I know, I know…so much for blogging every day! As it turns out, trying to blog every day during your birthday month is extremely hard! I’ve been super busy and not able to dedicate the proper amount of time to my blog that each post deserves. Even so, I have learned so much about charities, what they do, how they work and why we need to support them.

GUESS WHAT!!

Yesterday was my birthday, and in honor of that, I am highlighting a charity that DIRECTLY affects the family of one of my bestest friends in the entire world, Kristen.

Picture a typical teenage girl, right around the age of 14. She loves boys, puppies, and sunny days. It’s the day of her favorite cousin’s wedding – a New Year’s Eve wedding! It’s mere hours away from being 2012! She is a junior bridesmaid and gets to get her hair and makeup done along with the rest of the girls! But instead of gabbing and drinking (virgin!) mimosas with her fellow bridesmaids, Kate is sitting, listening to her iPod while an electric vest vibrates her entire torso, shaking her lungs free of thick mucous that could severely inhibit her breathing. She insists that the daily 90 minutes of various treatments really aren’t so bad.

Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited disease that affective the lungs and digestive system. It is a “life-threatening genetic disease that causes mucus to build up and clog some of the organs in the body, particularly the lungs and pancreas. When mucus clogs the lungs, it can make breathing very difficult. The thick mucus also causes bacteria (or germs) to get stuck in the airways, which causes inflammation (or swelling) and infections that lead to lung damage.

Mucus also can block the digestive tract and pancreas. The mucus stops digestive enzymes from getting to the intestines. The body needs these enzymes to break down food, which provides important nutrients to help people grow and stay healthy. People with cystic fibrosis often need to replace these enzymes with medicine they take with their meals and snacks, which helps them digest food and get proper nutrition.

When it comes to “getting” CF, it is all in your genes. When I asked Kristen about this, she said “It’s a basic Punnett Square!” My verbal response was “Oh yeah! I remember that from high school biology! Totally. Got it.” My inner response was, “Uhhh….I know I remember learning that, buuutttt….what?” So, if you’re like me and don’t exactly remember 10th grade biology, here ya go:

A Basic Punnett Square for CF:

How this can be interpreted (blonde version):

C- normal allele

c- allele with CF mutation

In this example, each child would have:

25% chance of being unaffected with Cystic Fibrosis (CC)

50% chance of being a carrier of Cystic Fibrosis (Cc)

25% chance of being affected with Cystic Fibrosis (cc)

Because of the thick mucous, Kate has to work harder than her field hockey teammates just to be able to breathe, let alone breathe deeply while exercising. But does that stop her? Hell no.

“It’s definitely harder running. My lung capacity is smaller, so running is harder and I cough more when I’m running,” said Kate, who played varsity as a freshman and has started the last two seasons. “It’s harder to breathe, but I don’t notice it unless I am sick or have a lung infection.”

Years ago, the life expectancy for people with CF was only elementary school age. A person with CF can expect to live “into their 30s, 40s and beyond” today, thanks to research funded by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

The CF Foundation has funded more “research than any other organization, and nearly every CF drug available today was made possible because of Foundation support.” Their “focus is to support the development of new drugs to fight the disease, improve the quality of life for those with CF, and ultimately to find a cure.”

Not only does the CF Foundation fund research, but they also advocate for people living with CF. They work to keep CF funding at the forefront of the government’s mind.

Kristen’s 21-year-old cousin Matthew (older brother to Kate) is currently participating in a 2-year clinical trial, Vertex 809 with Kalydeco, funded by the foundation that is changing the face of this disease. It is the first drug to treat the underlying cause of CF. Matthew’s health improves daily because of the medication.

Wanna contribute to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation??

Donors can feel good about their contribution because of trials like the one Matthew is participating in. Money goes towards the trials that are are directly lengthening and saving people’s lives, NOT into the administrative pockets. Click HERE to donate and HERE to see exactly where each dollar goes.

Every year in Columbus, the local CF Foundation chapter hosts a bevy of fundraising events. One of these events is hosted by Matthew and Kate’s parents, Tom & Marie – the Hennessey Family Fore-Love Golf Outing. Played at Brookside Country Club, “a shotgun start begins a day of great golf, food and entertainment. Raffles, live and silent auction and a fabulous dinner round out the event.” Kristen and her family volunteer at the event in support of Matthew and Kate.

Kristen & Kate "Play today for more Tomorrows"

Kristen & Kate
“Play today for more Tomorrows”

Andrew, Kristen, Kate & Matthew at the Fore Love Dinner

Andrew, Kristen, Kate & Matthew at the Fore Love Dinner

The Fore Love event is just one of many fundraising opportunities available. If you are in or near the Columbus area, you can check out the event calendar HERE!

Not in CBus?? BUMMER! 😉 Click HERE to find your local CF Foundation chapter!

Matthew and Kate refuse to allow their cystic fibrosis hold them back. Matthew is studying Political Science at Ohio State University and has had internships in Washington, DC and Columbus. Kate is finishing her junior year of high school and hopes to play field hockey at Georgetown, following in her mother’s footsteps.

“I have never been held back. I’m definitely a doer, never a quitter…I think (having cystic fibrosis) helps me. It pushes me to persevere a lot more. It’s how I overcome things. I can do this and nothing’s going to hold me back.”

You go, girl!

*******

All information was obtained from www.cff.org and The Upper Arlington News

Find CFF: Columbus Chapter on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CFFCentralOH

Ending Up Helping :: January 13th :: Amethyst, Inc.

I have watched enough episodes of Intervention and heard enough personal stories to understand that addiction does not only hurt the person with the addiction; it affects their entire family and all of their friends. I have also experienced enough of life to learn that homelessness isn’t always a voluntary outcome. Pair the two, addiction and homelessness, together, and it adds up to what can seem like a hopeless situation.

If someone suffering from drug and/or alcohol addiction is fortunate enough to realize they needs a lifestyle change, making that change on their own truly may not be an option.

Amethyst, Inc.

“Amethyst’s goal is to help women, children, and families achieve lifelong sobriety, healthy relationships, permanent housing, and economic stability through gender-specific programs and services that combine alcohol and drug treatment with supportive housing for homeless women.”

When a woman carries around an addiction while trying to be a mother, wife, or other caregiver, she can often begin to feel a deep failure in the role as caregiver. But because addiction holds such a type grip on its victims, these women may not know how to face it. Amethyst provides gender-specific treatments and therapies to help these women.

Beyond helping only the women fighting addiction, Amethyst serves the families they are trying to preserve. The children living at Amethyst receive babysitting, homework help, tutoring, therapy, and education on how to avoid a life of addiction.

“Addiction, poverty, and violence have the propensity to perpetuate themselves generation after generation. Children raised in families coping with these problems struggle academically and miss more days of school than their counterparts. They’re also likely to display emotional and mental challenges, which can create barriers to academic and social success.

Amethyst’s goal is to break the generational cycle. We provide a healthy environment combined with supportive and therapeutic services designed with children’s needs in mind.”

When a parent suffers from addiction, one result may be family separation. This can permanently damage the family unit, or with special care and hard work, the families can re-bond and learn to forgive and move forward.

“Many families at Amethyst have experienced family disruption caused by the extended parent/child separation that can result from addiction, mental illness, poverty, and criminal involvement. At Amethyst, we believe in reunifying these families. Our family-centered programs promote meaningful family dialogue, increase parent knowledge, and encourage parental involvement in the development and education of their children, giving all family members the support they need to reconnect with each other.”

What Amethyst Does Works

Valerie’s Story

“Thirteen years ago, I would never have imagined that there would be a place that would help me heal from my hurt and teach me how to cope with life’s situation the same situations that, during the height of my addiction, would have triggered me to get high

Today, I am a woman that helps others see their own dreams. I am the woman that lets others know there are people and services that can help them. I will never be able to repay Amethyst for giving me back my life, my children, and my family. I am still learning from the friendships I developed at Amethyst. The women I met there are my sisters. We have shared stories, and we know that it is through Amethyst that we will grow and be strong. When most people have a series of bad life experiences, they say that they are happy to have their old life back. Well, I don’t want my old life back. Amethyst gave me a new life, one that I never thought I could have.”

After women “graduate” from the program and become alumnae, many decide to stay on and help those who come behind them. The alumnae are able to offer success stories, be a person who will listen and truly understand and inspire other women to persevere.

Wanna contribute to Amethyst, Inc.??

Because Amethyst is a home where women and their children live, the list of needed items more likely to grow rather than shrink. If you would like to donate items to the Amethyst House, please click here for an idea of what is needed most.

If a monetary donation speaks to your heart, you can be assured that your money will go towards ensuring the survival of mothers and children recovering from addiction here in Columbus. Please click here to donate.

“Our volunteers are lifesavers. Literally.” If you’re looking to save some lives, please volunteer! Click here for more information.

Unfortunately, it can be very easy to judge a person based on their addiction alone. But if we take a moment to see beyond the addiction, and into who that person really is, not only might they survive, but their family is given another chance at survival as well.

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All information was obtained from www.amethyst-inc.org.

Find Amethyst, Inc. on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Amethystinc.

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And please, DON’T FORGET!!! If there is a worthwhile cause on your radar, I would LOVE to hear about it! Perhaps it will make it onto this month’s Ending Up Helping series!

Ending Up Helping :: January 12th ::Project Zero Ohio

“Imagine you were diagnosed with a lethal virus. Now imagine knowing there were potentially life-saving medications available, but you couldn’t afford them — and any resources set up to assist you had been exhausted. Sadly, for hundreds of Central Ohioans, they don’t have to imagine; this is their reality.”

 Project Zero Ohio (P:ZO)

I am so very fortunate that any time I have suffered from any sort of illness, there has been some medical cure. Whether it was a stomach ailment, ear infection, poison ivy, the flu, bronchitis, pink eye, or some other affliction, a doctor has always been able to prescribe a remedy and either I or my parents could afford it.

For Central Ohioans diagnosed with AIDS, the cure is expensive, if available at all.

“Physician Randy Sharma, entrepreneur Steven Weaver, and gay activist/”Super Drag Queen” Nina West joined forces to help raise funds for local HIV/AIDS charities and resources. The idea is simple: to donate proceeds from customized, locally-crafted products to help assure that zero HIV/AIDS patients in the Greater Columbus Area go without the services they need.

To raise funds for this simple and incredibly important idea, local artists and business donate funds from the sales of their products to P:ZO. The initial product was a Rainbow Candle created by a partnership between Columbus’ Candle Lab and Nina West. Stinkybomb Soaps created a Pride Soap of all the rainbow colors and most recently, artist AmyD created a custom P:ZO coffee mug sleeve for the cause.

pzo

Wanna contribute to the Project Zero Ohio??

Aside from purchase P:ZO affiliated products, you can donate directly to the cause. If you are interested in donating you can do so through PayPal HERE!

There are various opportunities for volunteering through events, product launches and more. To let the P:ZO folks know that you’re interested, please fill out the quick ‘n easy form HERE!

Plans are still in the works for a High Heel Run hosted by the Alternative Fashion Mob. One of the benefiting charities will be P:ZO. This will be another super fun way to support local AIDS patients! Stay Tuned for more info!

AIDS is an unforgiving, awful illness that touches more people than we may realize. By purchasing Project Zero Ohio products, you are helping to calm the fears of someone who may not have much hope for a cure, and doesn’t everyone deserve some hope?

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All information was obtained from www.projectzeroohio.com.

Find P:ZO on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Project-Zero-Ohio/194772307241509

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And please, DON’T FORGET!!! If there is a worthwhile cause on your radar, I would LOVE to hear about it! Perhaps it will make it onto this month’s Ending Up Helping series!

Ending Up Helping :: January 8th :: Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio

No matter how old I get or how many years pass after my mom’s death, the moment I start feeling sick, my mind immediately calls for my mom. I had many stomach illnesses growing up, all of which went undiagnosed. Most of my 5th grade year was spent feeling nauseous, sometimes puking, sometimes not. But guess who was there to hold my hair and wipe my tears EVERY time??

Mom.

I remember one night, I must’ve been about 7 or 8, walking into my parent’s room in the middle of the night because my stomach hurt. Immediately jumping to the call of duty, Mom took my hand and led me to her bathroom. She poured the familiar looking pink medicine and told me to drink it.

“Mom, this smells funny…I don’t want it.”

“It’s medicine! It’s supposed to smell funny! Just drink it!”

So I did. IT was right at that moment that my dear, sweet mother’s eyes adjusted to the light and she realized she had poured me Calamine lotion and NOT Pepto Bismol.

AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Mom immediately called Poison Control. They instructed her to make me drink lots and lots of water and that the wrong medicine would come right back up. They were right! Mom sat up with me all night, making sure I was really okay.

Even with a few bumps in the road, I can’t imagine being sick as a child without my mom there to tell me everything would be okay and hold me until I fell asleep.

See?? It would be an easy mistake to make in the middle of the night!

See?? It would be an easy mistake to make in the middle of the night! Right??

Thanks to the Columbus Ronald McDonald House, kids all across the city, state, and even neighboring states don’t have to be sick without their moms, dads and family nearby.

Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio

RMDH

The Ronald McDonald House (RMHC) started in Philadelphia about 38 years ago when a local man’s daughter was going through cancer treatments. He and the little girl’s mom spent day after day, night after night on benches in the hospital. This man was Fred Hill, a player for the Philadelphia Eagles. Fred turned to his manager and expressed that no one should have to have a long-term hospital experience like they did. They were close friends with Ray Kroc, McDonald’s founder, and he was able to turn Fred’s idea into a place of comfort and support in a family’s greatest time of need.

“The first Ronald McDonald House in Columbus opened on 18th Street in March 1982 when an old apartment building was purchased and renovated. The new facility was met with a great deal of excitement from the local community, and especially the new partner Nationwide Children’s Hospital.”

The RMHC of Central Ohio provides a place close to the hospital where families can stay over night, eat a hot, home-cooked meal, and receive support from other families experiencing the same trials. Families are asked to donate $20 per night, but no one is every turned away because they cannot afford the donation.

Wanna contribute to the The Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio??

“Each year, nearly 3,000 families stay at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House, spending over 20,000 nights at our home-away-from-home.”

Because of this large number and a small operating staff, The Columbus RMCH could not function daily without volunteers. Volunteering opportunities include:

Special Events Volunteer
Volunteer at any of our special fundraising events throughout the year.

and

Housewarming Volunteers:
Work with our guests to provide a home-like environment – greet, assist with family needs, answer phones, give tours, assist with checkin/checkout, prepare guest rooms after checkout, clean facility, laundry, restock supplies and staff the front desk.”

Click HERE to apply!

One of the really neat volunteering opportunities involves preparing, making and serving dinner to the families stay at The House. I think it would be so fun and so rewarding to get a group of friends together and cook a meal at The RMCH and then be able to serve the families as well. If you’re interested in this, please click HERE!

Since staying at the RMHC of Central Ohio is like staying at home, the center needs all kinds of household items. Click HERE for their wishlist! Your donations here help keep the RMCH feeling like home.

Sometimes it’s just as easy and rewarding to know your money is going towards keeping a family together during a child’s serious illness. Please click HERE to donate monetarily.

Now that I no longer have my mom around to comfort me when I am sick, I can pay it forward by helping to support an organization that keeps families together when they need each other the most.

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EVERYONE LOVES A WINNER!!!

The RMHC of Central Ohio has a contest going on through March 16th! They are trying to win $100,000 for the 3rd year in a row by voting for Coach Matta at VoteCoachMatta.com. This contest will allow the RMCH to continue serving families of seriously-ill children!

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

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All information was obtained from www.rmhc-centralohio.org

Find the RMHC of Central Ohio on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RMHCofCentralOhio

Check out the the RMHC of Central Ohio blog HERE!

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And please, DON’T FORGET!!! If there is a worthwhile cause on your radar, I would LOVE to hear about it! Perhaps it will make it onto this month’s Ending Up Helping series!