During the month of March we held a “Like Us” campaign on Facebook benefitting American Cancer Society Relay for Life. We would like to thank you for all of your support – we had almost 100 new “Likes”!
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Dear Shoes for Kids Project Supporter,
The Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project purpose is to provide new tennis shoes for any student in the Charlotte County Public School System which needs them to begin the new school year. The dates of the drive are from June 16 – July 21, 2013. Our goal this year is 4500 pairs for the beginning of the school year. We know this was only possible through the efforts of the community so we are hoping for a banner year once again and we are looking forward to your assistance with the project.
In case anyone would ask, here are some facts about the first 8 years of the project:
1.) In 8 years 33, 105 new pairs of shoes have been given through this project at $ 13.00 per pair this amounts to over $430,365 in fundraising (YAHOO!)
2.) This year the largest request is a women’s size 8….240 pairs
3.) We usually spend the majority of donation monies on sizes 4 – 13 men’s and 4 – 10 women’s
4.) This year we are collecting size 5 toddler – 15 men’s and size 5 toddler – 12 women’s
5.) The goal this year is 4500 new pairs of sneakers; we collect only new sneakers (tennis shoes) so that these same shoes can be worn for gym class
6.) 75 – 80% of the shoes are delivered to the Elementary Schools
7.) The Shoes for Kids Project began in full swing at Edison State College in 2005; in 2007 Sunrise Kiwanis of Port Charlotte became the major sponsor.
8.) We have 54 collection sites this year; all sites can be found on www.shoesforkidsproject.org
9.) We deliver to all of the schools in the system – Baker Pre-K, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and the Academy.
10.) During the 2012-2013 academic year, we made deliveries of new shoes to the schools in August of 2012, November/December 2012, February 2013, April and May 2013.
11.) Major Sponsor: Sunrise Kiwanis Club of Port Charlotte
12.) Monetary donations can be made to:
Sunrise Kiwanis of Port Charlotte
1489 Market Circle Unit 308
Port Charlotte, FL 33953
Or by pay pal on our Kiwanis webpage (www.pcsunrisekiwanis.org)
Thank you for your support!
By Dee Roberts, Director of Pet Loss Services, Kays-Ponger & Uselton Funeral Homes and Cremation Services
When we lose a loved one, time seems to stand still. We are faced with the past, the present and the future all at once. The past when everything was okay is too painful to contemplate. The present in which we are seized with grief dominates everything. It seems endless, all pervading and crushing. And as for the future, whatever it was to hold has been totally wiped out. It becomes a jumble of shattered dreams, utterly destroyed.
Time and time again I hear people say, “I’ll never get over this or I’ll never forget it, and nor should we, because we should cherish the memory of that person. But it is essential that we become comfortable with that, for we are not meant to go on locked in suffering, unable to move on.
I often get angry when at a funeral I hear someone offering the advice to one of my families, however well meant, that time heals all wounds. It is not the passage of time itself that brings resolution, but the way we work through the stages of grief.
First it is essential to realize just what grief is. Grief is love, and it is because we feel such pain, because the inner ache is so great that we know the depth of our love. Grief simply cannot and does not exist except where there has been love.
Grief is not a mountain to be climbed, with the strong reaching the summit before the weak. Grief is not an athletic event with stopwatches timing our progress. Grief is a walk through loss and pain. There is no competition and no time trials.
I believe it is essential that we make our lost loved ones part of our future lives. A way we can do this is to accept the fact that they have left us, but give them a continuing stake in how we live. In this way, they are not just part of the past in our memories or of the present, but will continue to live and to achieve through whatever we have taken from their lives and added to our own for the benefit of others.
But don’t be afraid to grieve, for grief is an expression of your love. Think about, talk about and treasure your memories of your loved one and be your own timekeeper. Heal in your own way and in your own time. The experience of grief is powerful. So, too, is your ability to help yourself to heal. In doing the work of grieving, you are moving toward a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in your life.
The beautiful serenity prayer says:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
If these words have had any meaning at all, then let it be this;
In accepting the reality of loss, a change will occur in our values and priorities. Things that once seemed important may become unimportant, and things that were unimportant may take on a new significance. Your life will go back to normal, but it will be a “new normal” for all those involved.
The holiday season approaches once again and whether you are looking forward to it or dreading it, remembering the person or persons you’ve lost can be a healing experience. I like the way Mary Oliver phrases it in her poem “Heavy” that she wrote soon after losing her life partner of over 30 years.
but how you carry it—
books, bricks, grief—
It’s all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it.”
Popular culture tells us we are supposed to be joyful, cheery and warm and filled with family and friends at the holidays. Grief, however, often invades this time and we experience sadness, pain and loneliness. Life changes when we lose someone we love and changes our experience associated with the holidays. Grieving is an inseparable part of your holiday experience. Friends of ours no longer have mother and father who made Hanukkah rituals such a warm and joyful experience for them and the grandchildren. Our family no longer has some of the intense expectation our parents generated in us and our children. The holidays may still be a bright occasion, but tinted at times with the dull hues of loss.
The wonderful fact is the holidays provide a powerful way to move forward in our grief journey. It’s all in the way we “embrace it, balance it, carry it.” Here are some suggestions for using your holiday memories to heal and rediscover the joy.
Embrace the memories as they come. Trying to push them aside seldom, if ever, works. When we do they often actually become more intense. Share your memories with others and listen to those of others. You may find that in the sharing the person or persons you lost actually seem closer and more a part of the present. In our family we have sweet and tender memories of friends, a childless couple, who visited our child-intensive Christmas morning to share in the chaos and joy of opening presents. We think of Sally, who died of cancer twenty years ago, every Christmas morning and it’s a warm experience. Remember the funny stories too. There are plenty of laughs, like my father-in-law who gave each of his four daughters a toy truck and lacy nightgowns as a hint that there were no grand children yet. We still smile at that one as we watch the grandchildren celebrate the holidays.
Whether with family or friends story telling is contagious and memories come alive and bring those we’ve lost closer in spirit. We honor them by sharing and they become present in a new way. Remembrance is in itself, though sometimes painful, healing.
Take advantage of opportunities offered during the holidays. Energy and joy can be found in making the season better for those in need. Get in the spirit by wrapping presents for children of parents who are incarcerated, visiting those in nursing homes who may not have family close by, attending church or synagogue services –even if you haven’t been there in awhile. Some have special services of healing and remembrance.
Find new ways of celebrating the holidays. Don’t neglect tradition, but shaping a healthy future sometimes requires breaking some traditions. Perhaps staying at home or attempting to recreate the past just doesn’t work for you. I have friends who gather the extended family at the beach where they just spend time “catching up” and “enjoying each other”. ”We’re making new memories,” they say. This year our family will be doing things differently. Newly married couples are merging and changing how the holiday is celebrated and now there is the addition of grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Life moves forward. The past with its memories is not forgotten. We look at it as celebrating the lives of those who are no longer with us and celebrating new life and the creation of new memories.
Find peace and wisdom in the season’s spiritual messages. You don’t even have to be “religious” for this to be helpful. There are powerful symbols for us in our grieving and mourning. For me, one of the most powerful is the coming of “light into darkness”. In our northern hemisphere the daylight hours are shorter and there is the winter solstice which is the shortest day of daylight. I like the symbol of the star shining light and menorah candles shining light. Hope is the message of both traditions. There is the power of light this time of year that can shine into the darkness of grief and bring hope when we give it permission to enter.
Let the light of the season be a gift for your grief. As my yoga teacher says at the close of each session, “May the light of peace overcome all darkness. Victory to the light!”
When I was younger I moved from Kentucky to Texas for a new job. I had never been without a pet when I was living at home with Mom and Dad, so I was really lonely all by myself in Texas. On Mother’s Day in 1998 I went to the animal shelter in Dallas and brought home a scrawny solid black kitten. I named her Cleopatra. Cleo became my closest confidant. She was always happy to see me when I came home from work and loved to sit in the window sill and watch the birds in the trees outside my apartment while I was at work.
She was not fond of other people though, and when I started dating Shaun, my husband, she was not happy. She was especially irritated when Shaun and I decided to move to New York City to get married and take her with us. She hated the long 3 day trip. She still had not warmed up to Shaun and she certainly did not like the fact that she had to ride next to him while stuck in a cat carrier. Once we got to New York though, she loved the roof top “jungle” at the top of the stairs!
She had finally begun to accept Shaun and actually let him pet her and hold her when I became pregnant with my son, Ben. As my belly grew she knew something was going on but still tried to curl up in my lap every night. Once we came home with Ben she was curious but leery. What was that small creature that lies in that bed that I thought was mine? Why does it make all those weird noises? I felt sorry for my “first baby” as she came to the acceptance that she was no longer my only baby. She grudgingly came to accept Ben too.
We ended up here in Florida not long after Ben was born. Cleopatra loved the warm weather and going out on the lanai. She loved lying in sun spots on the floor. They warmed her old arthritic body. Cleo began to have several health issues and too soon it was time to let her go. It seemed like just yesterday I wrapped her in a blanket and took her home from the shelter.
It has been a few years since we had to say goodbye to Cleopatra. We have gotten two more shelter cats to fill the void that she left but no other pet will every replace my first baby. We miss you Cleo.