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"All Our Dreams Can Come True, if We Have the Courage to Pursue Them." -Walt Disney.

Our goal is to launch skylanterns from Yorkville. To instill hope. To celebrate life. And to bring funds to a non-profit agency fighting to prevent suicide: Suicide Prevention Services of America.

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." -Walt Disney. 

I consider Walt Disney to be the epitome of dreamers. Transforming a place into a magical adventure. Having the ability to fill kids of all ages with wonder. I remember going to Disney as a little kid, and then again as a 16 year old. It's hard to be unhappy in Disney World. It's a place that inspires dreams.  

About two months ago, I went to a party at a friend's house. Melyssa and Tony Thryselius. Their house is beautiful and their backyard is a playground for kids of all ages. Friends were playing in the pool, enjoying the barbeque, and playing a game of bags. They told us how they had launched skylanterns earlier in the night. I had no idea that skylanterns even existed. Tony disappeared and then reappeared with a skylantern in his hand.  

My friend Pav and I launched the skylantern. It felt like a very thin paper bag. Light-weight. We lit a small cardboard square attached to the lantern and then waited for the lantern to fill with hot air. It slowly slipped off my fingertips. In wide-eyed wonder, I watched it gently float high into the air. The feeling stuck with me for quite a few days after. Wonder and peace.  

My mom picked up some lanterns from Menards for my son and I to launch on the 4th of July. We had some friends come join us in the launch of the second lantern. The magic I felt, they experienced, too. It's like making a wish or saying a prayer and physically watching it lift from you.  

Disney has a movie called Tangled that features skylanterns. Disney perfectly captures the magic and wonder that is associated with skylanterns.

Talking with my friends, Rob Gryder and Jillian Duchnowki, after we collectively launched a skylantern, I proposed a skylantern festival. As the words slipped out of my mouth I felt like it was saying: "Let's go to Hawaii." Just a dream, but with a possible future. 

The wheels began to move. Rob spoke to the City Administrator and BKFD Fire Chief. Jillian contacted the Mayor and an Insurance Agent. Rob also spoke to the Superintendent of Schools for the use of the High School Football Field, Campbell Field. Lastly, we proposed a date. I made the website and video for the event. I researched the best price on the highest quality lantern.

This is the video we made to share our vision and all of the details for our Stars of Hope event:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zylbw1MUk1c&feature=share&list=UUC4s-LAOA0rav44Yo7_Ht3A

The Stars of Hope Skylantern Festival will be October 6th at Campbell Field at 7pm.

All proceeds will go to Suicide Prevention Services of America. www.spsamerica.org

I was overwhelmed with joy as I launched the website: www.starsofhopefestival.com. We have a Facebook page for the most current updates on the event: www.facebook.com/starsofhopefestival 

Our goal is to launch 200 skylanterns from Yorkville. To instill hope. To celebrate life. And to bring funds to a non-profit agency fighting to prevent suicide.  

I can not wait to experience this. To see this with my six-year-old son. To share this energy and wonder. It took a group to get this in flight. I feel like it's soaring. I am forever grateful to Rob Gryder and Jillian Duchnowski.  

I made fliers for the festival and went to pick them up. The girl behind the counter handed me my order. "I will be at your festival. My sister committed suicide two years ago. Thank you for doing this." I felt the universe giving me a nod that this is exactly what we are supposed to do.

"You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality." -Walt Disney.   

Please join us. All lanterns can be purchased online at: www.starsofhopefestival.com Lanterns will be available for pickup at the event on the day of the event. We are so excited to see you all there.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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