Plant a seed, water it. Add some sun. And.. wait. And hope something good begins to sprout. I think most projects are like this. A vision in your head that slowly gets put into the works. A tiny idea of a sky lantern festival http://www.starsofhopefestival.com has sprout and comes to full bloom on Saturday, October 6th at 7pm at Yorkville High School Football Field.
We have 130 sky lanterns sold. All profits are going to Suicide Prevention Services http://www.spsamerica.org They help to prevent suicide locally.
I expected to buy lanterns. To make posters. To send out emails. To build a website. What I did not expect was the overwhelming response and the stories people were willing to share with me.
When printing posters, the girl behind the counter handed me my order. "I'll be at your festival. My sister committed suicide two years ago."
Another store, I had asked the service desk to post a poster. The girl was curt. "No." In the meantime, my son was behind me, passing out the business cards of information to all of the cashiers. We shopped in the store and returned to one of the cashiers. "I'll take your posters to school. And I will be at your festival. A friend of mine committed suicide in January."
Another store that took a poster to post told me that bipolar disorder runs in her family and she is afraid for her son. The stories just kept unfolding. I felt the universe giving gentle nods that this is exactly what we are supposed to do. That we are exactly where we are supposed to be. It was a very connected feeling.
On Sunday, we decided to go to Wal-mart and stand with signs. I had business cards with the festival information and a piece of candy taped to the back. A dum-dum lollipop. I was not excited to do this. I don't solicit well and I find myself shy in that venue. I knew it was important and thought maybe someone would get our information who truly needed it.
Jillian Duchnowski and I set up our spot by the main door. Our good friend's sons: Wyatt and Dakota Rolfe joined us. The going started slow. I don't panhandle well. "Would you like a piece of candy?" and the reply was "No." "But it's free... " and they kept passing by. I frowned. I needed a new approach.
I finally got more assertive. "This is for you. Have a nice day." They took it. Whoo hoo!! It's working! Some made donations. Some simply smiled. Some asked what it was for. Our information was getting out there.
One passerby said she heard about our festival in the newspaper. We were gaining momentum. Our final effort was to distribute candy/business cards to all of the cars in the parking lot. The three hours raised $72.00 and a envelope full of change. Moreover, we spread the word about Suicide Prevention Services and the Sky Lantern Festival.
This week was more watering of our plant. The sprouts are strong. The full bloom will be Saturday night as our guests walk through the gates of the Yorkville High School Football Field. The guests will collect their lanterns and enjoy a Poi performance artist group, Last Stage of Delirium. They will listen to the dj skills of Dan Shanahan of A Plus DJ. And then they will gather on the field to launch lanterns into the night sky.
The fragrance and beauty of the blossom will be revealed on Saturday. The detailed preparation will all come to fruition. And I CAN NOT WAIT. Join us. Stars of Hope Sky lantern Festival. 7pm Campbell Field. October 6th.
http://www.starsofhopefestival.com Lanterns are $20. Anyone is welcome to come to watch the festival. Free will donations will be taken at the entrance. See you then.