I just want to send a little love letter out to Interregnum.org, whose motto is, “Finding life after loss.” Interregnum Inc., is a New Jersey grief support organization offering three distinct programs: Moving Forward, an eight-week comprehensive grief support and education program; Lessons in Loss, an educational program for grief and loss professionals; and, my favorite, Hearts of Hope: Making a Difference One Heart at a Time.
Hearts of Hope offers a “complete circle of support.” Volunteers paint ceramic hearts with beautiful messages of encouragement. The hearts are then given to people who have experienced loss, including patients in hospitals and cancer centers, bereaved family members and men and women in the military.
Each heart comes in a little bag with a handwritten note by its painter. The note includes a little about the painter and his or her “message of caring.” The genius of the program is the full circle connection between volunteer and recipient. Each note includes an email address and an identifying code for the painter so the recipient can send a thank you note back to Hearts of Hope and the specific painter.
When I recently went to Overlook Hospital’s Reception to Honor Survivors, I received one of those special little bags. My painter’s name is Kendra L. and she lives in Towaco, NJ. Kendra loves peace signs and hearts. Her message of caring to me is, “Everyone can see your smile from 100 miles.” I was honored to write her a thank you message.
You’ll notice from the picture that I have two hearts. Kendra’s is on the left. I received the “Always have Faith” heart very early on in my cancer journey. I lost the card and never sent a thank you email to the painter. I wish I had, but times were more turbulent then and I just didn’t do it.
So, this is my very public thank you to my anonymous heart painter, Kendra and Hearts of Hope. To date, the program has created and delivered over 24,179 hearts to people who need a message of hope. That’s a lot of love going out into the world.
If you want to get involved as a volunteer, Hearts of Hope supplies the hearts, cards, brushes and paint. All you have to do is supply the painters and pay for the hearts at $3.00 a piece, which are provided in kits of 25, 50, 75 or more. You can contact the program director, Sue Macheska, at 862-812-6543, email firstname.lastname@example.org. I wish I was still a Girl Scout leader, because the girls would be painting their little hearts out tomorrow.
Is there a community based outreach program you’d like to publicly thank? Tell us all about it and what makes it special to you.
Survival > Existence,