We always love our time with Catherine Read, the genius behind ReadThinkAct.com and a true walk-the-walk social activist. Catherine is also a strategist, activist, advocate, speaker, trainer and a host of two weekly television shows and a live radio show on the Fairfax Public Access Channel. I was privileged to be her guest on one of those radio shows, Making Change, on March 18, where I spoke about Heard’s exciting plans for world domination, or at least for sharing how we are ready to help those in need in all communities through art.
We all wear masks. We wear masks that reflect who we want to be to the outside world, and we wear masks that we wear only to ourselves. Our amazing art teacher Sharmila led the women of ALIVE! House through this project last night, with such power results! They each shared what their masks represented and gave us permission to share their masks – some of them – with you!
We hope you enjoy reading about our origins. And stay tuned – there’s more to come! And we’re having lot of fun sharing this with you. So maybe we were born in Ecuador? Tell us what you think? And just click here to open the links: Listen to Sharmila teach a class in Hindi, or visit Keely’s site to learn more about her improv business!
Sometimes opportunities present themselves that are just too good to resist. And sometimes good people come together in strange and beautiful ways. That happened on January 22, 2021, when we partnered with 7 Sisters International, a nonprofit in Assam, India, that provides care for trafficked girls in South Asia, for a one-time arts project. How did this happen? Their founder was a friend and peer of our founder when they both served in the United States Air Force. Our India-born Sharmila Karamchandani was thrilled to teach a class in her native Hindi, despite the 12 1/2 hour time difference. She tells the story so well, which we lifted and edited from her Facebook post. Video and photos follow. And I love this video of Sharmila teaching this class in Hindi.
Happy new year everyone! Heard held its last class of 2020 at Friends of Guest House yesterday. Sharmila asked the women to create two puppets – one of the person who has had the most positive influence on you, and one of yourself. If you shared what you created, you were asked to share three interesting facts about you through your puppet.
Meet Crystal. She loves to work with hair, to sew, and to read. The puppet on the right is her mom. She always encouraged Crystal to think about people who had it worse than her and then she would always feel how blessed she truly was.
The puppet in Meet Tonya. Don’t you love her pink hair? To the right of Tonya’s puppet of herself is an unnamed family member who always stood by her and never gave up on her. This family member may have been a bit disappointed with her when she got in trouble but never stopped loving her.
This last puppet is of Sharmila’s brother who she credits as her role model and hero, and who introduced her to reading, music and strong values. Sharmila said that he has been extremely supportive of her in every step of her life, and she would not be the same [amazing] person if she did not have him in her life.
As you start 2021, who is your puppet avatar?
You might think Jane Collins is Heard’s founder, but no! The Heard seed was planted even before her dad’s heart attack in the 1970s (don’t know what we’re talking about? This will help). We’re committed to keeping Jane’s mom’s age a nonprofit secret, but it goes back to when linoleum floors in the kitchen were a thing. Want to see where the links take you? Click here.
What do a teddy bear and a nun have in common? More than you think. But most of all, my dad had so much to do with why Heard exists. Dad left us right around this time 13 years ago, and his memory, legacy, and life continue to inspire me to carry on his example of “leaving this world better than when you found it.” Click here to access the links.
Our “Four Cups of Life” virtual arts class with Friends of Guest House was such a hit that we brought it to Doorways, an Arlington nonprofit that offers support, shelter, and services for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, a few days later. Still powerful, still strong!
It’s so nice to be able to post some photos from our Heard classes again, even if they were taken from a screen. In this “Four Cups of Life” virtual arts class, Sharmila asked the residents of Friends of Guest House to let go of any negative words swirling inside of them – to visually pour out what no longer serves them, and then pour in positive words in replacement. A picture is worth 1,000 words, right? What do you think?
We are beyond thrilled to debut our first newsletter! We hope you enjoy it and share it with your friends. To access the embedded links click here. You can also opt to have our newsletter delivered right to your inbox.