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.
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?
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and it was our honor to interview Barbara Sweeney, the City of Alexandria Residential Coordinator of the Domestic Violence Program. Barbie, as we call her, runs the city’s domestic violence shelter and does so much more. Did you happen to walk through Market Square any evening this month? It’s awash in purple to bring attention to this most important cause.
Barbie talks about how COVID-19 has impacted domestic abuse, what signs to watch for, how to help, and so much more in our video and our “5 More Questions” follow-on story.
You saw the video of our executive director, Jane Collins, in the hot seat with Susan Fleischman of The Zebra admitting to her love of Ben & Jerry’s, Law & Order: SVU and how badly she needs a nap on The Zebra’s Facebook Live! show. All of the guests who Jane grilled with her “10 Questions” show got their revenge!
Oh, and Jane also talked about Heard of course, and how she will help you start a similar program in your community. Just five steps, and Jane will guide you along the way.
Alexandria, VA – Jane Collins, founder and executive director of the local nonprofit Heard, and frequent host of The Zebra’s Z-TV LIVE, will speak at the Tom Tom Foundation’s virtual summit, Cities Rising, on October 8. The event had been slated for spring 2020 before the pandemic shut it down, and it’s been reinvented as a seven-week virtual summit. Read the rest of the story here.
Update: Listen to Jane share the value of the arts in healing a community, and how she can help you start a similar organization:
Heard/Arlington County Detention Center/OAR writing contest, August 2020
In a place were everything moving at the speed of sound and light, a place were it’s even crazier at night, a place were im stuck between wrong and right at a fork in the road were there telling me go left but I wanna go right.
A place were it’s never silince were it’s hard to find balance. A place were they need more science. A place were thoughts of voilence and were suicidal thoughts are making more progress. A place were yar fighting demons and yar own (self).
Yet I still dont know who’s won a place were im not at bat and it’s not safe to bet. A place were the devil congregate. A place were a docter cant operate a place were i been stuck since a teenager from my parents mistakes and all life has put on my plate. It’s not too late, still can be saved but no one knows who I am let alone brave enough to brake into this place.
This is my cry for help from a psychotic brake down! If you havn’t figured who I am by now I’ll call my self the brain from distorted eyes i’v seen me raped mentally by society from drugs I let him put inside of me. People I let get the best of me and things I wont let go from inside from me! But no one knows this side of me physicaly im healthy mentally unhealthy unstable maybe I shared to much.
Im finally able to say im scared fer once but nobody’s here to help us. What happens when being tough dosn’t work anymore. Will they call us weak all because I was afraid to speak im fighting a disorder by poker and multple personaltys and it’s killing me softly as you read (signed the Brain)
My name is Keith Alan Parker II. I wrote this non fiction poem on May 18 2020. The month of mentell health awerness! We all suffer from some type of mentell unhealthyness but some manage it different. I say this to say we should all pay close attention to people crys for help family friends and even inmates thank you for listning to my poem!