50 States of Hope

Every day, I read about different community projects happening in my home city of Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. It truly inspires me, and I think of the hope that these people are bringing – to those that they’re helping specifically, to the community, and to each other (being surrounding by others wanting to make positive change is certainly hopeful). And hopefully, pun kind of intended, to themselves. I know that for me, the fact that there are good people in the world, nearby even, and that we can bring about positive changes together gives me hope.

And yet I realize how few of these projects I participate in. Not because I don’t want to, but because I learn about them and think, “Oh I should look into that”, and then life happens and I remember about it too late, or there’s a scheduling conflict, or I get overwhelmed and need to take a step back from involvement. Or perhaps, I don’t hear about these at all. Maybe it’s a small, local project that I’m unaware of until it’s too late to participate. Or I hear about it after the fact somehow.

So I decided I needed to do something about this. I want to be more involved in these efforts, to bring awareness to some that may not get as much notice, and to participate in more of those that I keep saying “next time” to.  With that, I’ve started the the 50 States of Hope goal. I would like to be involved in at least one project that helps at least one person in all 50 states. Now of course, I could pick one large event for a cause that affects people in every state. And I might well participate in this simply because I think it worthy. But I’d also like to participate in those that are more local. Perhaps it’s simply a locally organized event of a larger organization. Or maybe it’s writing an anonymous letter of hope to someone struggling. Or a toy or book drive for children who are in the hospital.  It could be participating in something to help local community arts. Maybe it’s a local community garden project, or something to help local school children. What I want is to really feel my contribution is helping people, and that perhaps I’m bringing awareness to a worthy project or cause that may not have enough awareness on it.

But I of course don’t regularly frequent all 50 states to know exactly what local events and projects are going on. So that’s where you all come in. I’m looking for suggestions. What’s going on in your area? Do you have a project, perhaps one that helps your community, or one nearby, that you’re passionate about? Do you know someone, or know of someone, who could use a letter of hope. Do you know someone who runs a local project or campaign for a cause?  I’d love to learn more about it.

Now please keep in mind that I have a day job and am not independently wealthy so, while I’d truly love to one day do so, I cannot currently travel the country full time offering hope, and may need to get a little creative with some. And I’d rather it not be strictly a monetary donation, not only because I’m not independently wealthy but because I’d like to get my hands dirty a bit. To feel more actively involved, even if it’s simply collecting toys or books or games or school supplies or food or whatever it is. So please, send your suggestions my way either here, on social media, or via email at thespreadhopeproject@gmail.com.  If I am able to participate in the project you suggest, I promise to give it a shout out on social media, the blog, wherever I can, and if you’d like, to give you one too for making the suggestion (this part isn’t mandatory if you’d prefer to stay anonymous).

Thanks in advance! I look forward to hearing your suggestions!



3 thoughts on “50 States of Hope

  1. Kathy Allely says:

    What a wonderful idea. I would like you to know about an extraordinary caregiver for people with disabilities. My daughter lives in a group home she operates. She is one of the most generous people I have met. She went out of her way to make it possible for my daughter to be successful and the changes in her are tremendous. What is especially exciting is that as a team we were able to secure a microenterprise grant for our daughter to start a business raising alpacas and processing their fleece. Our caregiver was able to find a spinner to work with her who has patiently taught my daughter to spin fleece into yarn on an electric spinner. She has nine alpacas that she is able to independently care for. This model worked so well for our daughter that she has supported her other 2 clients in establishing their own microenterprises. So many jobs for people with disabilities are tedious and meaningless. This has given each of the individuals a sense of pride and confidence.

    I would like others to know it is possible to find the gifts within each individual, and help them bring them to fruition. My daughter’s caregiver deserves recognition for her willingness to do whatever it takes to support a satisfying life for people with developmental disabilities. It is truly remarkable and inspiring. And my daughter’s business is way cool! Becca’s Alpacas. She has a Facebook page.


    • Maya Northen says:

      Wow, this is wonderful! Thank you for sharing. I love hearing stories about caring people who truly believe in others, who are willing to help and give and be a part of helping them reach their goals. Nobody should have to give up on their goals and do, as you said, meaningless and tedious work because of a disability or an illness. I will check out the facebook page! In fact my best friend has two alpacas at her home and absolutely loves anything alpaca related – I’ll share with her as well. And if there is anything I can do to help raise awareness for Becca’s Alpacas, as well as to recognize this caregiver for her hard work, I would love to!


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