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!

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365 Days of Hope

We’re rolling out a fun new campaign! One that we didn’t list in the May blog post, but hey, sometimes ideas just pop up out of nowhere. So here we go.

We’re gathering 365 ideas of “things” – anything, really – that we can take photos with in our Hope shirts. It can be anything from a cup of coffee to a sunset to the Eiffel Tower or even an activity (that won’t get us arrested/fired). Hey, you might even get us to see or try something new! So far, we’ve been given suggestions such as:

  • A rainbow
  • A wild animal in the wild (where we can do so safely!)
  • The beach
  • A music festival
  • A brewery
  • A famous art sculpture
  • An alpaca
  • Riding a bike

As you can see, your suggestions can be as specific or as general as you’d like. We might need to be creative at times, but we’re going to try to post one each day (some of which may have to be “later grams”, since we can’t really determine when we might see things like a rainbow or a wild animal in the wild). You are allowed to give us a specific place, but if you are not the proprietor of said place, we just need to ask their permission to tag them and prove it’s there. If we are not allowed to, we may need to generalize the suggestion (i.e. to “a coffee shop” or “a brewery”). If you are the proprietor, by all means, thank you for letting us take a photo there!

So please, fire away! There’s no bad suggestion, assuming it’s not illegal, immoral, or might injure us.  We’d love to experience new things and have new adventures along the way, so have at it! We can’t wait to see what you come up with.