Bright Lights

Sunday, December 13, 2009

In Wayne, PA, you either look for stories or trust that stories will find you.

Yesterday, while yielding my often ill-behaving hair to the tres-talented MacKenzie of the always -superior Cole Wellness Spa (which sits directly in the square heart of Wayne), a certain Sean Guiney walked in. "He looks like Sting, don't you think?" MacKenzie said, and when I cocked my head slightly to the left, the guy kind of did.

Soon we were joined by Liz, the receptionist, and soon stories were flying, and soon Sean was talking about this organization that he founded in April 2009, Kids and Hope Foundation, Inc. He was talking, in particular, about the families who—no longer willing to live in their cars—have taken up residency among the tall trees and wild wolves and myriad deer of New Jersey's Pine Barrens. Without running water or electricity they live. Within the plastic walls of tents. Sending their children to school, or waiting for children to be born, and hoping, most of all, for a way out.

The rain comes down, the snow falls, there are floods, there is a freeze, there is the thick dark of long nights, there is a fiesty dog keeping the wolves at bay—and this, to many families, is home. Sean Guiney, a former auto mechanic, is doing all he can to raise $30,000 a year to help those in that needy place with everything from food and school supplies to the possibility of affordable housing.

That was some story—a story that left me thinking about gifts and Christmastime.

Just a week or so earlier, I'd encountered another story in Wayne. This time I was in a boutique buying a bracelet for a friend when Sharon McGinley looked at me and said, "Beth Kephart, right? Radnor High School?" Yes, I agreed, and she reintroduced herself—a former classmate who had, as it turned out, spent some time getting to know those now too old for foster care, but unprepared for life. "I heard the stories," she told me, "about those who needed bridging between childhood and adulthood, and about all of those who fell through the cracks. It seemed like something had to be done, and so I decided to try to do it." Eddie's House: Doorway to Adulthood is the pretty amazing result.

It's a bleak day here. I've been up since shortly after midnight, working. The rain is gray and the earth is brown, and no one I know wants to be outside. But there are many out in this weather today who don't have choices like I do. There are also, thankfully, those who have decided to assert themselves against the status quo.

This blog post is for them.


bermudaonion said...

Your post made me stop and reflect on how fortunate I am. If each individual person would do one small thing to help someone in need, we could really make a difference.

septembermom said...

We can't forget our blessings. It is important to take action in any way to help those in difficult circumstances. I can't imagine what they must be feeling each day as they try to navigate through such a tumultuous, frightening life.

Unknown said...

Unbelievable, Beth... God Bless Sean and Eddie's House...

"Never underestimate the power of a small group of people to change the world" ~ Margaret Mead

Peace ~ Rene

Being a NJ native I will give Kids & Hope space on my blog to help get the word out :)

Sherry said...

Hip hip hooray! Lots of cheers to everyone.

Sage Ravenwood said...

Heartrendering, thoughtful post dear friend. A wonderful reminder as well this is the season of giving. (Hugs)Indigo

Becca said...

I'm always so heartened by stories like these, of individual people making a real difference in the lives of others.

Truly Inspiring ~thank you for sharing.

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