Why you should #bethelight for so many families and donate to Hopeful Heart Project
I consider myself extremely fortunate to know both Kayla & Jen and am an advocate of their mission through Hopeful Heart Project. When Kayla and I first met, I had no idea how instrumental she would be in my life until we began talking about our sweet babies.
Ellis & Hope
There is something so special about our sweet babies, and our friendship. Maybe it’s the way Kayla and I can share their stories without judgement. Maybe it’s the way we know they are taking care of each other. Maybe it’s the way we empathize with one another. Maybe it’s the way I long to know Hope, just as I long to know Ellis. Maybe it’s the fact that Ellis & Hope will turn 3 this year. Regardless of the many reasons, they have both brought Kayla and myself together, along with many other amazing mothers who understand the pain of losing a child.
You never think you’re going to lose your child, until you do. You never think you’re going to need a group of other moms who have lost their child/ren, until you do. I have met so many amazing warriors through Hopeful Heart Project, and I cannot advocate for their mission enough. They are doing great things for moms and families of loss, for the community, and also for those who don’t quite understand child loss, all while honoring their precious babies.
Please read on as I interview Kayla and Jen, Founders of Hopeful Heart Project.
I hope you will choose to “Be the Light” for this tribe of women who have forever changed my life.
Tell us a little about yourself and how Hopeful Heart Project came to fruition:
Jen and I were two grieving moms who connected through a mutual friend. After a 4 hour coffee date in November of 2017, we finally found another person who really understood the many aspects of child loss. We talked about all of the things we wish had been different for ourselves, our children, and then the parents that would inevitably follow us. There had to be a way to provide more support, and we decided we were the ones who were going to have to do it. It began with the simple idea of providing care packages to parents immediately following their losses. Things that we each wish we would have had, along with a better support network. Hopeful Heart Project grew quickly from there.
How long has HHP been a non-profit?
Hopeful Heart Project has been established as a non-profit since November 2017.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Being able to dedicate ourselves wholly to something we believe in. Being able to directly see the impact that Hopeful Heart Project has provided to so many parents grieving the loss of a child.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Fundraising 🙂 We are truly empathetic with all the families we serve and it wears on our hearts to bring ourselves back to the early days of our own losses. It essentially re-opens up that wound again whether we are ready for it or not.
What do you wish people knew about the loss of a child?
It isn’t just one day, week, month or year that we grieve. It is an entire lifetime of constantly loving and longing for them. You lose silly milestone pictures, birthday parties, sleepovers, Christmas mornings, bedtime stories, first and last days of school, recitals, sporting events, graduations, weddings, etc.
You just simply lose it all; an entire lifetime of memories.
Tell us about Giving Hearts Day… the idea behind it… how does it work?
Founded in 2008, Giving Hearts Day is a 24-hour event for charities in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. Each year, Giving Hearts Day provides a platform for charities to fund their missions through an ever-increasing community of donors, many of whom get to experience the joy of giving for the first time. The longest-running giving day in the country, Giving Hearts Day has helped participating charities raise more than $70 million since its founding.
If people want to donate, where do they go? What do they need to do?
Anyone can schedule their donations online through February 11th, otherwise anytime on Thursday, February 13th, 2020.
http://bit.ly/hopefulheartproject-givingheartsday2020 – is our direct GHD donation link
https://www.givingheartsday.org/ – they can click on DONATE and search for Hopeful Heart Project
What is your fundraising goal?
Our goal for GHD is $20,000
What will your donations go towards?
All of the programming that HHP offers. 🙂 Fundraising allows us to keep our mission going, as well as being able to offer our programs and services to the families we serve for little to no cost.
We serve parents who have endured the loss of a child of any age as well as pregnancy of any gestation. Our services begin in the hospital providing bereavement photography and doula services and following up with a Hope Gift which includes items we and other parents have found helpful in the early days spent at home healing without their child.
Eventually those parents need to go back out into their community again, and HHP is there hosting events they can attend with other parents who understand their journey. These healing events include workshops, classes, yoga, outdoor excursions, and an annual remembrance event in October. Healing retreats have also recently been added to our services. These take place twice per year for mothers and once per year for fathers.
It is also very important for parents to be able to celebrate and talk about the child(ren) they have lost. We offer services to help in planning for these special events parents hold. These have varied, but include anything from softball games, golf tournaments, workout classes, concerts, art showings, etc. We always seem to be adding to our list of services as we often get requests for certain things. It is truly a joy to be able to accommodate and give these parents an opportunity to heal in a positive way.
How else can others help your organization and the loss families in the community (near & far)?
There is still a stigma surrounding child loss in our society. Committing oneself to be open to hearing other people’s experiences and empathizing with their pain is a great start. Reaching out to Hopeful Heart Project on behalf of a parent who has lost a child is also so important. We would rather have a family be referred to us several times than not at all. Connecting them with others who may be able to offer support is a simple way to make a difference in their journey ahead. Also, follow and like our Facebook page to stay up to date on our latest events and programs.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know / or understand?
Our organization and mission is fully funded by donations from generous people around the country. Without these generous donors we simply could not provide the quality and relevant programs we currently offer. Doing this work is good for our hearts, but every time we receive a testimonial about how it has impacted another parent, we are filled with purpose and the desire to do even more.
Now that you know a little bit more about the amazing work Hopeful Heart Project does, as well as the purpose behind Giving Hearts Day…
#bethelight and Donate