2012 was our first full year of serving the folks in East Nashville and by all accounts it was successful. We have been building relationships with other non-profits, teachers and staff at Kirkpatrick Enhanced Option School and most importantly with the students and parents in the area.
Our year began with a field trip to the Adventure Science Center funded by Desana contributions. The pre-k classes were able to enjoy a planetarium show as well as all of the many activities the museum has to off er. Along with parent chaperones, Desana volunteers were also involved in making this trip a success.
Kirkpatrick was chosen by Disney as one of three schools in the city to perform the play "Junglebook". Desana was able to provide the funds to cover all of the costumes and props needed for the production. Disney provided some of their NYC Broadway personnel to guide the children with choreography and singing. The students practiced for months and the play was great. They had several performances at the school and the 'big' production was at TPAC where all of the chosen schools participated. What an incredible opportunity for an inner city school. During the spring and summer Desana was able to help two families with furniture and manpower when they were able to find housing after being displaced. In addition, we assisted three families with extended stays in motels to avoid homelessness. With the arrival of another school year, we provided teachers with trinkets to be used as rewards for good grades, citizenship, and behavior.
This year the Nashville Christmas Program was greatly expanded. With Kathi and Brian Gilleland at the helm, the families in East Nashville will have "the best Christmas ever" .... as one of the families told us on Wednesday as Desana Volunteers handed out over 70 bags full of Christmas gifts. Kathi Gilleland said, "I want these people to have everything on their Christmas list" ..... "...they deserve so much more but I want them to know that there are people who care for them." Enjoy these pictures of delivering the gifts.....
Watch for more pictures of Nashville Christmas..... Kaleigh is going to be handing out sandwiches to the homeless in downtown Nashville on Saturday, December 23rd.
Let's not forget the real reason for this season!
The greatest Gift of all!
Hearing their stories about the places they have been and the people they have met facsinated me. I love to travel. What captured my attention most was the true concern and passion they have for helping others. We have enjoyed our friendship with the Houks but I must admit I was not expecting an invitation to be on the Desana Board of Directors.
A search of my past finds nothing remarkable in the matter of giving to others. It's not that I didn't care, I did. It's just that I thought "What good could come from my small contribution?" Maybe that was just a cover for my own selfishness.
Few things in my life have ever managed to bring me the kind of joy I have known from watching my children at Christmas. Seeing them so aware that they are loved and cherished. Every child deserves this.
In these difficult economic times many children won't have a Christmas that makes a real difference in their life. It's not their fault.
So far this year our volunteers have chaperoned a field trip to the Nashville Public Library to see a puppet show, along with providing pumpkins and cupcakes at Halloween. We also volunteered at the Thanksgiving meal and took family portraits.
We have been able to bring in partners such as Palm International who gave the classes a field trip to a pumpkin patch along with matching t shirts for students and teachers ( a necessity when trying to keep up with 35 four year olds.)
Our granddaughter became interested in the homeless population in Nashville. These people are very visible on street corners selling the Homeless Newspaper. One day she commented to us that we (Desana) help people in Peru and Russia..... why don't we do something for these people right here at home. So our Christmas in Nashville Project was born..... on the spur of the moment. With good friend Kathi Gilleland, we started our Nashville Christmas for the Homeless. We prepared about 50 Christmas bags for the homeless of Nashville ..... we handed them out personally to as many people we could find ...... our granddaughter worked very hard on this new project