For the past 18 months I’ve worked part time for Whole Child Foundation as Program Director. Whole Child is a non-profit started by Dr. Lonnie Zeltzer with a beautiful, truly worthy mission and no money (like most non-profits). At Whole Child, through the clinic and foundation, we work with kids and teens with chronic pain. The kids deal with a variety of diagnoses such as migraines, IBS, arthritis, brain cancer and Sickle Cell Anemia. People often say, “Oh wow. That must be so hard. So sad.” It’s not.
At Whole Child, we help kids. We give them hope and techniques for managing or conquering pain. We get them back with their friends, back in school and back to a quality of life that seems almost unimaginable for most of these kids. We’ve witnessed kids go from wheelchair to PhD. We have artists, writers, scholars and athletes come to us. Most of these kids have seen upward of 14 doctors before finding Dr. Zeltzer.
Right now I’m running a filmmaking workshop for Whole Child with a grant from Women Helping Youth. We have 8 kids telling their stories and filming them. I need help editing the footage. I need food to feed everyone on our last session, July 20th. The kids need each other even if they didn’t realize it. I’d love it if the kids produced some great short films during this workshop, but even more, they’ve had the chance to connect with each other and themselves.
It seems paradoxical, but connecting with others suffering from chronic pain frees the kids up to remember themselves without pain. I’m pretty sure it gives them hope. In taking stock, this is the most gratifying work I do. I get to watch kids who feel lonely, misunderstood and isolated, connect in a deep and meaningful way. And with the workshop, they bring all the force of their creative selves to the forefront. They are amazing. They are passionate. They are so very real.
As soon as our new site goes live, I’ll share it here so you can meet these kids. In the meantime, if you can help with editing or donate lunch for our last session (July 20th), it would be great. You’ll enjoy it, I promise! We’re planning to replicate this program soon.
I’m not writing this to get funding. I just really want to share some of what I’ve been doing that sustains me and gives life a whole lot of meaning.
photo credit: Khánh Hmoong via photopin cc