Heart to Heart to Win

"I feel like everything is inspired by something else. There is no 100 percent original thought."
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Re: Heart to Heart to Win

Post by Spiritwind »

Yes, I love heart warming stories of everyday people helping in ways they can wherever they see the need.

She met women living on the street. She gave them a home — and they built their future.

By Mark Shrayber

https://www.upworthy.com/she-met-women- ... eir-future" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;?

Becca Stevens is no stranger to poverty.

When she was five-years-old, her father was killed by a drunk driver. Impoverished both emotionally and economically, Stevens' family had to work hard to make ends meet. Poverty became a defining aspect of her childhood.
That was a big part of what drove Stevens to help others, especially the women she saw on the streets. So, as she grew into an adult, she started helping women who had been victims of violence, trafficking and prostitution by feeding them and bringing them to shelter.

"I just felt sick for them," Stevens says of the women she worked with on the street.

But there was much more behind why she was so drawn to helping these women: Stevens had been a victim of abuse herself, starting at the age of six.
Many of the women Stevens worked with had never felt safe in their lives. Prostitution, and the experience of being trafficked, was often a progression of the abuse they experienced. For many, it had started in their adolescence — now it was something they didn't feel like they could leave.

As she continued to work and talk with the woman in these shelters and halfway houses she was struck by two huge gaps in trying to help these women: The first glaring note was  the lack of safety and security in shelters for women. Many women spoke about additional traumatic and abusive situations they experienced while inside shelters. Women trying to leave haunting and abusive experiences in their past were launched into subsequent  unsafe and uncertain spaces. The second issue was the  high cost associated with the shelters. If a halfway house charged $125 a week in rent, Stevens remembers asking herself, "what do you expect them to do to get that $125 a week?”
These women saw no way out of the cycle. Stevens wanted to change that.

An image of thistles inspired Stevens to create a social enterprise that has since helped more than 1,100 women break the cycle of poverty.

In Stevens' hometown of Nashville, she noticed that thistles grew everywhere.
“They’re considered a noxious weed, but they can grow through concrete; through chain-link fences," says Stevens. "They are determined and dogged to bloom. They’re just like the women. They’re just like me. They’re survivors.”

She wanted to support women who, like thistles, aren’t deterred by obstacles in their way. She knew the women she saw on the streets could reclaim their lives, but that they needed help beyond a one-night stay at a halfway house.

“I said, ‘Look, some of the skills that kept you alive on the streets and kept you going — we can harness those,” says Stevens.

So she came up with the idea for a "beautiful home" she would create, called Thistle Farms— a place where women could feel safe, start on a new path, and rediscover themselves.

"I wanted to say: 'you never have to go back to the streets; you never have to go back to prison; you never have to go back to an abuser in your life," she says of the mission of Thistle Farms.

At Thistle Farms, women become part of a community. They help each other thrive and empower others who've walked the same path to lead rich, full lives by giving back to the community — all at no cost to them.

In 1997, Rebecca Stevens welcomed five women into the program. Today, it's helping thousands of women worldwide.

But Thistle Farms doesn't just provide women with a home where their physical, emotional and spiritual needs are met — it helps teach them how to become financially independent using skills they already have.

The women at Thistle Farms make products that promote sustainability and healing, which goes hand-in-hand with what the organization offers them. The first product that the women at Thistle Farms made was a line of therapeutic candles crafted from healing oils. According to Stevens, the women involved in the process felt the healing powers themselves.

"That was the beginning of starting a business that was really not just healing but life-saving," says Stevens. Today, they make everything from candles to body lotions and bath scrubs to essential oils.

Thistle Farms has also created several additional  social enterprises that are thriving, a Global line to support worldwide partners, and a retail space and popular cafe in the heart of Nashville.

Through these ventures, Thistle Farms is able to provide survivors with physical and emotional assistance all while helping them forge a sustainable, financial path forward. The program has created over $1.5 million in income for women survivors in Nashville alone this past year, and Stevens and her crew are only working harder to reach more women survivors each year with services to help them heal.

Thistle Farms is able to persevere by creating opportunities.

And it's through partnerships with nonprofits like Stand Together that the organization is able to uphold and deepen its goal of helping women thrive and succeed in their professional, personal and emotional lives.

Stand Together knows that one of the best ways to end the cycle of poverty — one of America's greatest problems — is by empowering others to believe in themselves. That's why they find, develop and invest in innovative solutions, and social entrepreneurs, like Becca and Thistle Farms, that are removing barriers and successfully empowering people to break the cycle of poverty in their lives and uncover their true potential.

It takes time, but if you ask Stevens, helping people unleash their potential and believe in themselves and rely on their community is the best way to make an impact.

"Create space and time for people to do their own healing work," she says. "If you have time and space, love and trust comes."

(You can go to the link to learn more, donate, or get involved.)
I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....
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Re: Heart to Heart to Win

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The Telepathic Connection Between Animals and Humans

by Bhavika
https://fractalenlightenment.com/36761/ ... and-humans" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

Cosmos and Mana, our 6-year old Indian dogs, patiently wait for our return at the gate. Its only been an hour since we were away to the market to buy supplies, but the ‘welcoming dance’ (the frantic jumping around and sounds) we received at the gate makes it look like ages have passed since we were gone.

The thrill and the joy, not to mention the innumerable licks we get, no matter whether we reciprocate or not, always makes me wonder how do they do that?

How is it possible to have such unconditional love for someone, and no matter what they are always there to put a smile on your face? A valuable lesson for us to learn from our four-legged friends.

Animals and humans share this deep connection incomparable to any other relationship one might have. In fact dogs were the first species to be domesticated by humans — and vice versa of course, at least 32,000 years ago.

They have this uncanny knack of sensing your vibe whether you are excited, sad, depressed, or angry; they can read your thoughts and mind. Like for example, when its bath time, Cosmos tries his best to run away from us because he hates to bathe, and he just knows when we are coming to leash him.

He knows which stranger to bark at (possibly he can see their aura or sense their intentions) and which ones are our friends. This connection runs much deeper than we think.

Telepathic connection
Rupert Sheldrake in his book, “Dogs That Know Their Owners are Coming Home” talks about the telepathic connection between humans and animals, particularly dogs.

He documented several cases that showed dogs and cats anticipating the return of their owners by waiting at a door or window; anticipation of them going away; the anticipation of being fed; cats disappearing when their owners intend to take them to the vet; dogs knowing when their owners are planning to take them for a walk; and animals that get excited when their owner is on the telephone, even before the telephone is answered.

Sheldrake explained this further, “When a dog is strongly bonded to its owner, this bond persists even when the owner is far away and is, I think, the basis of telepathic communication. I see telepathy as a normal, not paranormal, means of communication between members of animal groups.”

Personally I have experienced some of the unexplained behaviour; like our dogs know when we are going away or traveling for days. They start to look sad and gloomy and won’t respond to us when we call them, or they know when we are going to take them to the fields for a walk, they patiently wait for us to open the gate. These incidents are something which perhaps cannot be justified by science, but was surely felt within.

Sheldrake also documents animals’ abilities to sense an impending catastrophe; he mentioned the devastating tsunami that struck Indonesia, during which animals of every species fled the coastline and desperately raced for higher ground.

The life savers
“How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul.” ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett

Dogs are also known to have saved lives of their guardian. Few real life stories show pet dogs being able to detect tumours/cancer in their guardian by alerting them or nuzzling them that something was wrong and required the attention of the guardian. Due to their robust sense of smell, dogs have the ability to sniff out cancer.

Typically, Labradors and Working Spaniels are trained as cancer detection dogs as they have good noses and about 30% of their brain is dedicated to analysing odour, including the minute smells associated with many cancers.

Dogs Can Smell Cancer | Secret Life of Dogs | BBC

Everything is connected to everything else
The relationship we share with our dogs goes beyond just giving commands or taking them for walks, there are moments when a single gaze is enough to communicate in an unspoken language. When your bond with an animal is strong sometimes even the thought of a command is enough for the animal to respond to it.

“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.” ~ Martin Buber

When our son was just a toddler and exploring his surroundings, our dog Mana always stayed with him whenever we weren’t around or in the house. She made sure he was doing fine; our son is 5 years old now and shares a very special bond with her.

Its a heart-warming experience to see them play together, a true reflection of purity and innocence, which we, adults have lost with the deeply ingrained layers of conditioning and beliefs.

There was another instance when during my pregnancy I slipped on a mossy step while taking Cosmos for a walk, and he instantly lifted his paw in a way to comfort me, like his way of asking me, “are you ok?”

My husband, Clyde had an intimate moment with an Oriental Garden Lizard. The little fellow had fallen into a dry pool and couldn’t get out. He used a bamboo stick to help him get out, but the lizard kept running away. Finally Clyde spoke to him and said that he was trying to help him and that he just had to sit on the stick.

After another failed attempt, finally the lizard sat on the stick, and the coolest part is after being rescued he sat there for a moment without running away. Clyde asked him for permission to touch him and as soon as his finger felt the lizard’s rough scale, the lizard ran away. An experience like this shows that we have a much larger connection with nature than what we’re aware of.

When you tune in to this space and feel the love for everything around you, you suddenly realise how everything is interconnected and that we are all part of nature.

Dogs are our oldest friends
Dog sniffed out breast cancer
Doberman saved owner’s life
Paddy the dog ‘sniffs out’ owner’s breast cancer
I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....
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Re: Heart to Heart to Win

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Everyone can do something that emerges and wants to express from the heart. In a sea of many changes sweeping across the world, there are endless ways to reach out and “touch” someone. Heart to heart to win!

This winter as our Christmas holiday approaches, as with any holiday, I reflect deeply about what it means to me, and how I might still use the moment to channel my energy into ways that are still in accord with my values. I know the story of Thanksgiving, as it has been taught to most of us here in the US, is a total lie. So I use it instead to honor and spend time with my loved ones, and to find ways to express a genuine sense of gratitude to the earth who provides, and just pay attention to ways that spirit shows me I can be of service.

For Christmas I recently hatched an idea that I quite like. I have a whole bunch of crafting supplies, especially for beadwork, plus books and easy to follow instructions. I used to have a store with a craft room in the back, and have stored all this stuff ever since. I am doing the farm life thing now, and already have trouble with my hands swelling, aching, and basically not wanting to work right, so I’m fairly certain I will not be picking up the hobby again. It will take me a bit to gather it all together, and I will have to make a few phone calls. But I plan to donate it all to a women’s shelter, that hopefully also has kids. As I thought about the idea that had emerged in my mind, I could feel my heart expanding. Yes! This is how ya do it! One little act at a time. I write this all to encourage others who perhaps think they have nothing to give. But everyone has something to give, even if sometimes it’s just a smile, and a nod, and a look of acceptance.

Humble Man Walks Almost Entire Perimeter of Mexico Saving Hundreds of Sick and Injured Dogs

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/edgardo ... s-of-dogs/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

A few months ago, Stuart Williams was driving out of the small Mexican town of Mazunte, Oaxaca, when he saw a peculiar sight on the side of the road. A man was pushing a trolley down the road surrounded by a dozen dogs.

“Dogs were on top of his trolley. Dogs were behind him, in front of him and by his side. Tails were wagging furiously, barks were sounding and he just kept pushing his trolley through the heat,” he told GNN.

Williams calls himself the ‘Yogi Photographer’ and after hearing the story of Edgardo “Perros” Juarez, he produced a short documentary about this humble man who has single-handedly rescued almost 500 dogs.

Edgardo is walking the entire perimeter of Mexico saving sick and injured street dogs along the way.

On the road for six years, Edgardo Perros has inspired hundreds of humans, too.

And here is another one:

This 9-year-Old “Sells” His Custom Pet Paintings For Food and Supplies For Animal Shelters (you’ll have to go to the link to see the many beautiful images posted with the articles - and, the many ads too!)

https://truththeory.com/2019/10/29/this ... -shelters/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;?

Even the youngest of us can make a sea change in society only if we have the determination and dedication to do so. This is being proven by Pavel Abramov, who took up the responsibility of helping an animal shelter. The boy sells custom pet portraits in exchange for food and other supplies for the animal shelter. 

This idea came to his brilliant little mind when his family lost their pet “Barsik”. It had a great impact on his juvenile mind and since then he couldn’t bear to see stray animals suffering. About one year ago, Pavel and his mom Ekaterina Bolshakova started the “Kind Paintbrush” project.

Living in Arzamas city in Russia, the mom-son duo has also been managing “What a little volunteer is capable of?” This is a group on VK- a Russian social media site. It shows how a child is capable of bringing about huge changes. They don’t get any funds from any organization; neither do they have a manager or employees. It’s just the two of them and their patrons.

Pavel makes a contract with pet owners whereby the boy sells custom pet portraits of their pets in exchange for food, medicines, toys, etc., for dogs living in the animal shelter. What is more interesting is that he meets the pets whom he drew after finishing the painting. He likes getting to know about the rescue story of every single pet, of how they came to live with their current family.

This project has got a great response from pet owners and animal lovers, not only in Russia but across the world! People from countries like Germany and Spain even have got custom paintings made by Pavel.

The 9-year-old kid is the youngest among all the volunteers of the sole animal shelter in Arzamas. It cares for more than 100 dogs and thus needs pet supplies regularly. The boy sells custom pet portraits to the pet owners and in return asks for whatever supplies the shelter requires at that time.

Ekaterina Bolshakova says that the whole family takes pride in their son’s project “Kind Paintbrush”. As every kid of his age, Pavel wants to do several things and thus runs short of time. He wants to become an architect and build an animal shelter. Well, for now, what he is doing is enough because not every boy sells custom pet portraits in exchange for food and other supplies for a shelter!

Many may have heard of this guy too!

I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....
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Re: Heart to Heart to Win

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Amazing Young Girl Grows Her Own Food And Builds 11 Cabins To Help The Homeless

Feb 28, 2020

(You’ll have to go to the link for all the beautiful photos - here in a couple weeks when I get another computer I’ll post some of them here)

Hailey Ford might looked like any other little girl at first glance, but nobody would have thought that this amazing girl had built up to 11 cabins and has been farming actively to help the homeless.

In 2012, at 6 years old, Hailey started a garden to grow food for the homeless in our community. Since then the garden and her impact to the community have grown.

It all started eight years ago when Ford and her mother went to the grocery store where they met the homeless Edward. At that time, Edward was roaming the streets and had not been eating for days. Looking at that, the then 6-year-old Ford begged her mother to buy a sandwich for Edward.

Touched by Ford’s generous gesture, Edward cried upon receiving the sandwich.

Ford later met Billy Ray, a veteran who lost his leg during the war. However, Ford’s mother explained to her that they can’t help everyone because they didn’t come from a rich family. Hearing that, Ford was feeling quite sad but decided that she will not give up. If she can’t buy food to help these people, she will grow them herself.

That was the time Ford started to grow vegetables on her yards. With zero experience in farming, Ford took her time at night to read books and study about it.

Just a few months later, she successfully harvested her first batch of vegetables.

They were carrots, soybeans, and potatoes.

This first batch of vegetables that she harvested, she gave it to Billy Ray.

Ford wanted to give her food she grows to more people, but it’s not enough. So, Ford decided to grow more vegetables and luckily helped out by her kind neighbors too.

With more food coming from her garden, Ford excitedly washed, packed and ready to give them to more people in need.

Thanks to her amazing effort, most of the homeless in the area recognized Hailey, thanked her for all the good things she did for them and become good friends with her.

Her neighbors helped her too.

Her little garden is not so little anymore.

We’re sure that will be enough for everybody!

When we think Hailey is satisfied with all the help she’s giving, it didn’t stop there. After donating the food from her small farm to the homeless, Ford realizes that all these people didn’t have anywhere to sleep properly.

“They can’t sleep on the streets. People need to have a house,” told Ford to her mother.

Her mother knew that it’s impossible for them to provide a house for the homeless, but Ford didn’t agree. She then started her effort to build these homeless a proper place for them to sleep and have a good rest at night.
Ford started to build cabins.

She confidently handles her own tools.

Thanks to her noble intention, the local store called Lowe’s whose selling the materials Ford needed to build the cabins gave her a 50% discount for all the things she bought. Her family also helped her out by recycling denim and woods to construct the cabin. The cabin is also provided with a heater.

After it was completed, 23 people in the neighborhood came to help Ford move her cabin.

Ford is determined to build more cabins in the future and excited to know that the Lowe store will keep on supporting her by providing all the things she will need in the future.

She also received a donation of feminine supplies from a woman named Katie. Katie wanted to support Ford’s noble gesture and asked the little girl to ask for more supplies if it’s not enough.

Ford with the feminine supplies donated by Katie.

Not only that, but Ford also received a donation worth USD3,000, which she used to buy daily needs for the homeless children during Christmas.

“They called me Santa Claus,” told Ford recalling the moment she helped those children in need.

We’ll say you have such a beautiful heart worthy of a Santa, Ford! Despite her young age, Ford is definitely an inspiration to all of us.
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Re: Heart to Heart to Win

Post by Spiritwind »

You’ll have to go to the link to see the article and beautiful photos that accompany it, but with so much doom and gloom floating around out there, I thought this might pick up someone’s day. Even the animal kingdom has it figured out, why can’t we? Actually, many do, it’s just those stories are kind of getting drowned out lately.

13 Amazing Photos of Animals Helping Other Animals

https://heavy.com/entertainment/2013/02 ... s-stories/
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Re: Heart to Heart to Win

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Orangutans and otters strike up darling friendship at Belgium zoo

https://www.livescience.com/orangutan-o ... iends.html?

By Laura Geggel - Associate Editor April 08, 2020
This furry friendship is an enrichment experience for both creatures.


A family of orangutans and a romp of river otters are the furriest of friends, according to zookeepers in Belgium who purposefully arranged for the primates' and mustelids' habitats to intersect. 

Photos of these curious bedfellows went viral after Pairi Daiza, a privately owned zoo and botanical garden located in Belgium's province of Hainaut, recently posted them on Facebook. 

"The presence of a family of Asian small-clawed otters in [the orangutans'] territories is not a coincidence," Mathieu Goedefroy, Pairi Daiza spokesperson, told Live Science in an email. Orangutans (genus Pongo) share 97% of their DNA with humans, and like their Homo sapiens' cousins, orangutans "must be entertained, occupied, challenged and kept busy mentally, emotionally and physically at all times," Goedefroy said.

So, the zoo chose to let the otter family (Amblonyx cinereus) live in the river that runs through the orangutan habitat. 

"The otters really enjoy getting out of the water on the orangutan island to go and play with their big, furry friends," Goedefroy said. "It makes life more fun and interesting for both animal species, which makes it a very successful experiment."

The unlikely animal friends even warmed the heart of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who tweeted: "Oh my god. My two favourite animals, together, having story time. And if you know this is photoshopped, don't tell me, because I don't want to know."

The zoo has five orangutans: a male and female couple named Gempa and Sinta, as well as a family of three — the 24-year-old daddy Ujian, 15-year-old mommy Sari and their 4-year-old son Berani, who arrived at Pairi Daiza in 2017 after they moved from Heidelberg Zoo in Germany. 

The father-son duo Ujian and Berani have already "developed a very special bond with their neighbors," Goedefroy noted. 

In addition to playing with their otter friends, the orangutans, a subspecies from Sumatra, have a number of other enrichment programs, "where our keepers entertain them all day long with mind games, riddles, puzzles and other stuff to train their intelligence," Goedefroy said.

All three species of orangutan are critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This includes the Bornean (P. pygmaeus) and Sumatran (P. abelii) orangutans, as well as the Tapanuli orangutan (P. tapanuliensis), which lives in the Batang Toru forests of Sumatra, Indonesia, and was confirmed as a distinct species in 2017. There are fewer than 800 known P. tapanuliensis orangutans in the wild, the IUCN reported. 

In total, the orangutan population on Borneo and Sumatra stands at about 71,820 individuals, according to a 2016 report by the IUCN. These orangutans are endangered, in large part, because of deforestation (from palm oil exploitation in their forests) and poaching. 

In the late 1990s, orangutans experienced catastrophic habitat loss in southern Borneo because of the Mega Rice Project. During this project, people tried to replace 2 million acres (1 million hectares) of forest with rice crops to help them achieve food self-sufficiency, according to Pairi Daiza's website. However, the project didn't work; no rice grew in the forest soil. 

"While the project was quickly abandoned, the forest still bears the scars: It is impossible for the native vegetation to return to these dried-out lands," Pairi Daiza said. The zoo has now raised funds to help plant 11,000 trees in the devastated forests of Borneo, Goedefroy said.
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Re: Heart to Heart to Win

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You care for birds, and they heal you’: film profiles world of a Black falconer

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... ck-raptors?

A new documentary, The Falconer, follows Rodney Stotts, who found fulfillment in working with raptors and inner-city kids

Falconry is a profession with roots in the ancient Middle East and medieval Europe but one of its practitioners is making some history of his own.

Rodney Stotts is one of the few Black falconers in the US. He works with raptors such as red-tailed hawks and Harris hawks, as well as with an owl named Mr Hoots. He is now the subject of a new documentary directed by Annie Kaempfer, The Falconer, that screened at the Atlanta film festival ahead of the second annual Black Birders Week (an event created after a white woman called the police on a Black birdwatcher in Central Park in New York last year, prompting a national outcry).

Stotts has seen his work hit by the Covid pandemic and is relocating from his previous raptor sanctuary in Laurel, Maryland, to Charlotte Courthouse, Virginia. The new site takes its name from his late mother’s nickname – Dippy’s Dream. Stotts spoke with the Guardian about honoring his mother through his new project, the importance of exposure to falconry in inner-city DC, and mentoring the next generation of Black falconers.

How does someone become a master falconer?
To become a falconer, you have to find either someone who has been a general falconer for three years or a master falconer to sponsor you. Once you have a sponsor, you take a test. Your aviary is inspected and the sponsor takes you out to trap a bird. Then there’s a one-to-two-year apprenticeship, and the sponsor writes about whether you should be promoted to general falconer.

Once that’s done you can have different birds for a few months. You’re a general falconer for five years. After five years and some paperwork, you become a master falconer. It takes seven years to become a master falconer and then you are that for the rest of your life as long as you reapply each year.

What skills does a master falconer need to have? And what do you learn?
Being a falconer is going to teach you everything. It will break you. You can be the hardest person in the world, and yet it will break you down and rebuild you. The birds just look at you, and you have to learn patience, deal with difficult situations, critical thinking in difficult times. Everything about who you are is going to change.

Can you talk about what it is like to find the next generation of Black youth who are interested in becoming master falconers?

In the inner city, in DC, they don’t have falconers at all there. You never see a falconer because it’s not talked about, there’s no exposure. But once people see [a falconer], it’s not “there’s another Black guy.” They see a falconer, period. Then they see that it’s someone who looks like them. It’s not the opposite way around.

As for the birds, it doesn’t matter what color your skin to them.
Kids say, “I didn’t know there were red-tailed hawks.” They believe that every bird is an eagle. The kestrel, the smallest raptor in the Americas, they saw that as an eagle. But once they’re exposed to it, there’s encouragement, exposure, excitement. That’s when I get excited. In the documentary, I say, “you never know who’s the next raptor specialist” – you don’t have to be a falconer. You care for birds, and they heal you. It’s amazing.

How is the work going on your current project, Dippy’s Dream?
It’s coming along. I found about another three and a half acres, three wooded acres to finish cutting down, and a little three-acre campground. So we’re parceling out the actual camp, sealing a little bit of the trees around it so there’s a little privacy.

I was working at a job with a raptor program in a sanctuary at the Oak Hill youth detention center, a juvenile detention center for DC youth. When the Covid-19 pandemic came around, [it affected] all the jobs. I lost mine, the place closed down. It got me to this understanding of not always working for someone else. It was my opportunity to get Dippy’s Dream up and going. What I wanted was go on from there.

My mom had already passed away [when I made the purchase]. I really wanted to do something in her name; she always wanted a house with kids coming home to [it]. She grew up on a farm with animals. I knew how healing they could be. There would be a playground where people could come out. It would be free. You could donate, basically, whatever you can afford … Because you might think you could not afford it and not deserve it. You might not have $500 to pay to go experience horseback riding, dealing with birds, sitting in nature.
It sounds like the pandemic has caused you to make these changes.

Oh, yes. It shut everything down. Ninety-nine per cent of what I do is face-to-face, up close and personal, getting a child to see the birds, hold a bird. The pandemic stopped all of that. It shut me down for a whole year, pretty much.
What parts of the job do you enjoy the most?

Just showing people my birds to see them smile. I have a picture of my mom just holding one of my birds. Whenever I fly the bird that’s named after her, she’s just with me. It’s the healing side of it.

At the end of the day, my legacy, I want it to be that I helped. I did enough hurt. That’s the one thing I would like people to realize. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, who you are … it doesn’t matter where you started or what you’ve been through. You can always come out at the end if you believe.
I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....
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