I was a 10-year-old boy growing up in a sketchy neighborhood and having family problems, both which made me see the world as a very small place. I decided to expand my world by becoming a member of the Bloomington Boys and Girls Club. I made new friends and learned so many different things. The Club offered several after school clubs; cooking, book club, chemistry and violin lessons. I came home with the registration and told my mom I was interested in learning how to play the violin and that day changed my life forever. When I approached my mom about the idea, she was ecstatic but surprised that of all the options, I chose the violin. When I started my lessons I met my teacher Anastasia, who I am still friends with to this day. She said I had potential and that she had never met anyone my age with so much potential and love of the instrument. She was so delighted that she offered to continue giving me private lessons free of charge. As I improved, I enjoyed the violin more and more. I also began keyboard lessons taught by Anastasia’s friend Crystal. One day it was announced that I was the recipient of a performing arts scholarship for playing the violin; just doing what I loved. My mom and I attended the scholarship party and Dot Kesling presented me with a plaque and the scholarship. Due to scheduling conflicts, I decided it was best to give my scholarship money to both Anastasia and Crystal for all they did for me and my mom.
Dot visited the Club, wanting to get the word out about carbon monoxide poisoning and was asking for volunteers to help with the upcoming event. I asked if I could man the door and take the lead in getting signatures while informing and asking people if they would like to help the cause and end deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning in Indiana. After the event Dot and I really bonded. We have been a power duo for years now. I later discontinued the keyboard to pursue only the violin; taking lessons at the Club while also starting in the school orchestra. I started in the 6th grade, played through middle school and once I became a high school freshman, I joined HYP (high school youth philharmonic). HYP is the blending of two rival schools into one, up on that stage performing beautiful music together. The places I've been and played because of the violin are phenomenal. As a freshman, HYP performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. where I was among 100+ students representing Bloomington, Indiana. We received a standing ovation--I will never forget it. Last year, HYP took us to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. We earned 2nd place in the competition. We don’t know where our trip will be this year but it will most likely be a place I wouldn’t have a chance to see otherwise.
>span class="dial-congress-scanned">Two summers ago I traveled to Michigan City, Indiana, to participate in an LOK Wishing Tree Foundation event. I was asked to welcome and show them around. I was able to see the impact that the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation has had in providing kids across the nation experiences they might not have ever been given. Seeing the potential of wonderful young artists is so inspirational. Dot is amazing. She is saving so many people every single day that it's hard to comprehend. I am truly grateful for all I have been given, thanks to the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation. They helped me grow and become a better person. I'm glad that this is a part of my life and that it will be for years to come.
From: Timmy Barron
Some of my fondest memories growing up were the trips my family would take from Owensboro, KY to LaPorte, IN to visit our favorite cousins. Though it was a grueling 8 hour drive, my mom having 4 kids under 10 and her sister Dot having 4 kids under 10, the amount of fun that would be had when we arrived would rival that of renting out all of Disney World for a private event.
Amongst this group of family was Lindsey. Lindsey and I were only a year apart. She was the one I would get the most excited about seeing. We had similar interests, laughed at the same things and our imaginations would sync quicker than a pair of identical twins.
>span class="dial-congress-scanned">However, the place in my heart for the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation goes beyond remembering Lindsey. Though CO awareness and saving lives is the steam that runs this engine, the amount of young artists that have been encouraged and inspired to pursue their love for the arts is the fire that creates this steam.
Lindsey and I shared a love for the performing arts. Because of her I have been able to share that same joy with young kids who may not have had a chance to experience this love. What a gift it has been to see 6 year olds begin to understand what it means to be confident in front of a group of people, say yes to each other and follow the fear that can be so detrimental to personal growth.
Like I stated before, I have a huge place in my heart for the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation, not just because of my beautiful cousin Lindsey but because of the beauty that has been created for others out of such a tragedy.
I love you Lindsey and I can only hope that you are looking down and smiling at the lives that are being saved, changed and developed because of the memory of you.
Dear Janet Bloch and The Lindsey O'Brien Kesling Wishing Tree Foundation,
I would like to start out by saying thank you from the bottom of my heart, Without the generous gift of the violin grant, (for the past 2 years) we never would have known the extent of the benefits from Will playing the violin. Everything from improved self-esteem, confidence, desire to learn more, improvement in school, and to further enrich his love for music.
He started playing drums at the age of five. The new Pine opened, and he instantly gravitated to Art. Soon after, he discovered piano. We realized he learns quickly, loves music, and has a gift. Then one day he came home and asked to play violin, I thought it was a passing phase. He came home from his first lesson and begged for his own violin, asking every other day starting in January (2014). It was the only thing he wanted for his birthday, he got his wish. He sits in his room and just loves to play, it truly is a beautiful thing.
Another incredible benefit is being able to hear and feel sound through the violin, Will has health problems with hearing certain sounds, which translated into spelling and vowel issues. Through the tones of the violin, possibly the way it is played, he feels the sound. He has never had bad grades but has to study twice as hard as someone who hears the sounds normally. His spelling and reading skills have improved, and his math is straight A's. After all, music is math, and math is music. I just wanted to let you know how grateful we are, and some of the positive effects your generous gift has given our family, and our surrounding community,
Nicky Mazur http://nickymazur.com/lindsey-...
I support the LOK Foundation because it SAVES LIVES as it both continues to enhance the public’s awareness of the fatal danger of carbon monoxide poisoning and provides avenues for CO detectors. This movement is building momentum and not just in Indiana. Every spared life represents a victory over this silent, but deadly killer. If my beautiful, young niece had had a detector in her apartment, she would be here today. I would not wish this on anyone.
~ Jo Baron
I have seen several of the art programs provided by the LOK Foundation for the Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington, IN They are entertaining, educational and inspiring for underprivileged children who not only get to witness excellent artistry, but also be “up close and personal” with these artists, able to interact with them to learn how they began their careers and thus creating in their formative minds the idea that YES! they, too, could follow in those footsteps if they so chose. Dreams are truly birthed through these programs.
When I first think of LOK Wishing Tree Foundation, I think of how it helps children & young adults fulfill their dreams in performing arts. At the same time, I also think of how this wonderful foundation saves lives by increasing awareness & reducing the likelihood of this preventable tragedy. It truly is a wonderful Foundation with a great mission!
~ Sue & Bob Tagmyer
For many years, a local landscaping service has assisted in our lawn care. A couple years ago, one of the crew members suffered a seizure-like episode at our home. It was traumatic. Upon asking his boss what had happened, I learned that several years earlier, this young man and a co-worker suffered carbon monoxide poisoning while cleaning carpets, due to equipment running in an enclosed space. Fortunately, they were dragged out of the apartment in time and received adequate medical attention; however, the resulting brain damage was sever and permanent.
About the time of this very personal incident, I learned of the existence of the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation and of the work they strive to accomplish in raising awareness of this silent but very serious killer. I cannot express how important their task of exposing innocent but unaware people to the proximate danger of this ever present danger.
I’ve been fortunate to have been educated that death or permanent disability are the very real consequences of CO exposure. To get that message out, is a most worthwhile and urgent mission, a mission every adult should support.
Thank you for your consideration,
Dan O’Meara, Valparaiso, Indiana