Karin Downs * 16 Seagrave Road, Cambridge, MA 02140 * (617) 833-2911* firstname.lastname@example.org
I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.
-Lillian Smith (look her up – a person worth knowing about)
June 11, 2017
Dear Friends and Family,
I am starting my letter to you with gratitude, to each of you have donated to the Elizabeth Stone House in support of my hike, and to those who have wished me strength and grace over the past 12 years of hiking. I take all your well wishes with me as I start my 13th year of the hike. And, just to let you know, although I have lost track of exactly how much I have raised over the past 12 years, it is something in range of $57,000, which is truly amazing. So THANK YOU for your part in this, and thank you for your on-going support.
This year, more than ever, I feel drawn to act on my belief that strength, resilience and hope come from connection with each other in community. For me, this includes supporting the mission of the Elizabeth Stone House to create a healing community for families rendered homeless because of trauma, including domestic violence, substance misuse or mental illness. Programs at the Stone House are strongly grounded in the belief that healing from trauma springs from giving and receiving help, understanding that we are all vulnerable, and that we gather strength from supporting each other in community. Their programs have made a profound difference in so many people’s lives. A former ESH resident described her time at ESH poignantly. “After coming here, I went to court and my name was legally changed. I took time to mourn, and begin my healing process. I am no longer afraid of the dark…of noises in the night…and I don’t walk with my head down”. You can learn more about ESH at their website:http://www.elizabethstonehouse.org/.
Recently, at a celebration of the American Friends Service Committee, AFSC, with whom I worked in Cambodia and Laos, they asked us how we waged peace. I asked my granddaughters Angel and Kai, and they had no trouble coming up with ways: by dancing, singing, being kind, sharing, being creative, playing with slime, playing soccer, sharing with friends – and, the list went on. My list is endless as well - I wage peace by hiking to raise money for the ESH – so that they can wage peace by building a healing community. As I and other hikers raise money for the ESH, we connect to the work of the Stone House, and also with each other through shared stories of pain and resilience, despair and hope, our common love of the wilderness and environment, and those who have loved and supported us on our journeys. This is my community – the hikers, staff and families of the Elizabeth Stone House, my own family and friends, those who have gone before me to instill a love of the wilderness, each of you who have supported or donated to my hike – this is how I mitigate the violence that affects us all – by creating connections, and trusting that even in these hard political times, love overcomes fear.
And, I wage peace by making chai – with sales going to the ESH and bringing warmth and a sense of comfort and well-being (I hope) to those who drink through our cold New England winters, or in company of friends and families. I do this as my part to raise funds for the ESH as I donate all proceeds from my chai sales to the ESH. So far this year I have donated over $2000 by selling chai, made from a recipe I developed by watching a “Chai Didi” brew her magic in Nepal. You can pick up a latte at Boston Brewin’ on Bromfield St. in Boston:
You can also contact me to buy quarts of Chai Syrup (I am working on a dry chai, but that isn't ready for marketing yet).
Once again, I am hoping that those of you who are able, will donate to my hike to provide support for the ESH. And, if this is not a time for you to donate, I welcome your well-wishes and warm thoughts. I can’t do this without your help. Between your donations and Himali Chai, sales I hope to raise $8,000. Last year I raised just over $7,500, so this is a stretch, and I am starting my fund-raising late. But, more important than the amount I raise is the number of people who donate. Last year over 100 people donated to the hike – including family, co-workers, and a wide community of friends whose paths have crossed mine at some or many points. Once again this year a corporate sponsor (Natixis Global Assets) is supporting the cost of the hike logistics, so all your donations go directly to the programs at the Stone House to benefit families and strengthen the communities in which they live.
Feel free to reach out to me – with questions about Elizabeth Stone House, the hike, what I carry in my pack (not much, but it is all important), what I eat (a hot topic among hikers), why I am going to Thailand this summer (to scatter my Dad’s ashes with all my siblings), stories from the trails, from Elizabeth Stone House, anything really – I love to connect.
This year another Joan Armtrading song speaks to me: In these times
Love to you all and thank you,