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Happy Lunar New Year!

The holiday season is always hard without loved ones near, with the continuance of time and change all around. Gratitude brings us some peace and quiet, enough to be at least a little proud of how far we’ve come…how on earth have we made it this far….reminding and focusing us on the work to be done since we are still here.

  • To help others by lifting spirits.

  • To play our part in cosmic healing with the help of our strong angels.

  • Reminding us to live out our truth, be authentic, recognize the beauty in and around us,

  • and join in nature's dance and song.

2023 has a lot in store and we’re super excited to tell you what we’ve been working on.

It’s been a long time, and we feel like we have a lot of catching up to do. Here’s what’s included in today's newsletter.

  • Website Updates

  • Love of Life Festival Updates

  • An Interview with the Scholarship Recipients

  • Marion County FL Fair Art Contest

  • Looking for Sponsors

Have you visited our website lately?

We’ve added pages that describe our programs in more detail. It should be noted that the Grief Week page ends by explaining how to contact us with the information we need should our support be needed.

We’ve also been working on our resource pages. When you have the time, please take a look. We’d love your feedback! What would help us make our resource pages more complete is if you have any suggestions on what has helped you, that we already haven’t mentioned.

Please let us know, and we can add on to our pages.

KLT LOL Festival Updates

Save the date: May 6, 2023. Same time; same place.

We’ve updated the Love of Life Festival pages on our website also. All the details for the event can be found there, even the list of musicians for this year's entertainment!!!

The art vendors and food trucks have already started contacting us. Feel free to pass the information on to your favorite artist or food truck. Y’all remember Dale the pickle man?

Most of the bands are coming back this year, with excitement!

On the Daisy Stage

  • Ryan Thurgaland w/ Special Guests

  • Gypsy Sparrow

  • Cliff Dorsey

  • Damon Slaughter

On the Monarch Stage

  • Humans in Disguise

  • Wilde

  • Macey Mac & the Slickwood Band

  • And Propaganjah!!!

Scholarship Recipients Update ~ by Elizabeth Thurgaland

“Artists are unlike most people, really connected and share a different perspective and understanding of human nature.” - Matia (Mia) Prescott, VHS Class of 2021

Matia is in her second year at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York City and has found herself a home away from home. She spent her first holiday season on her own this year in her first apartment that she shares with friends. Since classes started back up on January 4th, she was able to take time to rest and prepare for her finals coming up as well as a couple of really crucial auditions that she has been looking forward to for a long time.

The first audition was in the middle of her finals week, which was full of dancing and was very fun and stressful, but Mia feels confident because she knows she gave it her heart. That audition was recorded and sent to some of the biggest casting agencies in the area. The week following Mia auditioned with Actress and Director, Chrissie Whitehead, a big name in Broadway who Mia has been looking up to for years and has the opportunity to work with her! In the past year, Mia also had the chance to work with another inspiring actress and singer, Brandi Massey. Mia describes her 2021 as new and exciting, getting herself out there and involved and 2022 as eventful, insightful, learning more about herself and awakening to who she wants to be. She said she is still discovering new things but now knows how the subway works and has found her favorite coffee shops. Feeling relief with these calm familiarities, she says she has found a place where she can thrive in her creativity and surround herself with similar souls, dreamers, and goal-getters. She has 6 more months at AMDA and then will be working full time, auditioning, and finding her next roles in performing arts in NYC by leveraging her connections and education. Confident and prepared for what is coming in 2023 and Mia is ready to take it by storm.

“Rocket launches inspire me and keep me going. At the end of a football game, everyone stayed to watch a rocket launch, and moments like that remind me why I’m here.” - Logan Hammer, VHS Class of 2022

Logan is beginning his second semester in his first year of college at the University of Central Florida. The holidays were very busy; home for Christmas and gone the next day, he went back to UCF to practice with the Marching Knights and then to Washington DC for the Military Bowl Parade and Game, UCF Vs. Duke. Classes have started off light and easy but ramping up very soon, he has Calculus 2, Physics 1, Concepts and Methods for Engineering, and Film. His schedule this semester allows for a calm morning routine with his classes starting every day at 10:30 am. Logan is also a member of Jammin Knights this semester which is the pep band for the basketball games. Ending high school and beginning at college in 2022 was like two different lives, attacking a whole different beast and totally different game to handle and he says it's all about taking responsibility and accountability, prioritizing classes, self-care, and making new friends. Logan also said that joining the Marching Knight's first semester really helped with the transition and was a great way to build connections. Knowing the potential of 2023 and all that is awaiting in his path ahead, Logan is excited to take the lessons he has learned last year into the next and make more great memories and experiences. He has already signed a lease for his first apartment with his friends in Orlando for the fall. He is looking forward to moving on from dorm life, and his dog Milo will also be able to join him next semester. By the end of this semester, he expects to have improved and gained better confidence in the environment he is in and taking advantage of all of the resources available.

“I feel prepared to make my new year’s resolutions last throughout the entire year, with follow-through and intention” - Duncan Blackstock, VHS Class of 2022

Duncan was home for the holidays and said he had a wonderful time and got to see a lot of friends and have quality time with his family. Duncan is back on campus at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee for the second semester of his first year of college and feeling both relief and stress. While feeling glad to be back in the swing of things, he says the initial syllabus days bring stressors with new faces and new classrooms. He is dorm-mates with my brother, Ryan Thurgaland, and said that they have a lot of morning classes together which is great for the alarm clocks. The classes he is taking this semester are Oral Skills, Health & Fitness Concepts, Poetry, Piano, and Music Education Seminar (3x a semester). Duncan describes 2022 as a celebratory, and turning point in his life as he transitioned into college and away from home. He is excited for 2023 and prepared to make resolutions he has for himself last throughout the year, to be in better physical shape, stay level-headed and be kind. The biggest challenge he will face is overcoming any fatigue in willpower, avoiding distractions, and staying on task. Other than classes and getting out to meet new people, there are a couple of hobbies he has been picking up including Disc Golf and playing the guitar more. Duncan says that he feels that he has so much support from not only his friends and family but also the community at Belmont through the mentorship he has found from teachers and fellow musicians. He is working on refining his college track to minor in Music Business and major in Music Education as they will complement one another and the combination will be great for his future and career. By the end of this semester, he said that he sees himself growing into who he is and what he wants to do, and also growing academically with more vigorous classes.

Marion County Fl Fair

Not only do we have a booth at the Marion County fair this year, but we’ve been invited to host the very first art contest! The dates of the fair are February 16th through the 26th, but the art contest runs between February 18th through the 25th. We are accepting submissions till 9 pm February 17th, then everything will be exhibited the next morning. Everything you need to know about the art contest can be found here;

Speaking of Sponsors

We need sponsors for the Love of Life Festival, and for our Grief Week program.

If you or anyone you know may be interested in helping out by being a sponsor please contact us. We’d also appreciate suggestions on who we should contact, or any guidance to point us in the right direction. After all, we’re continuously learning as we go.

We have information for sponsorship levels for the Love of Life Festival here;

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