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Giving Heals a Heart

This year, in response to the challenges presented by the pandemic, Step Up Ventura held our inaugural Virtual Art and Gift Fair.


Our hope was to create a win-win-win opportunity for local artists who were unable to participate in holiday street fairs, for the patrons of these events who purchase hand-made items for themselves or as gifts, and for our agency receiving the pledged donations from the artists.


In one particular case, a donation, a purchase and a donation resulted in healing and reconciliation.


Barbara Lewis learned of her brother’s unexpected death earlier in the year. She hadn’t heard from or about her brother in decades. Surprised to learn of his death, she was stunned that she would be receiving a moderate inheritance.


Her shock and sadness were mixed with feeling overwhelmed. She knew the boy who had been her brother but knew little of the man he’d become. She didn’t know Michael and was at a loss of what to do with his money. She wanted to use it in a way that demonstrated her love for him and feelings of loss, which she’d felt since he’d isolated himself from their family many years before. So much was now unresolvable.


While all of the artists that participated in our Virtual Fair agreed to donate a small portion of their sales, Adele Fergusson and members of the Ventura Modern Quilt Guild (VMQG) generously made an outright donation of a beautiful, handmade quilt. Words such as, “joy,” “compassion,” “hope,” and “family” were stitched into the queen-size quilt.


Barbara is also a member of VMQG and when she learned of its gift to Step Up Ventura the question of how to spend her inheritance in a way that honored her brother and contributed to the greater good was answered.


She decided on purchasing the quilt, with the intention of perhaps lending it to local churches to use as an inspirational backdrop. Additionally, she made a generous donation to Step Up Ventura.


We are so grateful to Barbara Lewis and hope that she and Michael are at peace.

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