In 2007, FOF Babbie Lovett helped restore the Ken Theatre in McCrory, Arkansas from an abandoned movie house to a cutting edge performing arts center for children and adults who had little exposure to theater.
“The mayor of our town bought and renovated an old movie house, the Ken Theatre. I told him, you can’t have a movie house in a town our size, it just won’t pay. Let’s put in a stage and I’ll get the lights and the sound and we’ll have a production place where we can introduce theater to children. We started three years ago and it’s doing great. Kids and adults (many who have never been involved with the arts) are writing their own shows and having the best time. It just proves that it doesn’t matter where you are, the creativity is there, it’s just a matter of exposure and opportunity.”
FOF Sherry DeRosa had been in and out of medical centers for months after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Frustrated with navigating the often-confusing medical system, she swore if she survived she would make changes so other women facing the same plight would have more choices and guidance. After being told she was cancer-free this past year, she started her advocacy services, Shining Light, to help people navigate the medical system and other life challenges. This past June she was named “Honorary Survivor” by Sacred Heart Hospital in Au Claire, Wisconsin.
“I was ‘the noisy patient.’ I’m passionate about improving care for women. I don’t care what cancer you have, when you walk in the door I want somebody to shake your hand and say, ‘I’m a survivor.'”
FOF Alexis Marnel spent 13 years volunteering as an art counselor in group homes for troubled youth. In 2001 she formalized her volunteer work into an organization called The Artists Collective for Social Change.
“I bring art to people who do not have access to quality art education. I’ve realized I’m a ‘spiritually creative mother’ to these kids, many of whom don’t have parents. When I came to that realization, I just cried. The kids have such distinct memories based on art activities we did together. They send me e-mails and Facebook messages saying they remember cakes we sculpted together when they were 8–and now they’re adults. The other day I got a Facebook message that said, “Is this Ms. Alexis who took me to my first Broadway show?”