Newsletter Fall 2023
2023 Fun Run/Walk/Roll
** In addition to the work enumerated above, The Foundation made a generous grant to the , which we trust to minister to those who are victimized, to protect those vulnerable and undervalued and luckless, to help those who are hurt and heartbroken.
We believe that Stone and Holt would approve. All we know to do is to imagine how they would be moving through the world and to try to honor their caring, their interests and intensities.
Thank you for helping us with all that The Foundation is able to do. We could not do it without your help. And we will always appreciate your support.
Always, with love, thank you,
Jan and Linton
* More Foundation News *
Friends of Holt and of Stone, and Friends of The Foundation, scattered far and wide, gathered virtually on the weekend of October 28 and 29, to honor their lives and their spirits and to remember their encouragements to all of us to Do Good and to Have Fun -- to support young people with neuromuscular diseases. Special thank you's to Rob Bouknight, Caroline Lacey, Allie Seale, Sarah Bower, Nathan Barash and Susan Park for helping to organize this. Thank you to everyone who participated, donated, sent photographs and messages. Some photographs from the weekend are .
Funds raised from the event -- along with a generous grant from The Foundation -- have been sent to support , like the one Stone volunteered for in Chicago.
Nature Forward's new accessible Nature Play Space for children of all abilities
Carrie Dalton, our MDA liaison, wrote to us: "It’s an honor to have been selected and really makes a difference for the children in our community. With your help MDA is able to provide a life-changing experience that fosters independence, develops life skills, and builds community for children living with neuromuscular disease..."
The Foundation's annual support to 's Woodend campus in Bethesda, Maryland, underwrites seasonal classroom visits and nature field trips for Washington-area students. We have also given occasional spot grants, such as funds for a school bus and, more recently for the construction of a new Nature PlaySpace. These new grounds include accessible trails that lead to a Sensory Garden showcasing the colors, fragrances and textures of native plants; a 12-foot tall Wood Thrush that children can climb into and a Woodland Township full of imaginative forts and playhouses.
Earlier, Carrie reported that the 2023 Stone Weeks Rock Star Volunteer Awardees -- given by MDA each year to outstanding volunteers -- are Becky Miller and Edwin Pena. "On behalf of MDA, thank you for encouraging us to raise up our volunteers… it’s an excellent reminder of the impact of this program and the incredible humans that support it."
Quoting nomination letters from the respective camps, Carrie said the two awardees combine doing good with having fun: "Becky has been volunteering.... for more than 15 years...She is always helping all over the place. Her dedication to new volunteers is unmatched." And Edwin "has become a star recruiter for all camp sessions he attends... Edwin goes above and beyond everything we could ask for in a volunteer."
The playspace also features several benches for people to rest on and feel the wonders of the world. One of the benches honors Holt, one honors Stone and a third honors Supporters of The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation.
Lisa Alexander, Executive Director of Nature Forward wrote: "Thank you for continuing your generous philanthropy that is helping us grow new generations of nature lovers and champions like your dear sons."
Nature Forward's new accessible Nature Play Space for children of all abilities
Nature Forward's Nature Play Space
Despite the protracted outbreak of Covid-19, has continued to provide a variety of services to homeless people in Houston. The Foundation provides steady grants to the outreach program.
In remembrance of Stone and Holt, who cheerfully, eagerly volunteered at the day center, The Beacon hands out a Volunteer Award in their names every year.
In 2022, the Award recipient was Tiffany Peoples. "Tiffany believes that being of service to others is important," wrote Julie Falcon of The Beacon, "and she extends this feeling to many others in her circle, just like Stone and Holt who were so dedicated to our mission at The Beacon."
In the late summer, the 2023 Award went to Sanchez and Tamika Steele. "Both Sanchez and Tamika inspire so many others to serve alongside them at The Beacon," Julie Falcon said, "and we are so thankful for their long-standing commitment to our mission. As such, we wish to name them as this year’s Stone and Holt Weeks Volunteer award recipients at The Beacon."
2023 Awardees Tiffany Steele, back row,left, with her volunteer group (above photograph)
& Sanchez Steele, back row, right, with his volunteer group (lower photograph)
** The Foundation has sent more support -- through an autumn grant -- to , a work and learn program and shelter for at risk young people experiencing homelessness in Washington State. According to their website, Coffee Oasis offers eligible youth "a safe and encouraging place to live while they work towards sustainable housing and employment."
** When we can, we continue to support the . KRMEF is a impressive place doing admirable, holistic work in Nepal's most impoverished communities. In addition to their other initiatives, many environmentally-focused, KRMEF established Ankuran School, a Waldorf Education-based kindergarten with five students in 2012. They now serve over 177 students -- toddlers to fifth graders. We sent a grant this fall to their scholarship fund offering school opportunities to those who otherwise "could not attend due to poverty and lack of material resources".
Young Students caring for plants at KRMEF's Ankuran School in Nepal
** Through a dear friend of Stone's and Holt's, we learned of : A Ukrainian-US nonprofit that seeks to provide safe and nurturing housing and services to displaced people in Ukraine. A compelling video about the project is . Founder Nadya Tkachenko has relayed their present primary needs to be support for people in their overwhelming struggles with trauma. Our Foundation issued a grant "for the purpose of psychological program help -- art therapy for children and widows of fallen heroes and/or group support for families" -- to address her specific requests. Our Advisory Board member Rob Bouknight is our liaison to Project Nadiya, which in Ukrainian means "Hope".
MDA summer camp Rock Star awardees Becky Miller, left, and Edwin Pena, right, with a camper
Campers and counselor volunteers at 2023 MDA summer camps across the country
From Project Nadiya in Western Ukraine
** We wanted to also mention the Holt Weeks Sportsmanhip Award -- although not funded by The Foundation -- that was created by the Eckerd College Varsity Tennis team. Coach Ben Maxwell -- Holt's teammate during the 2007-2009 seasons -- wrote that Eric Asakura was chosen by his teammates and Ben to receive the award. Eric, Ben writes, "is a great competitor and sportsman.... extremely respectful of his opponents but still has the will to win. He is much deserving of this award."
** Also this fall, we sent another grant for the upcoming school year, to Maryland's Leadership Class, much beloved by Holt. The grant's purpose is to help foster community engagement through student run projects which most closely demonstrate the idea 'Do Good & Have Fun' doing it.
Teacher, Sophie Fierst reported that the class has decided to hold a Blood Drive with the Red Cross club at the school. Holt ran the Leadership Class Blood Drive during his senior year. The class will also organize several February events to fundraise for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Among those planned are a basketball tournament, a trivia contest and candy grams.
Eckerd College Tennis Team Holt Weeks Sportsmanship Awardee, Eric Asakura
The Scope of the International Red Cross (Key Operations in Red)