Telling the sto­ries that mat­ter

Serve Daily - - INSIDE - By Amy Chandler for Serve Daily

The lo­cal char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion, My Story Mat­ters, was founded with the mis­sion to pro­mote heal­ing, in­spire hope, and cel­e­brate courage in ev­ery­day he­roes by telling their sto­ries. Or­ga­ni­za­tion founder, Amy Chandler of Springville, Utah ex­plains, “When we em­brace one an­other as he­roes of our own per­sonal jour­neys, we be­come more united in com­pas­sion, un­der­stand­ing, and em­pa­thy as we re­al­ize ev­ery story re­ally does mat­ter!”

In just a few short years, My Story Mat­ters has pro­vided over 1,400 cus­tom sto­ry­books and hand­made quilts to de­serv­ing chil­dren and fam­i­lies. This work is ac­com­plished at the hands of ded­i­cated vol­un­teers and com­mu­nity part­ners, and through gen­er­ous do­na­tions.

Get­ting a one-of-a-kind sto­ry­book into the hands of a child or fam­ily in­cludes the work of in­ter­view­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy, writ­ing, de­sign, print­ing, and fi­nally, the book de­liv­ery. Many hearts are touched as the sto­ry­telling work passes from one vol­un­teer to the next in this process—and all agree that it’s worth ev­ery ef­fort.

Amy Chandler ex­plains, “These sto­ry­books help im­prove self es­teem, build con­fi­dence, in­spire imag­i­na­tion, and give a child in tran­si­tion the power to dream of a hope­ful fu­ture.”

There are a va­ri­ety of ways to vol­un­teer and serve through­out the year with My Story Mat­ters. If you’d like to get in­volved in giv­ing the gift of story, visit www.mys­to­ry­mat­ to find out how.

Meet the Nathan Ellinger

My Story Mat­ters fo­cuses its sto­ry­telling ef­forts on a few dif­fer­ent pop­u­la­tions. The “Fighter Se­ries” high­lights the courage and de­ter­mi­na­tion of chil­dren fight­ing life-al­ter­ing con­di­tions, and pro­vides a bridge be­tween life at home and time in the hos­pi­tal.

Nine-year-old, Nathan Ellinger, was re­cently nom­i­nated for recog­ni­tion as part of the My Story Mat­ters “Fighter Se­ries.” Nathan was born with two birth de­fects, Te­tral­ogy of Fal­lot and Pierre Robin se­quence. In his short life he’s had over 40 surg­eries, in­clud­ing open-heart surgery. With the as­sis­tance of vol­un­teers, Nathan and his sib­lings gave voice to their unique sto­ries, which, along with pho­tographs, were made into per­son­al­ized sto­ry­books. Each child also re­ceived a cus­tom-made quilt fea­tur­ing their fa­vorite col­ors and char­ac­ters.

Like all chil­dren, Nathan has hopes and dreams for the fu­ture. “I want to be a car­di­ol­o­gist when I grow up,” he says. “I want to help peo­ple like me who have heart de­fects.” Un­like many chil­dren, Nathan has en­dured very dif­fi­cult ob­sta­cles at a very young age. In his sto­ry­book, Nathan ex­plains, “I had to have tongue re­duc­tion surgery. That means they had to cut off part of my tongue. It re­ally hurt. Go­ing through surg­eries is how I’ve learned to over­come ob­sta­cles.”

Nathan’s story also in­cludes the valu­able wis­dom and in­sight, “I think be­ing strong means do­ing some­thing good to help oth­ers.”

Sim­i­larly, the ex­pe­ri­ences, thoughts and feel­ings of Nathan’s sis­ters and lit­tle brother were recorded in their spe­cial books. Af­ter re­ceiv­ing the sto­ry­books and quilts, Nathan’s fa­ther said, “It’s a dif­fi­cult time, and the books re­ally helped them share their feel­ings and think about their feel­ings.” His mother said, “I love these books. See­ing the look on their faces as they look through their books is price­less. That some­one stepped up and did some­thing like this for us, means the world.”

To learn more about Nathan and his fam­ily, and to see the Ellinger chil­dren’s re­ac­tions to their books and quilts on the day they were de­liv­ered go to this video:­ture=share

Photo: My Story Mat­ters

Nathan Ellinger

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.