I wanted to share abit of the process & change with Tree of Stars, to the best of my ability since April 2017.
First I wanted to mention that our mission statement has changed a couple of times which is due to the growth in participation & many learning curves which leads us to amazing successful moments.
My name is Jessica Compton, I am the founder & director of Tree of Stars. I started reaching out organically in the development of a hand mapped out Cafe tour in the Hamilton area that consisted of a brochure/flyer that had me telling my story.
I walked around Hamilton handing the brochures to cafe owners asking them to post them for outreach. Some days I would drive and take a friend with me. I remember my cousin Teresa McLean I completed 25 cafes in one day.
I would encourage others to connect with me on social media/email/text, to meet up in person for peer support, or offer anyone to attend the workshop I created.
I created the workshop/meet up at a cafe on Ottawa st in Hamilton Ontario, which is no longer open.
I had the lovely cafe owner Julie from Shady Grove Lukaya Cafe offer Tree of stars space to have the workshops/meet ups in her cafe. I accepted with huge graditude.
The first couple of months the workshop/meet up consisted of different musicians I knew from the community volunteering their time in performing for half an hour. I would then have individuals hear me tell my story. I would encourage others to share in conversations with one another, sometimes individuals will share poetry, some would sit and not say anything which is completely optional and okay Some would even come & colour.
I observed for months, and I thought maybe if I give journals & a pen as a safety piece & guide with prompting topics, as e l know dealing with unknown faces and paces can cause anxiety. In which I decided to detail step by step what to expect on my workshop events that I post on Facebook.
When I first started my outreach, I would sometimes sit in the cafe alone. Since April 2017 the outreach in my Journal Workshops will have approximately 5-25 people that show up & participate.
I guess this also pieces together that I have been a consistent resource through my workshops every other Tuesday since April 2017.
Another questions people ask me…What inspired you to create Tree of Stars? I have been inspired & encouraged by many people who have passed through my life, who have passed away, who never gave up on me & many therapists reminding me to work on certain goals.
My beautiful aunt Angela Betts and I met up one day to visit my grandmother. We were talking in my car about house sitting my other aunt’s place that is located out in the country, & I would be by myself. Right away I said I couldn’t because it’s my biggest triggers from my past, the trauma of being abducted. My aunt who has a huge heart encouraged & inspired me to try & overcome or work on one of my biggest fears. I did succeed in watching her house alone for one week. In that one week I took my print of the tree with the star in it and, I started to develop the cafe tour.
Personally Tree of Stars is a blessing to me, it has and is a continuous self care healing journey. Yes, I have my daily struggles that I have to cope with, I do take medication for my mental illnesses and I know I will always have to check in/follow up with my therapist as apart of my life plan.
Professionally Tree of Stars has been a continuous learning & growing experience, especially since I solely run my business & fund out of pocket. I have learned a list of things such as designing brochures/flyers/posters for our outreach events, business cards, banners, booth set ups at many public events, prints for photography pieces as merchandise, funding/expenses/budgeting, networking, marketing, branding, time management, schedules, skills for successful leadership, limits & boundaries, donations, communities, learning to say no, learning about proper documentation & signatures, evaluation & observation of others character traits to build trust to “share the sandbox”, setting logical goals when developing T.O.S community outreach projects, being creative in mindful ways especially when collaborating with others, providing specific details of expectations, value others feedback to a certain point and most of all “Self-care & Be Yourself”.
There are many reasons why I am blogging this article today. But the main reason is I wanted to do a huge shout out to Big Heart Equestrian. They are the first organization to provide us with a portion of proceeds for an upcoming event they are doing.
Ibwant to Thank you personally & professionally. It’s greatly appreciated in so many ways.
I hope you all try to connect with myself & T.O.S.
Reminder you are not alone, you are not a burden. You are enough and we want you to reach out at anytime.
If we cant help you,or be of any resource to you, we want to guide or reference you to a place that can.
Tree of Stars had 2 music event fundraisers in Hamilton that raised funds. It was organized and ran by myself and a couple of volunteers.
In addition any gift cards/prizes that have been donated in the past from businesses that have given out free items were given out at T.O.S CD charity release party.
Currently If any items are given we give right back to the community for a free door prizes at our Free Community Events & Journal workshops.
#mentalhealth #addictionsrecovery #tellingourstories #HamOnt