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  • Feather Party for the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation Dream Bird

    Feather PartyLaPorte artist Laura Panozzo of Earth Angel Eco Art Studio  is creating a “dream bird” from pieces of reclaimed wood that will become the feathers of a large wood bird sculpture — the dream bird — which she will donate to the Lindsey O’Brien Kesling Wishing Tree Foundation and will be auctioned as a fund raiser. Each attendee will have the opportunity to create a feather as well as enjoy delicious seasonal small plates prepared by Chef Brad Hindsley of Spire Farm-to-Fork Restaurant, also of LaPorte.

    Panozzo and Hindsley recently began a collaboration they have named, “Our Common Thread”, their common thread referring to the artistry each applies to their craft. Their initiatives are community-focused — either on educational workshops, public art projects and  fund raising for local causes. Our Common Thread is donating all profits from this event to the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation. Journeyman Distillery is donating their space and will also make their hand-crafted, organic whiskeys available for sampling.

    The LOK Wishing Tree Foundation was founded in memory of LaPorte native Lindsey O’Brien Kesling, who had a passion for the arts and for helping children. The Foundation continues the positive work Lindsey began prior to her tragic accidental death at just 22 years old. The foundation provides funding for arts programming to youth in underserved areas, partnering with local arts organizations such as the South Shore Dance Alliance and the Lubeznik Center for the Arts.

    Live musical entertainment provided by Midwest Hype, known for their urban garage jazz sound. Defined by  their hip-hop flow, unforgettable vocal melodies, punching horn lines, immaculate jazz improvisation, dance floor mayhem and tight pocketed compositions, they offer a refreshing youthful breath in today’s digital world

    Tickets are $65 per person and include food from Spire five sample-sized cocktails from Journeyman Distillery and the opportunity to create a Dream Bird feather under the guidance of artist Laura Panozzo. All profits for the evening will be donated to support LOK Wishing Tree Foundation. The event runs from 6:00pm to 9:00pm Saturday, March 22, 2014. Pre-registration requires. Tickets available here.

    For more information, contact Kathy Sipple, at (219) 405-9482 or visit to http://lokwishingtree.org.


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    NWI Give Day is Coming!

    NWIGives is a one-day fundraising event on February 12th, 2014, that will unite all communities in Lake, Porter and La Porte counties to support the nonprofit charitable organizations serving our region. The goal is to inspire local residents to make a gift to their favorite charities, raising thousands of dollars in one day! It’s your chance to make a real impact on people in your own community, and ignite giving across Northwest Indiana as your gift may be matched by generous corporate and foundation sponsors.

    How it Works

    On 2-12-14 you will have the opportunity to go online at nwigives.razoo.com and make contributions to your favorite charitable organizations in Lake, Porter and La Porte counties. It’s easy to make a donation to LOK…simply use the donation screen below or from the Razoo.com website simply enter LOK Wishing Tree into the Find A Cause bar, or click on the link here to get to our giving page. Select the amount you would like to donate on the right hand side of the screen and get started helping a young person achieve their dream! Don’t think you’re going to be around a computer on the 12th? You can go ahead and schedule a donation anytime before February 12th.

    For more information please contact Kathy Sipple at 219-405-9482 or vial email at development@lokwishingtree.org.

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    Cold Outside, But Spirits Were Warm at Bentwood Tavern


    Left to right: Kathy Sipple, LOK Managing Director; Chef Alberto, Chef Jenny Drilon, Christine Ward, LOK Facilitator


    Left to right: Unity Foundation Executive Director, Maggie Spartz; Dianne Carpenter, Judy Jacobi and Elizabeth Bernel.


    Left to right: Janet Bloch, Lubeznik Center for the Arts Education Director; Artist Ashlyn Bowen of LaPorte and Artist Christopher Jackson of Michigan City.



    Young artists share their work with Maggi Spartz from the Unity Foundation.

    Mother Nature and her polar vortex couldn’t keep us down…

    Due to forecasts of  scary  weather, our Give Back dinner at Bentwood Tavern in New Buffalo, Michigan was rescheduled from Tuesday,  Jan. 21st to Wednesday, Jan. 22nd in hopes of offering guests a safer experience. There were over 80 reservations for Tuesday and Brynn Hines from Bentwood contacted every single one to advise them of the new date.

     Wednesday night’s weather wasn’t much better, but nearly 100 LOK Wishing Tree supporters braved fierce cold and slippery roads to gather and celebrate in the warmly festive atmosphere at Bentwood Tavern anyway. Spirits warmed and troubles were forgotten over wonderful conversation and “artisan comfort cuisine” crafted by local icon, Chef Jenny Drilon.Ashlyn Bowen, 11, of LaPorte, and Christopher Jackson, 13, of Michigan City, served as Young Artist Ambassadors for LOK, displaying several pieces of their artwork created through their involvement with LOK arts programming.

    Janet Bloch, Education Director for Lubeznik, was on hand to share in the children’s excitement of sharing their art in public for the first time. Ashlyn participated in Lubeznik’s 2013 summer art program and has been drawing for 3 years or so; Christopher participated in Lubeznik’s new youth photography class, made possible in part by funding from the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation. Jackson has been involved in arts classes of various kinds for 9 years, the majority of his young life.

    Many thanks to Richard Warner of Visual Impressions Photography for commemorating the evening with wonderful photos of the young artists, LOK board members, Bentwood staff and our wonderful dinner guests. Additional photos available here.

    New friendships were forged and old friendships renewed. Young artists’ dreams were supported. Awareness about our mission was increased. The night was truly magical and a great example of “Living Love” in action. Many thanks to all who took part in making the evening such a success.


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    Join LOK at Bentwood Tavern Give Back Dinner on January 21st

    Bentwood LogoWe are pleased to announce that Bentwood Tavern in New Buffalo, Michigan has selected the Lindsey O’Brien Kesling Foundation as the beneficiary of their January 21st Give Back Dinner. LOK was selected as one of only five give back nights that Bentwood offers annually.

    Bentwood Tavern is committed to raising funds and awareness for important community non-profits. To date, over $61,000 has been donated. Fifty percent of all food and beverage revenue for that evening will be donated to support LOK Wishing Tree Foundation.

    Bentwood Tavern features “artisan comfort cuisine” crafted by local icon, Chef Jenny Drilon. Please join us for a wonderful evening of good food with friends.

    Give Back Dinner hours are 5:00pm to 10:00pm Eastern Time on Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

    For reservations call 269-469-1699 or visit www.bentwoodtavern.com.

    Bentwood Tavern
    600 West Water Street
    New Buffalo, MI 49117

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    South Shore Arts Youth Art Award Opportunity

    The LOK Wishing Tree Foundation would like to share with our readers an opportunity that exists for young artists in northwest Indiana — The 2014 Youth Arts Awards. This award was originally the dream of the late Gov. Frank O’Bannon who hoped to develop an award on the state level. The regional partners of the Indiana Arts Commission were given the task of developing such an award at the local level. The Regional Arts Council of South Shore Arts will be presenting this local award.

    Last year they received many nominations in visual and performing arts from across the region and the caliber of talent was outstanding. The overall winner was clarinetist Joe Long of Lowell High School. Interview/auditions will be scheduled with the student in March/April of 2014 with final notification before the end of the school year. The winner will receive a monetary award as well as a certificate. Once nominations are received, a confirmation letter with the interview/audition requirements will be sent to the nominee. The Award will be presented by the Summer or Fall of 2014 at an appropriate venue.

    Do you know a young artist who should be nominated? A nomination form is available here. Nomination forms are due by January 31, 2014.


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    2013 CO Awareness Campaign Wrap Up

    Sean Cooney

    Scottsdale Fire Department Capt. Sean Cooney was a first responder to Lindsey’s 911 call in November 2010. He is shown here with Lindsey’s mother, Dot Kesling, at the Scottsdale CO Awareness Event. Capt. Cooney says, “CO is just as deadly as smoke and fire. CO detectors should be part of our mandatory building codes. It is our legislator’s duty to protect the People in the community they serve. Lindsey’s tragedy and her family’s cause are saving lives!”

    This week of Thanksgiving, LOK Wishing Tree Foundation wishes to give thanks to all those who made our recent carbon monoxide (CO) awareness campaign a success.

    A few highlights:

    • Diane Gervais, our 2013 CO Campaign Coordinator, forged a partnership with First Alert,  a leader in residential fire and CO detection devices. First Alert offered a 20% discount on detectors purchased via our program and donated 100 free detectors that were distributed at our CO Awareness events.
    • 70+ carbon monoxide detectors were purchased via our special discount link with First Alert. The offer period has been extended through February 28th, 2014. To receive 20% off on your detector, or to purchase one as a thoughtful holiday gift, click here.
    • 300 free carbon monoxide detectors were distributed throughout the campaign to residents of Scottsdale, Arizona; Bloomington, Indiana and Northwest Indiana.
    • Efforts included 7 events in two states, a wonderful CO Awareness video, a new Chillbe coloring page for young children, and many personal conversations, emails, and offers of future partnerships and support.
    • Our online petition reached 1000+ signatures. Still need to sign? Click here.
    • Media coverage included radio coverage, multiple print mentions and even television coverage, which included an interview from Drew & Dot Kesling on CBS Channel 5 in Scottsdale.

    It is impossible to guess the number of lives reached, however it is reasonable to state that it is in the thousands!

    Planning is already underway for our 2014 campaign. If you would like to get involved, please contact us to let us know.



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    Carbon Monoxide Awareness

    In November 2010, Lindsey O’Brien Kesling (LOK) “got her wings” at the young age of 22. Her accidental death resulted from exposure to unsafe levels of carbon monoxide in the Scottsdale Arizona apartment where she lived.

    “Part of the LOK Foundation mission is to raise awareness about carbon monoxide poisoning and how to prevent it. Losing a child for any reason breaks a parent’s heart, but losing them to something that could have been prevented with a simple carbon monoxide detector makes the loss so much heavier to bear.”

     ~ Dot Kesling

    Protect Your Home and Those You Love: Install a CO Detector

    First Alert, a leader in residential fire and CO detection devices,  is providing a 20% online coupon for select purchases and will match each purchase with another free detector (up to 150), to further promote carbon monoxide safety.

    Studies show that 73 percent of CO exposure is in the home, yet 90% of American homes do CO LOK couponnot meet the American Fire Protection Association’s recommendation for the number of CO alarms, including 40% of homes that report having ZERO CO alarms.

    Visit http://tinyurl.com/LOKFirstAlert on or before November 30, 2013 to receive a 20% discount on a carbon monoxide detector.

    According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, CO poisoning is the number one cause of accidental poisoning in the United States. Diagnosis of CO poisoning can be difficult because symptoms mimic those of many other illnesses and include nausea, headaches, dizziness, weakness, chest pain and vomiting. In more severe poisoning cases, people may experience disorientation or unconsciousness, or suffer long-term neurological disabilities, cardiorespiratory failure or death. Regardless of a home’s age, people can be exposed to this poisonous gas, which originates from anything that burns fuel, such as gas furnaces, stoves, water heaters, barbeque grills, wood-burning fireplaces and automobiles.

    Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of CO exposure is in the home, and more than two fifths (41 percent) occurs during the winter months of December, January and February.

    Help Protect Others: Sign the Petition

    Please help us change the laws to keep you and your loved ones safe from carbon monoxide bypetition signing our online petition.

    Join our grass roots effort and share this information with everyone you know and love.


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    IMPROV = Team Sport

    timmy and full audience

    timmy barron blog

    timmy giving one on one direction

    will and timmyJust about a month ago, Timmy Barron – “Second City” graduate out of Chicago, IL, graciously made his way down to the Boys and Girls club of Bloomington, IN to lead a two day intensive IMPROV workshop. “Ok, let’s get funny”….. is what all the participants at the club thought IMPROV is all about. Well, as the LOK Foundation Mission keeps moving forward… so does livin’ the love. Timmy loved up on his entire audience through his talent and insight to what he believes is more of a team sport in IMPROV. If anyone can keep a youthful audience at attention, it is Timmy Barron. And, yes, he WILL make you laugh. The workshop is part of the LOKPAP (Lindsey O’Brien Kesling Performing Arts Program). Ultimately, he informed his audience that IMPROV requires focusing on your fellow cast/group members performing alongside you. You must be on your toes and do your intuitive best to gage what those around you will do next…. anticipate, anticipate, and anticipate again. But, it’s trusting each other in the interactive moments and learning each individuals style and character that reins high on his list. Timmy provided large and small group sessions. He was able to provide a one on one experience regardless of group size. Thankful was he to have his trusted videographer on hand, young master William Kesling (aka Timmy’s cousin and Lindsey O’Brien Kesling’s youngest brother). The 9-12 year old participants from the Club were eager and their talents shined through once again. Timmy brought along several tools of the trade including certain IMPROV drills, exercises in focusing, ad lib, team reliance, relaxation, etc. He has no trouble keeping the momentum going… that is simply one of the gifts he’s been given. Timmy and Will are just a few of the young artists we plan on following.

    William Kesling’s video from the IMPROV workshop available here.

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    When Two or More Are Gathered, God is Present

    Another wish, another dream comes true for the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation! On June 10, 2013, the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington, IN joined forces with the South Shore Dance Alliance (SSDA) of Griffith, IN. Both are partners with the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation, and both equally blessed with giving of themselves for others! God was present. The combined effort provided one week of dance instruction for “first timers”. Mr. Larry Brewer, Executive Director of the SSDA, traveled to Bloomington with his senior student, India Maynor (LOK Scholarship recipient for 2 years, IU Dance Scholarship Recipient and bound for IU in the fall of 2013). Instruction was provided for Boys and Girls Club members (ages 7-12) including ballet, modern, jazz and funk. The participants danced their hearts full the entire week. The training ended with a final performance for the entire Boys and Girls Club and their families. It was exciting to see how quickly the young, eager students picked up the routines. India was inspiring with her talents and ease in relating to each individual student. Family pride was evident with each student’s achievements! Please take a moment to view the video compiled during the week long event… on our success video page (SSDA Video). In addition, Mr. Larry Brewer conducted his MOJO Magic. What is MOJO Magic? Simply, his ability to steer a child towards their passion, lift their attitude and champion them into believing they can try and do anything they set their hearts to. Larry has a keen eye and will diligently seek out potential in a student(s) all the way through to encouraging the parents along the same possibilities. Nothing is greater than holding others up above ourselves. This event is proof of that! A bonus to the week was a meeting between the executive powers of each organization… Jeff Baldwin, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington alongside his Marketing Director Sarah Heimer… together with Larry Brewer from SSDA. New visions were discussed and more seeds planted. Keep posted to our website and our FaceBook page.

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    The Spirit of Cooperation

    What defines a partnership?… being united or associated with another or others in an activity or sphere of common interest.  A sharer. Partnership involves being in a relationship… with a spirit of cooperation.  Partners agree to carry on a mission.  With gratitude, The LOK Wishing Tree Foundation (LOK) proudly announces a new partnership with The Lubeznik Center for the Arts (LCA) effective May 2013.  Please visit their website at www.lubeznikcenter.org.  The LCA’s mission is to creatively interweave art exhibitions, the performing arts, educational programing and collaborative community outreach in order to enrich the arts experience within the region.  LOK’s mission beautifully overlaps our new partner’s.  LOK will be offering a premier youth photography class as well as continued and enhanced after-school opportunities in art, photography, music and dance.  This merger introduces new curriculum in the categories of dance and photography.  All of this in memory of Lindsey O’Brien Kesling who we know is celebrating alongside us in anticipation of more success stories and confirmation of hope.  Already planning is in place for an event to be held the summer of 2014… the first “Lindsey O’Brien Kesling Wishing Tree Foundation 2014 Young Artist Expo”.  LCA will host the event at their Community Gallery.  May 2014, Lindsey’s birth month, is the target time frame.  Gifted art students from LCA/LOK partnership program will be featured.  More information to come.  Welcome LCA and thank you for your “spirit of cooperation”.

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