Archive for the ‘News’ Category

A Different Kind of Charlie Brown Christmas Story: A Young Musician Gives Back

We were thrilled to receive this update from one of the talented young musicians we have had the pleasure to work with. It touches our hearts that someone who has benefited from one aspect of our mission — supporting young artists — is giving back in such a heartfelt way by supporting the other part of our work, saving lives by informing the public about the dangers of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Here’s the letter we received from Charlie Brown, age 15:

I am very pleased to share what the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation has done for me. Dot Kesling is an amazing person; touching anyone’s heart.

I worked three (carbon monoxide awareness) events with Dot at the wonderful Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington. She took me under her wing and showed me what’s going on. She asked me what I wanted to work and she was very surprised to hear I wanted to work the front door. I’ve gotten a lot of signatures over the years to help the cause. Dot told me that her loving daughter, also a Big Sister at the Boys and Girls Club, died from an invisible gas called “Carbon Monoxide.” I was very sad to hear that. A parent should never have to endure the sadness or emptiness of losing a child. I decided it was my duty to help the cause and make sure no one else loses anyone from this deadly gas. I learned people skills, cooperation and communication.

I feel good just knowing that I’m trying to help save lives. I have a great deal of love for Dot–I consider her family. She is truly one of a kind. I’m pleased to go into the Boys and Girls Club every year and hear people say, “I already have a Carbon Monoxide detector.” I’ve also seen detector information in many different places; one for example, is the BMV manual and textbook in driving school. The word is getting out there and Dot Kesling is responsible for doing so. She is doing something that people need and we are ever so close to making it a law in Indiana; even after that we won’t be done. We might go to all states because this needs to happen and I’m very happy to be apart of this amazing organization.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Charlie Brown
Bloomington, Indiana

More about carbon monoxide

To learn more about what we are doing to promote CO awareness and how you can help, click here.

Learn more about Charlie!

We are very proud of Charlie’s accomplishments in music as well. To read more about Charlie and the story about how he acquired a second hand violin a few years ago, click here. To see and hear a video from Charlie (almost 3 years ago), view it here:

Charlie Brown


Counting Our Blessings

At the time of this writing Thanksgiving weekend continues into Saturday, memories of meals shared around tables with loved ones a few days ago leads us to remember many other things we are thankful for.

LOK has been busy this year, participating and assisting with a number of different CO awareness events. We greatly appreciate the support of all who made this possible:

  • Many fire houses who hosted events
  • Dozens of new volunteers who staffed events
  • Hundreds of people who signed our online CO petition
  • Several cities who dedicated specific CO awareness days, including LaPorte, Indiana.
  • First Alert, who matched our purchase of CO detectors with free detectors and made additional detectors available at a discount.
  • Journalists who helped to get our message out. We value the messages you help us create and document them on our website’s Media Mentions section.
  • The Unity Foundation of LaPorte County who awarded us a grant for $2500 which will allow us to extend our outreach beyond what our budgeted amount would have allowed.

Thank you, our donors and supporters, for your ongoing financial support and for your willingness to help us spread the word about this important initiative!

LOK Recognized with Outstanding Philantropist Award

Development Director Dionne Lovstad-Jones and Communications Director Kathy Sipple accompanied Dot Kesling to Sand Creek Country Club last week to accept LOK’s Outstanding Philanthropist Award, presented by the the Northwest Indiana Chapter of American Fundraising Professionals. LOK is honored to receive recognition for our work, if only to better promote our mission and shine a brighter light on the causes we care about so passionately: protecting people from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and promoting arts opportunities for youth.
Janet Bloch, Education Director at Lubeznik Center for the Arts, one of our arts partners, submitted the nomination and was also on hand to introduce Dot and to help celebrate the success. We thank Lubeznik Center for their strong support, AFP for hosting the event and also the Unity Foundation, our fiscal sponsor and partner in so many important ways.
Enjoy the photos and this short video clip from Dot’s acceptance.

LOK 2015 Carbon Monoxide Events

Lindsey O’Brien Kesling was 22 years-old when she died in her Scottsdale apartment from accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Scottsdale Fire Department responded to the 911 call in November 2010.

“Losing a child for any reason breaks a parent’s heart, but losing them to something that could have been prevented makes the loss so much heavier to bear,” said Dot Kesling, Lindsey’s mother. Part of the the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation’s mission is to raise awareness about carbon monoxide poisoning and how to prevent it, particularly in the coming winter months.

Several organizations are hosting CO awareness event in partnership with the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation, along with First Alert, a leader in residential fire and CO detection devices.

The event will be held throughout the coming months. First Alert is providing 20% discount coupons on select carbon monoxide detectors at each event. So far, the following organizations and fire departments have indicated they will host events and/or will distribute a limited number of free CO detectors:

  • October 1, 3-6 pm
    Bloomington, Indiana
    Boys and Girls Club
    311 S. Lincoln St.
  •  October 3, 10-2pm
    Michigan City, Indiana
    at Cool Spring Township Fire Dept.
    7111 W 400 N
  • October 3, 10-1pm
    Portage, Indiana
    Portage Fire Dept.
    3401 Swanson Rd.
  • Oct 4, 12-3 pm EDT
    South Bend, Indiana
    South Bend Fire Dept.
    1222 S. Michigan St.
  • October 10, 10-1 pm
    Chesterton, Indiana
    Chesterton Fire Dept.
    702 Broadway
  • October 10, 1-4 pm
    LaPorte, Indiana
    Center Township Fire Dept.
    5637 W. Wilmen’s Trail
  • Oct. 10 10-2 pm
    LaPorte, Indiana
    La Porte Fire Dept.
    807 W. 18th Street
  • October 10, 12-3pm
    Michigan City
    Michigan City Fire Dept.
    2510 E. Michigan Blvd.
  • October 22, 12-3 pm
    Rolling Prairie, Indiana
    PAX Center
    5543 E. 350 N.
  • December 5,  8-noon
    Elkhart, Indiana
    Elkhart Fire Dept.
    500 East St.
Please check back for updates, as more details may become available as the season progresses. If your organization is interested in hosting an event, learn more here.

Besides hosting event, there are other ways to get involved:CO Video Still

Planting the Seeds of Future Success

We just finished celebrating the hard work and discipline of young dreamers during the second annual Young Artist Expo (YAE).  During this time, precision dancers and violin virtuosos performed their well-rehearsed recitals in front of the public and young artists’ masterpieces were shared from the gallery walls.

The YAE is a showcase for young artists from the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, South Shore Dance Alliance and the Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington. Indiana.  Over the last few years, each of these organizations have become true partners of the Lindsey O’Brien Kesling (LOK) Wishing Tree Foundation.

All of this activity brings me to a time in the year when I reflect on all that we’ve done in our Foundation’s short time.  In addition to news about the YAE, allow me to take a moment and update you on a few of the other activities and successes of the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation.

In this last year, Foundation partners:

Solidified our two-fold mission. “LOK Wishing Tree Foundation Lives Love through carbon monoxide education and unleashing the artistic dreams of youth.”  LOK encourages young artists to wish and dream, and funds opportunities that turn dreams into reality.  It also raise awareness and educate people about the dangers associated with carbon monoxide.

Nurtured dreams of young artists. A partnership with the Lubeznik Center for the Arts provides after school programs including: drawing, painting and photography classes, violin lessons and dance instruction to public school children in Michigan City Schools.

Provided scholarships to talented young artists like Peace.  Peace has been participating in the LOK Performing Arts Program offered by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington, Ind. for several years.  The award winning program provided her with a scholarship for an advanced show choir called, Syncopation, and an opportunity to be trained by local song & dance professionals.  She participated in a production in front of an audience of 3000 people last Christmas.  About the experience she said, “It was the biggest crowd I’d ever seen, but once I got on state, I thought, ‘I can do this.’”  Peace hopes this is just the beginning of her performing arts career.

Saved lives through raising public awareness about the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Partnering with local fire districts we spread the word about this silent killer.  We developed a free resource kit (containing press releases, social media templates, coloring sheets, banners and posters, and petitions) for organizations to host their own Carbon Monoxide Awareness Event.  Additionally we provided carbon monoxide detectors.  We’ve heard first-hand accounts of how these efforts save lives!  We invite you to read about these events and first-hand stories and request your own free kit at

And partners like you blessed the Foundation through your generous support.  LOK continues unleashing dreams and saving lives only with the help of our donors.

Continued support of the LOK Foundation means we continue to support our partners in the arts; providing uninterrupted arts classes and dance instruction, music lessons, and innovative programs for our kids.  It also means we will continue our work protecting lives with in-home CO detectors and educating families about the dangers of CO poisoning.

Donations of all amounts are appreciated.  Please consider a gift of support.

  • $25 will provide a Carbon Monoxide detector for a family in need.
  • $50 provides one weekly lesson for ten children in the Michigan City after school program.
  • $100 awards a ‘Lubeznik Center for the Arts Class’ scholarship to a student in need.
  • $150 provides six teacher hours for conducting a specialized three-session class for dance, instrumental, vocal or improvisational theater students.
  • $500 provides two local firehouses with CO awareness and prevention kits; promotional materials, social media support, children’s activities and CO detectors for families in need.
  • $1000 allows a child to see the world differently through the lens of a camera—providing kids with the opportunity to attend one of two, 12-week photography classes, learn photo techniques, and editing skills.

Thank you for the encouragement you have provided to LOK in these last three, short years.  Thank you for your support of our work to unleash the dreams of our children through the arts.  Thank you for your concern to save lives with the use of Carbon Monoxide detectors.  You have my heartfelt gratitude.

You help us Live Love!


Dot Kesling, Founder


P.S.  Enclosed in this envelope is a paper butterfly that contains wild flower seeds.  On it I would like you to write a wish, dream or prayer.  Return it in the envelope provided, and we’ll hang it, along with all the others, on the Wishing Tree.

Your donation may also be included in the same envelope or made directly online at


LOK Young Artist Exhibit at Lubeznik Center through July 26th

The 2nd Annual LOK Young Artist Expo was held Friday, June 5th at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City.

The evening was a rousing success that included participants from all three of our partnering arts programs and included music, dance and creative arts. Though the dance and the music have ended, the great news is that you can still visit the works of art on display at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts now through July 26th. Here are a few highlights, taken the night of the expo, with many of the young artists shown in front of their work.

Photo credit: James Clemenson,

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2015 Young Artist Expo Highlights

The 2nd Annual LOK Young Artist Expo was held Friday, June 5th at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City.

LOK Wishing Tree Foundation celebrates artists! We hope you will enjoy some of these photos, highlighting their success last Friday.

Photo credit: James Clemenson,


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Da’Marco Kimble, Blessed  

Da’Marco Kimble received a full scholarship at South Shore Dance Alliance for 3 years during his high school career, sponsored in part by funds from the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation. A 2013 graduate, Da’Marco auditioned and was accepted into Indiana University’s Modern Dance Department, receiving a college scholarship. Since then, he has also been accepted into popular Debbie Allen Dance Academy Summer Dance Instensive. (Debbie Allen is a choreographer, director and dancer who has worked on projects such as Fame, West Side Story and Sweet. Charity.)

Da’Marco will be joining us for the LOK Young Artist Expo on Friday, June 5th. He’ll be welcoming guests and will also make a cameo appearance with a dance solo during the performance.

Da’Marco feels “blessed” and expresses it in this dance video. LOK is blessed to have treasured success stories like Da’Marco’s and appreciate his willingness to remain involved, helping other young artists get the support he received.

Experience Peace on June 5th

Sixth-grader, Peace Jobito, that is.

Peace will travel from her home in Bloomington, Indiana to grace the stage at the 2nd Annual LOK Young Artist Expo at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts on Friday, June 5th.

Peace has been participating in the LOK Performing Arts Program offered by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington for several years. The award-winning program received the 2013 “Merit Award for Program Excellence in the Arts” from the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Peace won a scholarship through LOK Wishing Tree Foundation two years ago, when she was a fourth-grader. She used her scholarship to get involved in an advanced show choir called Syncopation, an opportunity that provided her with song and dance training from local professionals.

“I liked it a lot,” Peace said. “It was really, really hard, but it was also fun and helped me a lot.”

Ly Wilder, an IU adjunct lecturer in jazz, co-director of Syncopation said, “Peace is a fantastic performer with a sweet spirit and strong work ethic. It’s unusual for a child of her age to remember complex choreography and coordinate her body so well, but she can do both.”

Peace was featured in a production performed by Syncopation in front of 3,000 people as part of the Chimes of Christmas Show with the Singing Hoosiers. “It was biggest crowd I’d ever seen,” she said. “But once I got on stage, I thought, ‘I can do this.’ ”

Peace hopes her involvement in the performing arts program is only the beginning.

“I love dancing, because it lets you express what you feel inside,” she said. “I would love to sing and dance professionally some day, and maybe even be a superstar on TV.”

Article references original material submitted by Dann Denny from the Herald Times Online.

Cee Cee Kaylor Joins LOK in Community Outreach Role

Cee Cee

Cee Cee Kaylor

The LOK Wishing Tree Foundation is proud to announce a new Part Time Community Outreach Manager, Cee Cee Kaylor. Cee Cee recently retired as Executive Director of the Samaritan Counseling Center, upon receiving a diagnosis for not one, but two types of cancer. Before the diagnosis, she had planned to continue working full time.

Kaylor’s positive attitude and increased dedication to medical self-care seems to be paying off. “I’m doing well. Doctors used the word remission; cancer is still there just not active. My mother taught me to see the world through rose colored glasses. Some may call me ‘Pollyanna’, but it can’t hurt to have a good attitude.” While cancer is no longer a death sentence, it is time consuming — her kidneys require dialysis three times a week at nearly four hours per visit.

When we asked her for a good time to interview her for this article, Cee Cee responded in her characteristic upbeat, matter-of-fact way, “You can always catch me during my dialysis treatment — it will give me something to do!” Sounds like a leader used to multi-tasking…

During her time with the Samaritan Center, Kaylor led the organization to expand programs and services in the schools and courts, increased foundation support with grant writing and opened additional offices and staff. After a career spent helping others, Cee Cee knew that continuing on in a capacity of community involvement would remain important to her. When former LOK Community Outreach Director Christine Ward announced she was relocating out of state for her husband’s job, she approached Cee Cee as a possible successor.

Cee Cee immediately knew it would be a great fit for her. She shared, “ I’ve had so many blessings. LOK was one of those blessings. Good people associated with it, fun and worthwhile, I’m proud to be a part of it. It’s a good opportunity and just right for me.”

Since beginning with the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation just a few weeks ago, she has already initiated efforts to increase distribution and installation of carbon monoxide detectors. A recent opportunity was supplying detectors to the Chesterton Fire Department, who in turn installed the detectors on homes they are repairing in conjunction with Rebuilding Together, a program that provides extensive home rehabilitation and modification services to low-income homeowners.

Kaylor has plenty of ideas for other ways to expand her role with LOK. She is very high energy and balances that with her other demands. Kaylor muses, “After being active all these years, I’ve got to make the best of what I was handed. I’ll have to do dialysis the rest of my life — I just accept it.” Cee Cee says she also realizes how important it is not to waste time and live each day to the fullest, even if it’s basic. “I’ve been journaling lately. I want to tell my story someday. I’ve become more spiritual, less self absorbed.”

She also wants to travel and spend more time with loved ones. “It was amazing to realize how much support and love I have out there — from friends and family.” She managed a two month trip to Florida where she made arrangements to have dialysis treatments at a center down there.

What is she going to do next? “Dialysis treatments are even available on cruise ships”, Kaylor enthused. It is going to be fun to work with this dynamic woman! LOK is certainly blessed to have her on our team.