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December 2023



Image Description: A gray and white granite countertop has candy canes, some pine, gifts, a cup of coffee and ornaments.

Happy Holidays from those of us at Survivor Cards!

In this month's newsletter, we'll talk about our ongoing fundraisers, initiatives and surviving the winter season.


 

Ongoing:

Pura Vida Bracelet Fundraiser



Image Description: A light blue background has purple font reading "Pura Vida Bracelet Fundraiser" and in white "Benefitting Survivor Cards" Below this is the Survivor Cards logo; an open envelope with a piece of paper with Survivor Cards written on it and a teal heart in the center of the open envelope. There is a hand holding a purple, light blue and dark blue braided bracelet with a silver ribbon charm. In another photo, there is a wrist wearing the bracelet with their hand resting on a Christmas tree with lights and ornaments.

 

Join us this winter in raising funds for Survivor Cards and get yourself a great holiday gift in the process!

 

Your donations will help us keep serving survivors of trauma and providing our mental health and diversity-focused community programs, volunteer opportunities and events!

 

We are now taking orders for our custom-made Pura Vida bracelets benefiting Survivor Cards. These bracelets are hand made in Costa Rica and each one is slightly unique for you to enjoy!

 

Only 25 are available at $15 each, plus free shipping!

 

Pura Vida has partnered with over 300 charities around the world to donate over $4 million to various causes, and we are excited to be joining the list!

 

All funds raised with these bracelets will go right back into what we do, making a difference in our community, educating the public on trauma and mental health, providing volunteer opportunities that connect and inspire, increasing diverse literacy, and providing hope, healing and solidarity to survivors of trauma.

 

Our programs who will benefit include: Survivor Cards, Hot Girls Walking-Anderson, Diversity Book Fairies of Cincinnati and supplemental items for our In Loving Memory grief albums.

 

Items purchased with these funds could include stamps, printer ink, stickers, business cards and crisis resource cards, snacks and drinks for events and volunteer hours, diverse books for local children and more.

 

HOW TO ORDER:

 

1.Visit our DonorBox 

 

2. Make sure to include a custom note with your name, amount of bracelets desired and a shipping address. If you can, please include an email so we can reach out and thank you!

 

3. We will notify you as soon as your bracelet is shipped!

 

4. Want to donate your bracelet to a survivor?

Just let us know that this is your preference and we will send it to a survivor of trauma in one of our cards!

 

Questions?

Email Alyson Wick, our Founder at survivorcards@gmail.com


 

In Loving Memory Photo Albums



Image Description: A cream background has brown and tan abstract shapes and plants. The below information is in dark brown font and there is a Survivor Cards logo in the bottom right corner of an open white envelope with a teal heart seal and a piece of paper coming out that says "Survivor Cards"

 

The holiday season an be incredibly difficult for those grieving the loss of a loved one.

 

Survivor Cards has partnered with Scrapbook.Com's "Creative Kindness" program to offer local Cincinnatians free photo, memory album kits.

 

These kits include a photo album, sleeves for photos, notecards for memories to be recorded on and stickers.

 

Please email us at survivorcards@gmail.com if you or someone you know might benefit from this program!


 

Spreading the Love with Girl Scouts of Western Ohio



Image Description: The picture features four handwritten Survivor Cards by kindergarten and first graders. The top left is green and has drawing of a heart and says "You are loved, valued and worthy. Thank for being there." The top right has speech bubbles that say "You do not deserve what happened to you" and "You are loved, valued and worthy. You are not defined by what happened to you." There are drawings of hearts and a girl in a pink dress. The bottom left says "Hi, I hope you are doing okay and I'm sure you're doing your best." A drawing of a person with purple and pink hair is next to the writing. The bottom right card says "Kindness shouldn't have to be earned. It should be given for free. From, your friend"

We had a wonderful time at the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio's Blue Ash Office on Sunday, December 10th!

Around 20 Girl Scouts, from Brownies to Juniors attended and learned about signs of trauma, what PTSD is, how to help themselves and others if they experience a traumatic event and all about coping skills, and being a good neighbor.

Afterwards, we created Survivor Cards for children their age in the Southern and Western Ohio areas, including the kids staying at the local domestic violence and homeless shelters.

The girls earned a fun badge that says "Kindness is cool" and took home folders with take-home information on age appropriate mental health, crisis resources and coping skills, as well as a sticker that says "You matter!"

We had a lot of fun and can't wait to go back in June of 2024.

We will share the link to sign your Girl Scout up for the program once it's available!


 

Diversity Book Fairies of Cincinnati

Cheviot Winter Book Drive



Image Description: A cream colored background features a bottom border of illustrated books in the colors yellow, brown, red and blue. The info below is in black and blue font. There is a Diversity Book Fairies of Cincinnati logo of a tree with books on the branches and the Cheviot logo of a ram.

Our book fairies have adopted the Cheviot School's brand new library and teacher librarian, Miss Colleen.

Starting December 15th and ending January 31st, we will be accepting donations of brand new books for Pre-K through 6th grade.

These books can be dropped off at our home office at 1004 Brooke Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45230 or bought and shipped directly from our wish list below.

We will share pictures as books arrive and from our deliveries on our social media!

Follow up on Instagram and Facebook.

Questions?


 

Volunteer Appreciation Corner


Image Description: A light blue background has 6 photos which are "polaroid style" on it. There are group photos of Omega Phi Beta Sorority holding up cards they wrote, as well as two images of groups of women at Junior League of Cincinnati's events writing cards, the other images show cards written by students, middle and high school students and community service volunteers.

Thank you to our volunteers who helped us create over 1,000 cards this year!

Some of our amazing, repeat writers include sororities, students, community service volunteers, places of worship, support groups, Junior League of Cincinnati and Girl Scouts of the USA.

We could not do what we do without you!


 

Spending or Surviving Time with Family During The Holidays?


Image Description: Three fingers have drawings on them to make them look like people. They wear red holiday hats with white trim and white pom poms. Two of the fingers are bigger and appear to be having an argument. The finger on the left is smaller and is looking at the camera with a sad look on its "face."

Does getting through the holidays with family feel more like survival than spending time together?

Here's 3 ways to cope with family conflict over the holidays from Lincoln Park Therapy Group!

1.Set Boundaries

2.Treat Yourself to a Little Self-Care

3.Change Your Role in Your Family

More on Boundary Setting:

Believe it or not, you can set boundaries with your family during the holidays (and at all times, really). Boundaries can be hard to set because they often go against what’s expected of us or what people “always” do. The thought of disappointing family or changing tradition often stops people from setting boundaries during the holidays. The truth is, though, your mental health and comfort are important. Learning how to set boundaries can help ensure you minimize anxiety or stress this holiday season.

Here are some helpful examples of how to set boundaries with your family:

  • If you’re expected to show up for an all-day holiday gathering, it’s okay to communicate limits. Try saying something like, “I’ll be there! I plan to arrive around 3pm and will have to leave by 6pm, but I’m glad I’ll be able to join for a few hours.”

  • If conflict often erupts at family gatherings, it’s okay to leave. You can say something like, “This fighting is upsetting to me and I don’t want to leave, but I am not going to stay if this continues.”

  • If certain members of your family like to criticize, judge, or critique you, it’s okay to tell them to stop. Phrases like, “I don’t appreciate you saying that to me”, “I don’t understand what your intention was with that comment”, and “I am asking you to stop saying things like that” are absolutely appropriate to say.

We know that it can feel uncomfortable when you start to set boundaries with your family. That’s why it’s important to try it. Sometimes you’ll do it well and sometimes you might struggle. But setting boundaries is like learning any new skill – the more you do it the better you’ll be!

More on Self-Care:

In today’s culture, the concept of self-care has gotten a bit distorted. Self-care isn’t just about spa days, elaborate meals, or shopping sprees. When we talk about self-care, we’re really talking about nurturing yourself inside and out – physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. This includes everything from eating foods that nourish your body, getting enough sleep, spending time with people who support you, and setting boundaries around your free time. And of course, it can also include pampering yourself a bit with long showers, yummy desserts, and reading a great book.

Here are some of our favorite self-care activities that can activate a healthy mindset and help you have the emotional capacity to deal with family over the holidays:

  • Get to bed early enough to feel rested

  • Eat breakfast regularly

  • Listen to music that pumps you up

  • Give yourself some downtime every day if you can

  • Allow yourself to take a real lunch break – meaning, don’t eat at your desk hunched over your computer

  • Leave work early enough to have a few hours to yourself each evening

  • Watch your favorite movie when you have some free time

  • Stay active, even in the winter – physical activity boosts the feel-good hormones in our brain, which is a natural stress-buster

  • Do something each day that you’ve been avoiding – even if it’s one small thing, it will help you decrease stress

  • Take yourself out to your favorite meal

  • Get some fresh air every day

  • Let yourself be lazy every once in a while

We always preach the benefits of self-care, and it’s okay to go overboard with self-care during the holiday season.

More on Changing Your Role in Your Family:

Families have long standing patterns that developed over the years, and every member of a family plays a certain part. One way you can learn to cope with family conflict is to step out of the traditional role you’ve always played in your family.

  • If you’ve always been the peacekeeper, relinquish the responsibility of mediating fights between other family members.

  • If you find yourself in conflict with other family members often, challenge yourself to keep your cool and remember that there’s a difference between assertive and aggressive communication.

  • If you shut down when conflict arises, try to keep yourself engaged with other family members.

  • If your pattern is to leave when people fight, consider staying and seeing it through. After all, if you leave every time, you won’t have a chance to see the repairing that might happen after the fight.

Support is crucial!

If you come from a family that’s prone to conflict and you can’t avoid it during the holidays, make sure you reach out to people for support. Chat with your bestie, talk about it with your partner, or make an appointment with a therapist.

And if things get rough and you wind up in crisis, don't hesitate to reach out to a hotline for support.


 

A Winter Reflection From Michelle



Image Description: Two hands wearing grayish blue mittens hold a steaming cup of coffee.

You are allowed to stop.

You’re allowed to walk out of a store because you don’t want to go into debt.

You’re allowed to cancel plans.

You’re allowed to change plans.

You are allowed to say no.

You are also allowed to say yes.

The full calorie count of your day is not a number by which to be punished.

Physical touch is something you do not have to engage in.

And family does not have the final say in your life choices, your value; your worth.

But it’s okay if these aren’t formalized for you yet.

It’s okay to feel sad at the holidays.

It’s okay to feel angry, lost; to grieve.

Because you are human.

And that means that life is messy, is changing; is never going to be the same.

We may come back to the same lessons, but never as the same person.

And in this season of big feelings, small feelings and dimmed feelings, there is still some universal truth.

You are enough.

You have value.

You have a place of belonging.

All for just being human.

You wake up with those truths.

You do not need to earn them, or prove that they are true.

They just are.

It is with all of this in mind that I wish you safety, light and peace this wintry season.

May you find a spark of hope to guide you into the next year, and the rest to reclaim who you are.

-Michelle Brewer-Bunnell, LISW & Treasurer of Survivor Cards


 

As always, thank you for reading and being here! Here's to a wonderful month ahead!

If you'd like to receive these monthly communications straight to your email, simply visit our website, scroll to the bottom and enter your e-mail address! If you'd like to get in touch, please email us at survivorcards@gmail.com

-Alyson Wick, Founder of Survivor Cards, Hot Girls Walking and Diversity Book Fairies of Cincinnati

(Individual, Self or Organization)

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