In the spirit of being intentional and accessible, I shared the website for The Collective with just about anyone who would give me the time of day. I wanted to make sure that the language was clear to understand, the navigation was smooth, and above all, it didn't seem like a ridiculous idea to everyone outside of me - and if it did seem ridiculous, why?
So, I shared and made edits. I've gotten beautiful feedback. The response to the concept, itself, has been overwhelmingly reassuring. So much excitement and anecdotes of current or previous need is the literal fuel that has been keeping us in forward motion.
I shared and shared - still sharing, making edits and additions along the way. About a week or so ago, I shared thewellfolk.org with Vanessa German.
If you are unaware, Vanessa is a nationally known artist and teacher from right here in Pittsburgh, PA! She creates breath-taking sculptures, poetry, photographs, and performances centering the state of oppression and the hopefulness in healing and transformation. She celebrates Blackness and tender life. She is powerful with her words and presence and I shared The Collective with her.
I asked if she could look it over, if she had time. I wanted her honest feedback as I did everyone else and prepared to not hear back. Not because Vanessa wouldn't find it worth her time, because she is love, and therefore connects with the love others have for their work. What I prepared for was the potential that she would not have the time to sit with this and that would have been perfectly fine. But she did respond. Almost immediately, I received a simple reply that she would check it out. "Yes..." I read it, smiled and felt, "Aww Vanessa [heart emojis]," as I continued tinkering away at whatever I was working on at the time.
It was some days past that I received a message back from Vanessa not only saying that it was beautiful but also offering to sit down with me to talk through it. Time is sacred. When people make time, it is a thing that I've always felt a warmness for, because they are paying with something they could never get back.
So much excitement when I responded that I would love to share some time with her. As we worked it out, she mentioned having donated as well. First I felt thanks and "fuel" to keep going. When I checked to see how much the donation was for so that I can alert our fiduciary agent to expect it, I felt myself filled with so much gratitude that I couldn't breathe for a moment.
Vanessa had gifted The Wellness Collective with $1000! Our second donation and the largest, thus far. Both donations that we have received were filled with so much love radiating into our communities. I couldn't believe it.
You all might as well know now that I cry - a lot - when it comes to witnessing and experiencing acts of love. So, when I witness them between others or experience them directly or indirectly, there will be tears.
After I got myself together, I sent a thank you to Vanessa and we made our plans. I would like to reiterate how much her love and support means to us at The Collective.
Vanessa, you are a beautiful person with a stunning heart and character. From all of us at The Wellness Collective, Thank You.
Wanna know more about this beautiful person's work? You can check her out at https://www.artsy.net/artist/vanessa-german
Written by: Shanon Williams, The Wellness Collective