by Karen Coney Coplin
Next month, this column will celebrate its 5th anniversary!
Since 2010, I’ve written about wonderful and caring people and organizations. Most of these charitable organizations have “sticks and bricks” locations in our city or nearby.
This month, my subject takes a slightly different path as I focus on an organization, or movement, which is located, largely, online. The “Shea-Shea Shines On Kindness” honors a young girl who is nestled securely in the hearts of those who knew her, heard her story, or – timely still, are now hearing her story: the legacy of Shea Juliet Maurer, a Naples girl who died in a tragic accident in November, 2012.
Her mom, DeAnna Testasecca, and DeAnna’s good friend, Patty Gahan, met as members of the Naples Moms’ Club, and forged a solid friendship over the years. DeAnna and Patty want you to know that Shea was a vibrant, happy child who loved the Red Sox, country music, the color purple, St. Patrick’s Day, and rainbows.
“As an affirmation of Shea’s life, I founded the Shea-Shea Shines On Kindness movement a few months after Shea’s death. In a powerful display of putting one foot in front of the other despite heart-crushing grief, DeAnna embraced the effort, and now we work side-by-side doing acts of kindness, both random and targeted, in Shea’s memory.”
The Shea-Shea Shines On Facebook page documents the organization’s works: https://www.facebook.com/shea.shea.shines.on.
In about a year and a half since its inception, Shea-Shea Shines On, with the help of donations and support from its 600+ followers, has performed hundreds of acts of kindness for hundreds of people across the country. This past Mother’s Day, for example, we undertook a special project honoring bereaved mothers – a project to affirm and remember the lives of other children who, like Shea, have passed away.
Dads are included too! Shea’s group has founded an “Honoring the Honorable” project directed at public servant dads. For this project, Shea-Shea Shines On followers treated local firemen and police officer dads to coffee and donuts and other treats in the days leading up to Father’s Day.
In the spirit of the holiday season and to memorialize Shea’s birthday (December 5) as well as what her mom calls her “angelversary,” the date of her passing, November 23, DeAnna has embarked upon the “12 Days of Kindness.” With the end of the year upon us, perhaps you’ll consider participating in this and on 1/14/15 for the Collier County
“Kindness Awareness Day.”
Do you want to help spread a little cheer and kindness this holiday season and in the new year? Here are some ways to help Shea’s family and friends spread good words and deeds:
- A $25 donation covers the cost of assembling a “sunshine box” with comfort items/toys for a sick child/person.
- A $100 donation can be used to fund a bigger kindness act for a particular person. (Such as a ticket to Disney for an impovershed child’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.)
- A $250-$1000 donation would cover the cost of a big kindness project, such as the Mother’s Day project.
Another example would be their participation in the Naples Saint Patrick’s Day parade for which they needed to pay the entry fee, and cover the cost of supplies – 2000 Shea-Shea “kindness cards” – these are printed with Shea’s own artwork to assist people in doing random acts of kindness – plus water bottles and balloons. If you would like
to receive some of these cards to pass along as you perform an act of kindness, please email Patty at: Pattygahan@gmail.com.
There is probably no loss felt so deeply as the loss of a child. However, the loss of any loved one might be felt more deeply in the holiday season.
At holidays, there is “family ritual, and the layered memories of year,” as well as the “sudden small reminders,” as reflected by author Martha Whitmore Hickman. For those in grief, she shares the following poetic lines from Alfred, Lord Tennyson: The yule-log sparkled keen with frost…the quiet sense of something lost. DeAnna shared that she found comfort in moving forward, with grace and purpose, to help others in grief and in need. To support Shea-Shea Shines on Kindness, please “Like” this organization on Facebook or contact Deanna or Patty via email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shea Maurer would most certainly want you to “Live, love, & laugh” in the coming new year. Here’s to a happy, healthy, & purposeful 2015.
Checks (payable to): “Shea Shea Shines On” can be sent to Jim Testasecca CPA, at 2528 SW 31st St., Cape Coral, FL 33914. Email Karen at NaplesKCC@gmail.com with ideas for future articles.