Alyssa was an “old soul”. People described her as someone who was wise beyond her years. She was someone who was driven by philosophy while striving to give life meaning. As I got to know her, we connected because I’m also one of these “old souls”. She too, saw the world differently and viewed things in the most poetic way. Like Walt Whitman’s poem ‘O Me! O Life!’, Alyssa wanted to contribute a verse to life’s powerful play.
            When Alyssa was able to come home after her first battle against leukemia in 2010, she wanted to volunteer her time in a senior living home after being inspired by her grandpa Longino. She was still undergoing chemotherapy but her kind heart was strong enough to find a way to volunteer her time.
            Alyssa volunteered at Brighton Gardens of St. Charles, a senior living home in St. Charles, Illinois. She played the piano and violin for the guests at Brighton Garden as a way to cure their troubles or enhance their happiness. Alyssa knew the benefits of music and wanted to share it with everyone.
            Alyssa’s actions at Brighton Gardens reflected her favorite poem by Kalidasa. In particular, the section of the poem that stated, “For yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow only a vision. But today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.” She wanted a life well-lived.
            When Alyssa read this poem to me, I didn’t understand its meaning at first. Regrettably, my naivety must’ve shrugged it off. But after Alyssa passed, I re-discovered the poem in her journal. A flood of emotions came crashing down as the words jumped from the page and into my heart with the memory of Alyssa’s voice reading them to me, “…today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope…”
            Those words became the foundation of my drive to dedicate my time for the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope. I wanted to have a meaningful “well-lived” life to honor the person who has been my greatest influence. She inspired me to do good things and to become the best person I can be. Most importantly, she taught me the importance of having a vision for the future.
            As a non-profit organization, our “vision of hope” is to bring the gift of music and visual arts to young cancer patients.  We want to give them the means to create music and art and share it with the world! I know that sounds poetic, and maybe even seems impossible for some, but not for us. We believe we can make the world a better place by helping others. This is our verse to life’s powerful play.
            It’s a beautiful thing to have people believe in our mission. Our volunteers are the foundation of our Foundation for Hope. Without all of you, our events would not be possible. During our first benefit concert, our volunteers ensured our event was a success. They helped us with the silent auction, promotions, designing of the tickets and flyers, photography and overall organization of the event.
          Big thanks to our volunteers who were instrumental to the success of our first benefit concert: Ashlee Schneider, Glen Schneider, Kellie Wilson, Kemi Duro-Emanuel, Monica Pulver, Chris Coconate, Lupe Brueck and Robbi Brueck. We look forward to seeing you at our future events!
          If you’d like to help us with our mission, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Do it today and make today “well-lived”!  We’re looking for volunteers to do all kinds of fun and creative things. All ideas that help our cause are welcome at the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope. We’re looking for musicians, artists, poets, and anyone with a kind heart!
            You can make a difference in the life of a young cancer patient. You can help us grow. You can help us spread the arts. Together, we can Give Hope.

Please click on the link below to learn more about volunteering:

Thank you.

-Kevin Cervantes

Give Hope.

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
— Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman, 1892