On Saturday about 25 i-tri alumni girls and their mothers and sisters celebrated the holiday season with a retreat day that focused on giving, while also kicking off a local campaign to send letters of hope and encouragement to those whose lives were devestated by Superstorm Sandy.
Theresa Roden, the founder and executive director of i-tri, a fitness and wellness program for girls based in Springs, said the theme was thanks, giving, peace.
"We started off focusing on all that we are grateful for in our lives and then spent some time as a group discussing peace — what it means for each of us in our personal lives and in the world," she said. "We used the prayer of St Francis as our guide and broke into small groups, discussing and creating posters for each line — in giving we receive, in pardoning we are pardoned — discovering that he way to peace both personally and worldwide comes from loving and giving, not blaming and fighting, that it is more important for ourselves and for the world to feel at peace than to be right."
The group went for a brisk run and walk and then reconvened.
They watched a Ted Talk Video about Hannah Brencher, who wrote letters and left them for strangers to find, transending into a global initiative called, "The World Needs More Love Letters," which rushes handwritten letters to those in need of encouragement.
Jackie Grande, who grew up in Island Park — an area devestated by Hurricane Sandy — spoke to the group about the devastation there and how letters like these would make a difference to the people living there.
The i-tri girls and their mothers each wrote "love letters," which Grande delivered to Island Park residents on Monday, Roden said. "The girls really loved writing the letters — they felt that they could really connect in some way to the feelings of loss, fear, despair, sadness that their reader might feel and it gave them a sense of purpose to try and help in this small, but meaningful way, which just reinforced the idea that in giving we receive."
Meanwhile, others are answering a call to deliver similar letters to the Rockaways and Island Park by Christmas.
The Ruby Marketing Group, based in Sag Harbor, posted on East End Cares, the grassroots organization formed in Montauk after the hurricane, asking for letters:
"Write one letter. Seal it, put it on Christmas Stationary or in a Card. Write to someone as if they are your best friend, write to them to show that you love them, that things will be okay, that with the help of many others who have surrounded them, they will come out in an even better place.. Please share encouragement, positive thoughts in times of adversity, and love... You may change someones life by writing one letter."
- Step 1) Write a letter... Put your heart and soul into it.
- Step 2) Become a FAN at Ruby Marketing Group, then share a picture of your letter on your page and be sure to tag @Rubymarketing and @MoreLoveLetters on Facebook!
- Step 3) Mail it to: Ruby Marketing Group, 16 Denison Road, Sag Harbor, NY 11963.