Friday, July 1, 2016

Wings of Hope!

So I started Mia's Dream Team on my own, it was personal to me. When I had decided to build a library in her memory at Crossroads for woman I had no clue what I was doing. I just knew I had to do this and I was determined to get it done by her birthday. I started February 1st and had until March 7th, Mia's birthday.  It was a struggle to get the help that I needed but a few people with good hearts stepped up. They baked goodies for me to sell at a fellowship hall to earn money. I had four weeks to make the money needed for the shelving and I still needed to collect book donations. It was frustrating at times but God provided and the library was built.

One day after work I was driving home thinking about this non-profit idea and I was feeling overwhelmed and a little discouraged. As I was driving over the loop 101 bridge going north on my home from work I had a conversation with God, I'm sure people driving next to me thought I was crazy but that's how sort things out in my head, I talk to God. I said "God please guide me, I know this is what I'm supposed to be doing but I don't know what to do next". The next day I had reached out to my dear friends Mama Cathy and Heather. (Mother and daughter) We ended up having lunch and by the end of this lunch Wings of Hope was born. God had answered my prayers in a big way. I decided to change the name from Mia's Dream Team to Wings Of Hope and before I knew it we had already planned a benefit and been approved to have it in the main auditorium at our church. We already started a fundraiser to raise money, and booked vendors. I know Mariah would be so proud of us.

Heather and Mama Cathy have been there for me, Allen and Mariah at the peek of their decline. It's been almost two years since they have walked along side me breathing life into me and giving hope to me and to my two addicted love ones. It seems fitting that God would put us together on this project. I do believe he was shaping us the entire time.

I already filed for our LLC and once we earn enough funds I plan to file for our 501c.

Wings of Hope founding board....

Ana M. Counts - Chief Executive Director
Cathy Clegg - Chief Development Director / Treasure
Allen Counts - Board Chair / Peer Commination / Speaker
Heather Massey - Vice Chair 1 / Head of Social Media / Secretary

Our mission:
To spread awareness on the growing epidemic of addiction. Our goal is to walk alongside families of addicts, provide helpful resources and to provide essentials to those in recovery and eventually God willing, to be able to provide scholarships to those who need a little help getting into a treatment center.

What started out as one person building a library in memory of Mia turned into a crew building a non-profit.

I love you Mariah, and I'l never forget you! And i'm keeping my promise to never let your struggle be in vain! 

Monday, June 6, 2016

It Never Fails

I’ve been working on a few very important things that I’m pretty excited about. There is so much to think about and so much I want to do in memory of Mariah. My focus will always be to spread awareness and give hope to those in recovery but I also want to keep her memory alive.

I’m always thinking of our girl! To this day, my heart still aches for her and she is never far from my thoughts. This past week I was talking about Mariah with Allen. We always tend to bring her up in our conversations every time we talk, it never fails. And almost every time we talk a different memory of their time together will emerge from his memory. Allen told me when they had their own place on 61st Ave, times were getting rough, really rough. Most nights they would bunker down together, curl up in bed and Mariah would spend hours just reading her books to him. He said when she would read she did it in such a way that he could visualize the story in his head and it was almost better than watching TV.

After he was done telling me this memory I just paused for a moment and looked at him and smiled saying “hum that’s a beautiful memory WOW”. “Forget about the circumstances, that memory of you two snuggling together and her doing what she loved READING to you is so precious”. Allen just grinned looking off into space, I’m sure his mind reminiscing in that moment. Then said to him “Remember those times, forget about the bad stuff and just remember the gems like the story you just told me, that’s how she wants to be remembered”. When I think of Mariah I have to remind myself of that advice. We tend to think of all the “I should of and the I could of” that we forget those special moments and all the time we got to spend with her. 

Oh, how we miss you!

If you have memory PLEASE message me so I can I share it. It’s so important to keep those memories alive.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Shame On You SNL

SNL, what where you thinking? I get that all is far in the comedy world however seeing how your very owe people died from drug overdoses one would think you would be a little more careful when making fun of drug addiction.

I'm so sick of society overlooking this epidemic. It's NOT A JOKE, it's not a joke to me and to the thousands who suffer from addiction and the thousands of families who suffer alongside their addicts.

Ana Counts
Mother of a recovering addict

Story on CNN

"I would think after the loss of John Belushi, Chris Farley and other beloved members of your cast that you would have realized that heroin addiction is about as funny as genocide, but judging by your show last night I'd have to say, apparently not," said Maureen Cavanagh, the founder of Magnolia New Beginnings, a support group which helps people find treatment and comforts families coping with the loss of a loved one from drug addiction.

"You have just attempted to make a serious health epidemic into a joke and it is nothing less than disgusting. Apologize and make it right," she wrote on her group's Facebook page. - Maureen Cavanagh

Tom Farley Jr., Chris Farley's brother and author of "The Chris Farley Show," took to Twitter to say he was "pretty bummed" by the sketch and was upset because it came from people he said he loves. - Tom Farley Jr

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

NEXT Project!

So I was asked to take a small break by my husband. Fair enough!! Starting April 1st I would like to do another project but I'm not sure what? Do you have any suggestions? Be sure to message me if you have any ideas. Until then I'll be brain storming with my team and talking to Mariah. Maybe she'll guide me in the right direction.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Library

The library is up!

Thank you to all those who donated books! The library would not exists had it not been for all those who donated all them amazing books. Thank you to my amazing group of volunteers. All the donated baked treats gave us the funding to buy the shelves. THANK YOU to the Pigeon Coop and the home group meetings on Thursday @ 8pm and Saturday @ 7:30pm for allowing me to set up camp and sell all those baked goods so we could buy the materials needed for this project. In times of great despair so many benevolent hearts came forward and gave little pieces of themselves which made this library have meaning to those woman at Crossroads who are still fighting for sobriety. It said to them YOU matter and it said to this world... those who struggle matter... and we value life and WE value who Mariah was and the roll she had in this world. 

Monday was a day filled with so many emotions. There was laughing and there where tears. As it came to an end we each grabbed a balloon and wrote her a little message. I sat there and watched everyone let go of their balloon... then I let go of mine and this overwhelming feeling of peace came over me. As I looked around everyone was hugging each other watching the balloons drift away into the sky. The girls at Crossroad sang Happy Birthday to her and it was beautiful. It gave me chills!! As we left that evening the girls at Crossroad gave us so much love!! They kept hugging us and thanking us for doing this for them. It was healing for my soul to see their joy and appreciation. One girl said to me... "I can't believe your doing this, it feels so good to know people like you actually care wow thank you". I couldn't help but think to myself how Mariah would have loved this. She was all about things like this not to mention she would have LOVED this library.

Thank you God for giving us this gift and allowing us to do your will.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Painting DONE, 2000 BOOKS categorized DONE!

"He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him." 

[Psalm 126:6]

Books categorized DONE!
It took a team to do this but we got it done. Thanks to all of you  over 2000 books were donated. Each and every book was handle with care and categorized. We were lucky enough to have a former Borders Book librarian.

Prep and paint DONE! 
These three carefully painted the walls and corner until it looked just right. I'm loving this color of purple. It brightened up the room.
It's a happy color of purple don't you think?

This Saturday we build! Sunday we stock the shelves! Monday... we open and hopefully bring joy to all those woman at Crossroads Flower.

It's all for you Mariah!! 

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Library.. coming soon!

The library in memory of Mariah at Crossroads for Woman is now under construction!!

It’s been a long road getting to this point. But it’s been healing for my heart. Loosing Mariah has been devastating, not just for me and my family but even more so for Mariah’s family. For those of us who knew Mariah her suicide has left us with a gaping hole that will never be filled. For me doing something to honor her memory and bring light to her struggle was/is my way of mourning. I refuse to let her memory fade. Her struggle… my son’s struggle can’t be for nothing. God has been guiding me towards a path for some time now, he has been preparing me for this path and I am honored to do his will. Showing kindness to others who have been struggling with depression and addiction and bringing awareness to suicide and to an epidemic of this magnitude will be my life’s mission. I don’t know where this road will take me but I’m in it for the long haul. I have to… I need to!

The dream to build a library in Mariah’s memory is now a reality. Thanks to some wonderful people who have helped me, we have managed to earn the money needed for this project. I’m in complete aw! I know it will hit me once completed. My goal was to have this library up by March 7th, Mariah’s birthday. All the baking and long drives to Tempe twice a week to sell were so worth it. Thanks to the incredible recovery community who welcomed us and bought and donated with their hard working money to this project is now underway and will be ready on Mariah’s Birthday. Praising GOD and giving HIM all the glory!

Ana Counts

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Being a Heroin Addict

Mariah’s little sister messaged me the other day. She found this article and she said, “something about this spoke to me.” Upon reading the article myself I was amazed at how close to home it really hit. As I read this article I could see both Mariah and Allen in this story, only he lost her, not the other way around.

Having had a front row seat to their lives. I had to sit there and watch the rapid decline of their health and watch them slowly being enslaved by the astonishing power heroin possessed. I think this young lady expressed it perfectly!

"When I moved to Colorado after high school, heroin had my soul and it wasn’t planning on ever giving it back." - By kalielizabeth0139

"Being a heroin addict was putting a needle in my arm for the first time. It was living in my best friends room for months, only coming out when we needed more dope. It was shooting up the second my eyes opened just so I could get out of bed and consider starting my day." - By kalielizabeth0139