Images of the Year, Streetlight Video

Published: December 18th, 2014

Category: Recent Posts

Dear Friends of Streetlight,

Reflecting on this transformative year, we thought that rather than tell you, we would like to show you some of the meaningful experiences that inspired us. We feel privileged to get to carry our amazing adolescent and young adult patient friends. Thus, the best gift we can give to you is to show you the gift of companionship through images of our year. Thanks to the creative vision and editing skills of our Assistant Director, Sara Sapp, we invite you to watch our Streetlight “Think Back 2014” video:

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 7.29.24 PM

We encourage you to share this video with family, friends, coworkers, or even other young adults living with a chronic illness. Although these images barely touch the depth of Streetlight, we hope they represent the spirit of our mission. We organized the video by our disease specific support teams, and also included other special moments that defined this year. We hope you enjoy viewing the memories as much as we enjoyed making them.

Six years ago, I realized the Streetlight spark burning inside of me. Since then, I decided to devote myself to this program. Today I am honored to lead Streetlight as Director, and continue the flame that our founder, Rebecca Brown, began several years ago. When a fire starts to burn it starts to spread, and I believe that love like any fire, cannot be contained. I see the fire burning in our volunteers, brainstorming creative and personal ways to uplift our patient friends through a Disney costume birthday party, visits during holiday hospital admissions, custom cookbooks for patients with recipe contributions from the team, an online video game league to connect patients and volunteers outside of the hospital, a new support team for our transplant patients offering them tailored support while waiting months at UF Health for a heart to arrive… The Streetlight fire burns alive in our hearts, and it cannot be contained within one person. It was intended to be shared amongst each other.

And speaking of sharing, we are excited that “Streetlight South” at the University of Miami, is growing! Laura Teisch, a Streetlight alum and University of Miami medical student, is taking a year to develop the program at Holtz Children’s Hospital. As of this Fall, Streetlight South is now an official 501c3 non-profit organization. Under the supervision of palliative care physician, Dr. Patty Cantwell, 30 medical students and 30 undergraduate students comprise the Streetlight South team. Some of these volunteers are Streetlight alum like Laura! We are encouraged by our friends in Miami; keep fanning the flame!

Also of encouragement, Streetlight research conducted by the University of Florida Center of Spirituality and Health has been submitted to Medical Sciences journal! The study explores how Streetlight relationships transform our volunteers, and ultimately affect their long-term compassion and sensitivity toward end of life, both personally and professionally. Last year, our founder Rebecca Brown, Emi Lenes from the research team, and I presented the study “Death: Up Close and Transformational for the Premedical Students” at the Association of Death Education and Counseling’s 35th Annual Conference in Hollywood, California. We are so grateful for the vision of Dr. Ana Puig, Dr. Lou Ritz, Emi Lenes, Dr. Barbara Rienzo, and Dr. Monika Ardelt. Without these special individuals, we would be unable to share the valuable experiences of our team members. We will keep you posted on the publication!

As we look ahead to the future of Streetlight, we gratefully recognize the individuals that brought us to this point; the volunteers that gave their time, and the patients who inspired and taught us. And to our generous donors, you are the reason we stand today, and we thank you for believing in this work. Because of your giving, and the support of the University of Florida Department of Pediatrics, we can continue the fire. If any part of you feels touched by this work and would like to invest in its future, read below for ways you can donate.

In closing, I’d like to share this line from OneRepublic’s, “I Lived,” the song featured in our Think Back 2014 video. The original video from the band depicts a young teenager living with cystic fibrosis. Despite his personal challenges, he exemplifies the Streetlight mission: choosing to live life courageously, and with fullness. May we all give thanks for the lives we are given, and live in such a way that we can say:

“I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
Yeah with every broken bone
I swear I lived.”

To follow Streetlight events and support throughout the year, you can “Like” our Facebook page for updates, photos, and weekly inspirations:

There are Two Ways to Give….
1) Online through our secure website:
*No Appeal Code Necessary

2) Mail a check addressed to “Streetlight” to:

Streetlight/Emily Sullivan
1600 SW Archer Road
PO Box 100296
Gainesville, FL 32610