Joy heals our wounds, inspires us to greatness, and fills our soul.

Laura Vancolen Jump for Joy  Photo by Eyoälha Baker www.jumpforjoyphotoproject.com

Laura Vancolen Jump for Joy
Photo by Eyoälha Baker http://www.jumpforjoyphotoproject.com

“Joy is what makes life beautiful. It’s what gets us through challenges and allows light in to illuminate the shadows. Joy heals our wounds, inspires us to greatness, and fills our souls with goodness.” – Meimei Fox

Yesterday I received a call from Laura asking if she could take part and jump for joy in my project. I had never met her before and asked her what had inspired her to want to take part. She openly and vulnerably shared with me that she is going through drug detox. She is making some major life changes so she can get clean and get her 3 year old daughter back from Child Services. She said that one of the things she likes to do with her daughter on her visits is to look at the people jumping in the Wall of Joy and try to pick out people they know (some of the women who live in the neighbouring SRO where she lives are in the mural). She thought it would be fun to be in the mural and have her daughter be able to find her there. The mural project is done, but Im still doing jumping photos so we planned to meet up today in the beautiful spring sunshine to do her jump for joy photos.

When we met, we hit it off immediately. She loves the arts, writes poetry, paints, sings and makes dream catchers. As she told me all about her life living on the streets, her drug addiction and some of the struggles she has been though in her life. She has a very strong determination to get clean and be with her daughter again.

I admire her strength and courage thought this difficult time. In many ways doing these jumping photos was like a rebirth for her, the start of a new beginning. She is bright, creative and has such great ideas for improving the world. She has many challenges to overcome, but I believe in her and know she will do whatever she sets her mind to.

When I asked her how she felt doing the jumping photos, she said that at first she was a little nervous because she wasn’t sure what she should do, but then after a couple of jumps, it made her feel happy and free 🙂 I think these feelings are a good start in the right direction.