This lovely stargazer is Lily, and she was born on December 21, 2000.
If you’re here to make a gift in honor of Lily’s Golden Birthday, you can click here to do that right now.
Or you can keep reading for a letter about Lily’s Golden Birthday from her parents, Lesley Landis and Randy Voller.
December 21, 2021 is a special birthday. It’s the birthday of our daughter, Lily McCoy Voller.
And this year, it’s not just any birthday. This year is Lily’s Golden Birthday. A Golden Birthday refers to that one special birthday when your age matches your birth date. Lily would be turning 21 on December 21 this year.
This year, we’re doing something big–something super special–to celebrate what would have been Lily’s 21st year.
Our Russell-Voller tribe of family and friends is a creative one. Singers, poets, musicians. Dancers, authors, dreamers. Painters, innovators, designers. And actors, arts educators, and arts professionals, too. The talents of our creative community would have brought profound moments of joy, comfort, and connection to Lily’s life.
For her Golden Birthday, we want to help to bring those same opportunities for joy, comfort, and connection through the arts to local children.
Losing Lily–and living our lives without her–has meant a long journey of learning about living with grief, about the universal nature of loss, about resilience in the face of deep sadness. The programming at the Chatham Arts Council called Arts for Resilient Kids feels especially appropriate to support in Lily’s name.
Comprised of four parts, Arts for Resilient Kids is: Truck-and-Trailer Roving Performances by performing artists in children’s neighborhoods; ClydeFEST, which is an old-fashioned kids’ arts carnival celebrating folk artist Clyde Jones; ArtAssist for Kids where the Chatham Arts Council partners with schools to offer need-based support for art supplies at kids’ homes; and Artists-in-Schools that has delivered more than 70 arts residencies to local school children over the past 7 years. This program is reaching children where they are physically, academically, and emotionally.
During this pandemic time, we’ve been deeply moved by the Chatham Arts Council’s work delivering Service, Solace, and Hope through the arts to kids in our county. Right now, children are facing grief and uncertainty that are unprecedented in our lifetimes. A recent CAC arts residency with poet Phillip Shabazz demonstrated the crucial part the arts play in children’s ability to share their fears, process their grief, and build networks of support. Expression through the arts can reflect the natural resiliency that children have and can develop further to tackle problems throughout their lives.
December 21st happens to be the day of the Winter Solstice–the day we see the least sunlight and the most darkness on this part of Earth. Many times in the last 21 years our lives seemed to lack light. Fortunately, you good people and the arts provided guidance through the darkness and ports in the storm. But not everyone is so lucky. Fortunately, in this year—this golden year—there will be a bright and warm light of possibility for local children to learn, have fun, and find moments of joy and connection via the arts.
Please join us in making Lily’s Golden Birthday a powerful force in the lives of children in Chatham County. You can celebrate her birthday with a one-time gift–or you can commit to an amount each month in her Golden Birthday year by clicking here.
With love for the light you bring to our world,
Lesley and Randy
P.S. Always the generous pioneer, Randy’s mother, Viktoria Voller, inspired us with a gift in Lily’s name to support the Chatham Arts Council. You can help us grow Viktoria’s seed money into more arts experiences for children that bear fruit for years to come.
P.P.S. In numerology, 21 represents the ultimate fulfillment of a long and arduous process of spiritual transformation. The root number of 21, which is 3, is the number of unbridled creativity taking material form. Isn’t that cool?
P.P.P.S. 21 is also the address of our home. Coincidence? No. We’ve made ways to remember Lily and let her little light continue to shine. Will you join us with a gift with the number 21 in it?