Sometimes the stars do align, and good things happen. Gary Doi and I both started blogs focused on hope in May 2011. Our first posts were just two days apart, and it turned out we were geographically connected as well. We both live in British Columbia’s Okanagan, though in different communities.
The world can never have too much hope, and we both set out to chronicle it. Gary created a magazine blog and called it A Hopeful Sign. He wrote in About AHS, that he created the online publication “out of a deep desire and commitment to spread hopefulness to a wider community. To encourage people to live life fully, to learn for a lifetime and to make a difference in the lives of others.”
Over the next two years the site grew to include 547 stories and 225 videos. It featured photographs and images from some of the most talented artists to share their work on the Web. Visitors could go directly to the site or connect via Twitter or Facebook. Among the regular contributors were people from all across Canada and the U.S., as well as Dubai, England, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates.
When Gary announced in June 2013 that he had decided to move on to other ventures, he was inundated by calls to turn the content into a book. People stepped forward to volunteer as editors and designers, and in only a few months the book was ready for release.
On November 27th I had the great fun of sharing a launch party with Gary at the downtown Kelowna library. As Gary talked about the book and we read some of the stories, I felt honoured to have been one of the 42 VIPs (very interesting people) to have been asked to contribute to the site and to have selections in the anthology. After the program, sales were brisk, with many people walking out with multiple copies to give as gifts.
Inspiring Hope: One Story at a Time is a collection of 75 stories of hope from around the world. Net proceeds from sales will benefit the Miguel Asturias Academy Library in Xela, Guatemala (whose story is also in the book).
A second book is already in the works. Gary says Inspiring Hope: One Image at a Time “will feature inspirational photographs, artwork and stories from around the world.” I have no doubt it will be as good as the first book.
As Gary wrote when he announced he was moving on:
Thank you everyone for giving so generously. Thank you for sharing your perspectives on living, learning, leading. Thank you for showing that the greatest joy and happiness comes from what we do to enrich other people’s lives.
As for me, I leave with a renewed sense of hope and what it can do to empower, heal and transform. Hope challenges the passivity and negativity around people. Hope builds resilience.