EVERYONE HAS A STORY TO TELL…
Let’s face it, we all deal with tough stuff, but it’s what you do with what you deal with that shapes you as a person. Everyone has a story to share, and everyone can inspire someone. Part of the healing process is recognizing that your situation, your illness, your problems, or your issues don’t define you- YOU define YOU.
EVERYONE HAS ‘WINGS’
Everyone has the power to inspire others, sometimes it just takes opening up your wings- and flying! Chances are there are young people just like you facining similar challenges or issues. Want to help? Want to be a positive light in someones life? Our programs open up the doors for children and teens to open up and help spread hope.
& EVERYONE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE..
Think of all of the things you love, all of the things you are good at, and all of the things that bring you joy. Now take a moment and think about what would happen if you shared those things with others? Making a difference doesn’t mean raising $2 million for a charity, it could be as simple as donating some toys to a hospital, or simply taking the time to visit a nursing home. Take your ideas, and let them fly! Your ideas don’t have an expiration date, an age requirement, or an application. Your ideas start with you, and can start right NOW!
My name is Felicia Reinhard and I am the proud founder and director of the Littlest Heroes Project. Oh yeah, I am 20 years old!
How the Littlest Heroes Project and Inspiration Through Art came to be…
At just 20 and 3 years out of high school, I can honestly say that I have been through a lot. I was born drug addicted and was also premature. My parents passed away soon after I was born leaving me with little to no hope for my future. The first couple months of my life were very difficult as I struggled to get better and also waited for a family to take me in. Finally one day a miracle happened, and I got my lucky break. I was finally placed in the hands of two amazing foster parents. What seemed like a short time turned into years as they grew attached to me, and in return I adopted them into my heart as my family, and at 3 years old they told me they would adopt me. But it was not as easy as they thought. The court gave them a hard time asking them time and again if they really wanted me (and my non-related) sister they had been fostering, because we were black. Finally after stating their case and winning, at the age of 3 I was officially adopted into the Reinhard family.
Because of my birth moms poor choices with drugs and other related problems, I have a lifetime of medical issues and consequences I have to face, but I remain positive doing things like taking pictures and giving back to other kids who are struggling, as a way of healing for myself. I have had a difficult childhood and I often think of the “what ifs” with my life but know that there is a reason I am here and a reason that my life has played out the way that it has and it gives me up for a bright future for me and everyone I am able to touch and meet.
I started getting into photography in April, 2007 and took an instant love to it, and the rest is history! Only a few months after getting my first camera I started to become more and more serious about my work, and what I could do with my photos. For the past 3 years I have dedicated my life to giving back to children fighting all types of different illnesses in a variety of way….now I have extended that through my photography and Inspiration Through Art. I myself have come from a past with many challenges but with hope and love surrounding me I have been able to keep a strong footing on ground that sometimes seems so rocky. I understand that I will have a lifetime of battles ahead of me but am now finding a better way to look at my life, and to live it to it’s fullest. I am now in the process of taking photography classes and am going to continue with it into college. I believe in always gracing this earth with your talents so that they reflect the inner you and help others.
How I choose to look at life…
There are so many things in life that are right in our grasp, yet we cannot seem to grab hold of them. It seems that so many times in life we don’t take for granted things that are right in front of us until they are taken away. I believe that life is like a beautiful music box. All of the things and people we value and hold dear are kept inside it. So beautifully decorated with all of the assets we hold close, and with photos of ourselves and loved ones through the years. But sometimes the beauty of ourselves blinds us from the sometimes-harsh reality of things we wish we could just close up and forget about.
The thing that always fascinated me about music boxes when I was kid was the way the music would start and stop on command. It seemed like magic, something that could just play on it’s own. As I stood on my tippy toes in front of my mother’s dresser I could see the beautiful box. I knew what it held, the wonderful song that I heard my mother listen to each morning. If only I could reach it, I could open the lid. When my birth mother got sick and her life went downhill I can only imagine the music box feeling she must have felt. Her whole life in front of her, that beautiful music, closed and shut away. But the thing that hurts the most is the knowing that there was a time when it was okay, when her life was beautiful like the music box that I would stand and stare at each morning. But it was like her hands were tied and all the while all she could think about was just reaching and opening that box, hearing the sound of the good times all over again.
We each hold different songs within our music boxes. Some are fast and some are slow, some loud and some soft. Our songs never stop playing but sometimes because of everyday things that blind us, it seems like the lids to our music boxes close shut, sometimes without even noticing. The busyness of life, the stress of work, the pain of an illness, or the sudden change that happens without our control, can sometimes blur the music of us that at one time would ring so strong. We let other things take a hold of the things we value, love, and trust. But someplace deep within we know were still there, and our music, our happiness, and our joys are still playing their songs just waiting for the lid to be open once more.
It seems that there are some people who are born with their music boxes closed. No happiness or joy followed them as a child…the death of a parent, or the hurt of abuse kept their boxes fussed shut to the point where they never thought they would hear their song. Their ears ringing with the everyday noise and the muffles of other people’s joys and happiness drone out their own. Self-discovery and self-happiness take more then a little girl standing on her tippy toes to reach. It might take years until a person finally opens up their music boxes and finally gets a chance to hear the music that was closed up inside them for so long. At first it might be very strong, loud, and overpowering because of how long the song was just waited for them to hear. I can still remember the first time I heard my song, sitting in the courthouse, legs crossed just waiting. Waiting to see what was coming next. When out came a tall man in a black suit. He looked sad, mellow, and not excited for the news he was about to deliver. “It’s all done, your adopted” he must have said but I cannot remember the words because my song seemed to boom louder then anyone else’s in that entire courthouse building. “I’M ADOPTED!” I screamed as I felt my new mother embrace me. At that moment, at the age of 3, I heard the very first beats of my song. Something so powerful that will continue to follow me the rest of life playing over and over in my mind, while also adding new verses along to it.
There have been so many times in my life that everything seems to get in the way, and hearing myself seems so difficult. There are days when I don’t even long to feel happy, the hurt and pain swoop over me and push any happiness away. But I know that doesn’t last. Just like I was as a young child, I know there is happiness, and I know there is more. My music box is not as far away as it seems over the edge of the dresser. It might take more then just standing on my tippy toes to reach it, and it seems like that might always be the case. We have to teach ourselves that it takes more then just our own two feet to hoist us up, to really reach ourselves. It might take a box to stand on, like a friend to lean on, or a stepping stool to balance with, like medicine to keep us alive. Either way, whatever we use we must not take for granted. For we all long to hold happiness in our hearts, like the beautiful music that plays from each music box.
There have been so many people who have come into my life and who have added so many sweet verses to my special song. These are the people who have come into my life during the good, the bad, and the ugly. The people who have seen me conquer and who have been with me when I have fallen. The people who have been hurt, helped, and loved all at the same time. But most of all, these are my best friends, the people that I know that when the day ends even if it was on a sour note, I can still turn to that next week when I’m ready to hear a sweeter song once again.