Category: blog

Spark of Hope joins Broward County Mental Health Summit’s Planning Committee

Spark of Hope joins Broward County Mental Health Summit’s Planning Committee

When a community comes together, there is nothing we cannot overcome. Prior to the tragedy in Parkland, a group of dedicated professionals from various backgrounds got together to address the importance of providing education and awareness on the topic of mental health.  Sadly, the recent school shooting at Stoneman Douglas has heightened the urgency of this endeavor.  There is never a greater need to address mental health promotion in our country.  Hence, the Broward County Mental Health Summit panel which includes local and national experts in the field of mental health and addiction will be launching our inaugural event on Wednesday September 12, 2018.  This is an unprecedented gathering where a myriad of candid topics surrounding mental health will be brought to light in layman’s terms for the community to learn and to understand.  More importantly, the goal of the Summit is to provide a forum to create proactive solutions as well as to eradicate the stigma associated with those desiring to seek help in treating mental health and substance use disorders.  The event falls on the national week of Suicide Prevention and covers mental health outreach, education and treatment assistance for the following populations: Youth, Law Enforcement, the Elderly, Veterans and Attorneys.
The following are a list of caring professionals and organizations that will play a vital role on the facilitation of the upcoming Summit:
  • 211 Broward
  • Broward Sheriff’s Office
  • Sheriff’s Foundation of Broward County
  • Baptist Health of South Florida
  • HANDY Inc.
  • Spark of Hope
  • Larel Media (inWeston Magazine)
  • Wells Fargo
  • Broward County Bar Association Hispanic Lawyers Committee
  • Florida Lawyers Assistance Program
  • Jewish Federation of Broward County
  • Vital Financial Group
  • Broward County Department of Veteran’s Affairs
  • Broward County VA Outpatient Clinic
  • Women in Distress
  • Hispanic Unity of Florida
  • FPL
  • Broward County Elderly and Veterans Services Division

The Broward County Mental Health Summit will take place on September 12, 2018 from 8:00am to 5:00pm at the Charles F. Dodge City Center in Pembroke Pines FL. Tickets can be purchased online prior to August 28, 2018 for $25 each.  No tickets will be sold at the door. The expected number of attendees range between 500-1,000 people so we highly encourage those desiring to attend this event to purchase their tickets in advance.
We hope this will be one of several events our panel will be launching in the near future to support mental health in Broward County and beyond. Our goal is to bring mental illness out from the shadows of secrecy and shame into the light of acceptance and accessibility for those seeking help.
Please help us by purchasing tickets to the event and by sharing this post!  For those interested in becoming a vital sponsor, please contact Spark of Hope at (954) 590-8363 or by visting #Parklandstrong #MSDstrong #Browardcountymentalhealthsummit
Caring for those whom care for others

Caring for those whom care for others


On Wednesday, February 28, 2018, exactly two weeks following the Stoneman Douglas tragedy in Parkland, the team at Spark of Hope sent our Hope Dealers to offer counseling help and yoga meditative workshops for the incredible folks at Broward 2-1-1.  This organization is the only 24/7 comprehensive agency in Broward county that provides individuals and families with all of the critical connections to health and human service agencies and programs they need. Everyday, trained and dedicated 2-1-1 counselors assist hundreds of individuals by providing support, information and referrals that will help them to access the right services.  Because of their tireless efforts, many of the county residents in search of critical social services such as emergency financial assistance, food, shelter, housing, child care, job training placement, relief from abuse, depression, summer/after school programs, healthcare or mental support has a place to go to.

According to the Director of Training and Development for 2-1-1, Billie Morgan, the amount of incoming calls to her agency following the aftermath of the Parkland tragedy has been staggering.  “After assisting callers with so much trauma regularly, we so need this”, said Billie, upon learning that our team will be on-site to care for her staff.


Parkland’s long time resident and Spark of Hope’s Trauma Yoga Instructor, Eileen Fruithandler conducted a trauma yoga session for the 2-1-1 staff on hand.  “We are all just trying to help…in our own way” said Eileen.  Ms. Fruithandler, like many others, have a personal attachment to Stoneman Douglas.  She is a substitute teacher at the school and has tutored one of the shooting victims.  “This has been such a tragic story…we need to bring more love into this world.”

We couldn’t agree more.  Thank you to Billie Morgan and Tracy Schuldiner at Broward 2-1-1 for allowing us the opportunity to bring a “spark” of hope and light to your wonderful staff.  #Parklandstrong #MSDstrong #broward211




How the Tragedy in Parkland affects us all

How the Tragedy in Parkland affects us all


Parkland is a small town.  For those that reside here, it is a piece of utopia.  A place of innocence and tranquility.

Tragically, on February 14, 2018, Valentine’s Day, the entire city of Parkland along with its surrounding communities were hit with a tragedy of unspeakable proportions.  A lone gunman marched into the halls of Stoneman Douglas High School and opened fire with his AR-15 on unsuspecting students and teachers killing 17 innocent souls.  Suddenly, our place of utopia turned into one of horror, panic, grief and mourning…

When our staff went to the Parkland Amphitheater, where an around the clock vigil site has been established, we didn’t know what to expect.  We’d all seen the events unfold on the news.  Some of us were at the school on the day of the shooting.  We all live close by.  Yet nothing can prepare us emotionally for the scene we were about to experience.  There was an overwhelming sadness and despair that enveloped the air.  Seeing students coming by the dozens, many of whom were in the same classrooms where their classmates were murdered, was utterly disturbing.  Letters, stuffed animals, flowers, Stars of David, wooden crosses and other religious artifacts lined the stage at the Amphitheater.  We could hear faintly the voices of the students retelling some of the events of that day.  Others were mourning over the loss of a friend, or several…so senselessly taken.  A question that kept resonating in our minds was, WHY? Why were these innocent lives so violently taken from us? Why were these pure souls made to suffer and pay the ultimate price while others were spared? Why was nothing being done when numerous complaints about the gunman and his brother were reported to the authorities weeks earlier? Why was a mental health stricken young individual, with a history of exhibiting violent behaviors, allowed to purchase an automatic weapon with the killing capacity of an AR-15? No one has the answers.  There was none that would ease our sorrow.

When unspeakable tragedy strikes a person, a family or a town, we could only focus upon the positives.  For only light can dispel a place of extreme darkness. There were plenty of positives from our observance on the Amphitheater visit.  We watched students helping one another cope with the tragedy, while others demanded changes from policy makers to school officials.  Few have seen the outpouring of passion and compassion comparable to those of the students of Stoneman Douglas.  We’ve heard their cries, as we’ve cried with them.  We’ve watched their matches, as we’ve stood alongside with them.  We’ve witnessed their action, as we couldn’t be more proud of them.  Indeed light has been dispatched following the aftermath of 2/14/18.

In the end, Parkland is still a small town.  It is still a piece of utopia.  For it is OUR town, and we will not stand by and allow the 17 sacred souls to die in vain.  #MSDSTRONG #PARKLANDSTRONG #STONEMANDOUGLAS #WELOVEPARKLAND

The truth about alcoholism during the holidays

The truth about alcoholism during the holidays

It’s no secret that the holidays are hard for everyone, but they’re especially hard for recovering alcoholics who are accustomed to drinking on these days. In recovery, alcoholics are told to stay away from certain triggers that may make them think about drinking. Common triggers include family, social gatherings, people who drink, situations where alcohol is available, etc. The holidays often check off many of those triggers just at one family dinner. There are a few things the family can do to make the recovering alcoholic in their life more comfortable: Read More