“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before…is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?”
-Edgar Allan Poe
I am a son, a brother, a life-long student, a lover of nature and all beings. I am a dreamer. I long for a world with less suffering and more love. I am a human being, with two hands, often bare. I feel, perhaps too much; this energizes me to serve others. As long as another being suffers from the blight of poverty, I cannot rest.
For most of my youth, I generally accepted homelessness as an unavoidable aspect of society, my mind justified it but my heart always felt uneasy. Through development of the spirit, this discomfort of the heart grew over time to draw questions in my mind until all the artificial reasons for why homelessness exists in our world were stripped away, leaving a vividly stark reality and igniting the hope that we collectively have enough resources to provide for all beings.
While it’s easy to blame social inequities and to vilify institutional corruption because they are so apparent, I am taking the path to unite all of humanity and charge each one of us with the responsibility to provide for all of its members. Because when you strip away all presumptions and preconceived notions about the homeless, all that remains is the realization that no man, woman, child, or animal deserves to be neglected and left to die alone on the streets.
As a human being, it is “humane” to care for the frail and weak, and to transfer one’s strength to those who are in need. I think this is one reason why we value caring for our elders and protecting our children; in the very same way we express love for animals and the natural world. The struggle is something that connects each and every being. A homeless hungry human or animal will dig through the trash for food, seek refuge, love and companionship; a planet writhing in pain will reveal its scars.
This is why I am devoting my life to envisioning and building a world that engenders a thriving existence for all beings.
“To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.”
–Pearl S. Buck
Nicole (Nikki) DeVille is a PhD student in the Program in Public Health in the Department of Population Health and Disease Prevention at University of California, Irvine. She received her BA in International Relations from Stanford University in 2012 and her MPH with a specialization in Epidemiology from University of Hawai’i at Manoa in 2014. Her broad research interests are chronic disease epidemiology in Pacific Islander and Indigenous populations, maternal and child health, as well as, issues of social justice. She believes that an understanding of scientific and technical issues and political, economic, environmental, and social factors, as well as, an integrative approach to societal problems are necessary in order to increase public health capacity and improve public policy.
“Learn from Yesterday, live for Today, hope for Tomorrow.”
Alice originally started as a regular volunteer for The Heart of Delight and after spending meaningful time with the organization, she officially became the Photographer and Secretary. Each A RiSING Community event is captured through her lens in the purpose to spread the word of The Heart of Delight’s work and to convey what society takes for granted everyday. A warm bed, a hot shower, clean clothes, nourishment.
She was drawn to The Heart of Delight when experiencing a low point in her life which led to her determination to use that negative energy more productively. A do-gooder since elementary school, it became clearly evident to volunteer and thus start her chapter with a wonderful group of people.
Alice graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with a major in Studio Art and a minor in Digital Art where she then went on to work full-time in the Entertainment Industry specializing in Online PC Game Marketing, Community and Event Management for almost a decade. Currently, she works as a Social Media Manager in the Women’s Health industry after spending some time in Ecommerce.
Using both her creative and organizational skills is a powerful outlet for her and one that she gladly serves as she believes in the path that The Heart of Delight is paving for the local community, and eventually to the rest of the world to create a thriving existence for all.
“Work for a cause, not an applause. Live life to express, not impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt.”
Adrina Wilson started her professional career in the entertainment industry, obtaining a B.A. in Theatrical Lighting Design from Western Carolina University. Originally from Las Vegas, she has had experience in all technical areas in both the entertainment industry as well as the theatrical world.
Most recently, Adrina has decided to make a change in her life and career path. Though part of her heart will always remain with Lighting Design and the Theatre, her heart really stands in helping other people.
Board Director, Former Vice President
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
Amanda Novoa is a graduate student in the Stage Management Program at the University of California, Irvine. Amanda’s involvement in theatre began at the University of La Verne through her work-study position in the production shop. She quickly fell in love with the theatre and became involved in the Drama Department beyond her duties as a work-study employee. After dabbling in acting, design, and directing, Amanda set her heart on stage management.
“Forget all the reasons it will not work and believe in one reason it will work.”
Amber Julian is a recent graduate of Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, MO. She continues her education at University of California, Irvine the MFA program in Stage Management.
Julian stems from Shawneetown, Missouri, a small town above the boot heel. She graduated from Jackson High School with honors. She has received a Lifetime Membership with the Girl Scout Organization and is a Gold Award Recipient. Julian’s theatre career began with the role of Toto in A Magical Land of Oz during the summer high school musical. She had left a 14 year career of softball to pursue life in the arts.
“Some men see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say why not?”
-George Bernard Shaw
Brian currently serves as a director, advisor, and regular volunteer for The Heart of Delight, where he engages with and helps those subject to unconscionable suffering, collecting information that will cumulatively inform how we instill positive self-actualization in the community we serve.
“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and in thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.”
Dylan Thompson is an organizer, activist, and software engineer. Originally from the city of Novato, California in the Bay Area, he moved to Southern California to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at CSU Long Beach.
During his years at CSU Long Beach, he recognized more clearly the importance of civic engagement and democratic participation. Events such as the bail out the bankers who crashed economy and the continuation of illegitimate wars showed him that it is up to ordinary people to step up and build the world they want to live in.
“This will change. May all beings and non-beings everywhere be happy and peaceful.”
Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Given all the societal, economic, political, technological, and ecological discourses that our contemporary societies are engaging in, I truly believe a better world is possible. A world in which all sentient and non-sentient beings can flourish. An enlightened world. A world which allows us all to reach our full potentialities. To preserve spaces for the différance and the sameness. To develop our love, peace, empathy, compassion, and goodwill. To evolve as human beings. These are our great challenges as citizens of the world.
My future personal goals are working on the climate change policies, environmental refugees’ rights/international human rights, and environmental justice issues, preserving the lands/cultures, eradicating extreme poverty, and fighting for animals/plants issues.
John-Frederick Jones has spent the majority of his life in the world of theater although there was a period of time when he was a photographer in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He earned his B.A. at Allegheny College in PA and completed his M.A. at California State University in Northridge, CA.
Currently John is an Adjunct Professor at Irvine Valley College. At various times, he has and continues to teach Voice and Diction, Great Plays of Western Culture, Theater Appreciation, Fine Arts Appreciation, Oral Interpretation, Advanced Acting, and Acting for the Camera. John also directs various plays at IVC as well. His Private Instruction and Coaching includes Shakespeare Techniques, American Scene Study, and Monologue Presentation.
John’s teaching experience over the years has included Chapman University, Cypress College, California State University Northridge, University of Southern California, South Coast Repertory, Alabama Shakespeare Festival Conservatory, and Orange County Children’s Theater.
Laurel Jones has been a church worker for over 30 years. While raising her two sons, she served in many volunteer capacities such as Sunday School Teacher, Youth Leader, Board Member, Choir Member, various Committee Chairs, Women’s Ministry, etc. When her second son began high school, she began a part-time paid position in a local church office.
When her sons were in college, she began taking classes at South Coast Repertory Theater. Laurel realized that a whole new world had opened to her. She was asked to write and perform a portrayal of Katie Luther, the wife of the great Reformer, Martin Luther. Laurel and her husband John have traveled coast-to-coast celebrating the life and ministry of Katie Luther. In August of 2012, Laurel was asked to bring Katie to a synodical convocation in Camp Hill, Minnesota. Katie shared her life and ministry with over 650 pastors and church workers from all over the United States and Canada.