StarGift Project Minutes – Jan. 15 – 2015

StarGift Project

Meeting Minutes

Jan 15, 2015


  1. These minutes represent the compilation of discussion among a newly formed Planning Team for the StarGift Project via online communications.


  1. The label “StarGift Project” is a working term. . .we may find reason to give this organization a different name.


  1. The original Planning Team consists of Pamela Hieser, Jodi Lancaster and Chad Emmett.  Pastor Eric Swanson of First United Methodist Church of Le Roy, Il. participates to offer guidance and support.  Harold A. Hahn [Skip] participates in discussions sharing his perspective but at this time is not active in performing research etc.


  1. Quotes below come from the book ‘Starting and Running a Non-Profit Organization’ as well as from a variety of articles from various groups available online.


“Although your actual planning group doesn’t have to involve everyone with something to contribute to the plan, it should consist of the key people who will help you put the organization and it’s programs together.   For example, a planning group for a new, small nonprofit might consist of the chief executive, one or more other staff members if any, the chair of the board, someone from the board or a key volunteer who knows something about planning, and someone who can see things from the perspective of potential clients.”


  1. At this time we are a volunteer  planning team.  Pamela Hieser is serving as ‘acting’ chairman of the board.  Once we have agreed to bylaws, those bylaws will define how various board positions are filled and which, if any will become paid positions at some point.


  1. The next step in forming a non-profit is to write a mission statement.   A communication was shared  with Jodi Lancaster and Chad Emmett.  The content of that communication is below:


“Please read this article.”

“I will now start producing ideas for “mission” statement and share them with you.  We will meet electronically and produce minutes which are required to file for non-profit.  More to come.”

Jodi has read the article as of this writing.

Takeaway Task: Read this article on creating a mission statement.  Follow links to examples etc. [Note to Eric:  We need your advice on this]

Now let’s talk about what we hope to accomplish with this non-profit.

Here are my thoughts:

  1. I want to respond to the calling to “put the book into the hands of children.”  I would like to make the book “The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There” available to all children, especially those who are not otherwise being taught about relationship with God.
    1. I would like to engage churches and some other non-profits world-wide in distributing the book through their mission networks and projects.
    2. I would like to engage people world-wide in donating copies of the book to be distributed by these churches and non-profits.
    3. I would like to expand into the creation of other stories of Jesus and the Star growing up together, each with a message from God for the children.
    4. I would like to share any profit margin with the participating non-profit organizations that distribute books.
  2. The portion of ‘profit’ that is retained should be used to benefit the start-up of an organization for adults in central Il. with developmental disabilities.  If/when that organization comes into being, I hope to continue helping to fund the services provided by that organization.  If that organization never materializes, I would like to continue providing financial support for other projects that benefit adults with developmental disabilities.

You may be concerned about what appears to be 2 missions:  One, getting copies of the book to children and a second, creating an organization for adults in central Il. with developmental disabilities.  I know I am concerned about how to express the relationship between these two goals.

I have considered three options:

  • Create a non-profit that is an organization for developmentally disabled adults.  Then try to fund it through a fundraising project marketing the books under that org.
  • Create a non-profit to 1.) 1get the books to children and 2.) provide an organization/campus of services for developmentally disabled adults.  [i.e. duel goals]
  • Separate the two.  Create a non-profit to share God’s message of love and relationship with children through creative products.  Plan to use any profits to enable the goals of other non-profits.  [Assumes that there will be a separate non-profit for developmentally disabled adults which could be one beneficiary of those profits.  If that never comes to pass the profits can be allocated to various non-profits including those that serve developmentally disabled adults.]

If you followed the links from the article above, you may have found this page with requirements for becoming a 503c.  We will want 503c status so that donors can get a tax deduction.

At this point I’m not sure any of the three bullets would qualify.  We need some advice on this.  I’m inclined at this time to think the best chance is the third bullet.  Please share your thoughts on the scope.  Once we have a decision on how to organize, we will brainstorm mission statements.

Send your responses via email to







“The Star. . .” Newsletter #19 – Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and Happy Holidays to All

MerrCartoon image of Jesus in manger with Star shining abovey Christmas 2015! 






In our last newsletter we told you about a campaign to donate books to children in Children’s Hospital of Peoria at Christmas! What is more fun than giving a Christmas gift to a child! Help us to gather up to 68 copies of The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There” for children in Childrens Hospital of Peoria! Each book is a $10.00 donation! If 60 people each donate one book. . .we’re there! Currently. . .we have 19 books!!!! A ways to go before Christmas. Donate here:
This newsletter contains pictures of some of the reading events I participated in this year!
Just this past week, I did a readings for:
• The “Little Learners” at First United Presbyterian Church in Le Roy

• Heartland Community Church of Normal with a large group of families who participate in the after school program hosted by that church



  • Heartland Community Church of Normal with a large group of families who participate in the after school program hosted by that church











  • Families with children with special needs that participate in the SPICE program hosted by Marcfirst in Normal!

We have no pictures of the SPICE reading at this time!

Of course we participated in the Festival of Trees in November and the Immanuel Bible Foundation Women’s Christmas Breakfast in December. And we have completed another ‘Star’ Christmas Tree which will be donated to the Festival of Trees in Champaign-Urbana next year. Just this afternoon, Roger and I tucked it away in a tree bag!


After Christmas, I will be heading to Florida with my husband for extended time off. Of course I’ll be working some from that location . . .but I’ll also make sure I have plenty of time to play.

The studio will be closed until April!  But I will continue posting on facebook and providing the Newsletter. 🙂

Let’s all pray for the hearts of men to be changed so that all may enjoy peace.  Merry Christmas!


“The Star. . .” Newsletter #18 – A plea


Cartoon image of Jesus in manger with Star shining above


“Then the child reached out his hand

as if to touch the star above,

to let him know that he’d been seen

and let him know that he was loved.”




Hello my friends.  This is a busy time of year as I do readings of “The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There” for children and participate in many events where we market this story of God’s love. . .for children.  The profit from sale of this book is used to fund two small ministries:

  • The StarGift Project, an outreach to children with a message of love from God
  • The Village Project, an organization to enable quality of employment and life for adults of central Illinois who have developmental disabilities.


The StarGift Project brings together 1.) churches and other non-profits to distribute “The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There” to children who are not otherwise being taught about relationship with God with 2.) Donors who wish to plant a tiny mustard seed in the heart of a child by donating one or more books to be so distributed.

We need your help!

Donating books!

Last year we hosted a donation box for books to be distributed to the resident children of the Baby Fold.  We collected 28 books in this way, one for each child.

This year we have been collecting donations of books for children in Children’s Hospital of Peoria.  At this point we have only 4 books donated.


Please consider donating a book to be distributed to a child in Children’s Hospital of Peoria by visiting the StarGift web site and making a donation.  I sincerely hope that many of you find yourselves wanting to share this story with children so that we can touch the hearts of those children who will be in the hospital during this Christmas season.

You will see evidence of the distribution in another newsletter and on my facebook pages “Hahn – Author” and “The Spirit of Light Creativity Studio.”

You can also help advance these two small ministries by calling on the pastor of your church, or leaders of groups within the church, and telling them about the StarGift Project and encouraging them to participate as distributors.  My portion of profit is shared with organizations that distribute the books.  And donors receive a discounted price that is 33% below retail.

Finally, you can help by volunteering to schedule and give readings of the story, by working to plan an event in your church or school based on the story [requires permission] or in a myriad of other ways.  Please feel free to contact me if you would be interested in helping in any way.

May you all have a Joyous Christmas, filled with wonder, warmth and sharing of the spirit!



“The Star. . .” Newsletter #17 – Starting Plans for the Christmas Season 2014

The last newsletter covered progress on the Village Project.  This Newsletter will update you on the StarGift Project as well as the studio and provide some information about upcoming events!


Pam with the 'blue ribbon' winning tree.
Pictures don’t do the tree justice. We had to brighten this image so you could get a sense of the purple and blue color.

StarGift Non-profit status:

I planned at the beginning of the year to try to achieve non-profit status for the StarGift Project.  That goal will have to be moved to 2015!  I have received examples of by-laws which will be used to jump start the creation of by-laws for the StarGift Project.

Engaging Churches:

Although I sent literature out to over 300 churches, I have not been able to followed up with personal meetings with all of the churches.  So much depends on churches and non-profits deciding to participate in the StarGift Project by being willing to get copies of the books delivered to children through their mission networks and agreeing to be listed on the StarGift web site.  [While I did get the web site up. . .I feel it is still under development. . .but please review it and share your thoughts.]

On the plus side, some of the organizations we’ve been in touch with are interested in finding ways to get the book to children. . .but we have not had the opportunity to present the idea of a web site to bring these organizations and donors together.  Each organization has a different structure for engagment and decision-makinge and often the decisions are made by individual groups or committees within the church.  So the first step seems to be to identify leadership within these groups.

  • First Presbyterian Church of Le Roy purchased books for all of the children in their Little Learners Program.  They are planning some programming around the story for the Christmas Season.  They declined to share in profits so their contribution will help to fund the StarGift Project and the Village Project.  This is a blessing!
  • Heartland Community Church of Normal will host another reading of the book for parents and children at their Christmas Party for our After School Program Families on 12/17.  The reading is scheduled at 6:15 PM.  This church will also be adopting families and asking donors to purchase a book to include with the family gifts!  Another wonderful blessing!
  • Would you like to help schedule a reading for parents and children at your church or private school . . .or for a group of home-schoolers?  I have prepared a letter that you can share with directors of Christian Education or anyone who may be able to schedule a reading!  Feel free to contact me. [see contact info at the bottom of this letter]

Other non-profits:

  • A dear friend, Amy, purchased 20 books for distribution to children who are clients of Marc First where she works serving children and adults with special needs.  We are looking at providing a reading/distribution of the book at their Christmas Party or other arranged function.
  • I am communicating with a facebook friend in South Africa about getting books to children in and orphanage, children who have been orphaned by AIDS.  If this works out, I will be asking for help with donations of books for their children.  You can learn more about Open Arms by visiting their web site.

Use of the story for Christmas Celebrations:

Churches and other non-profits can build programs around this story.  I will provide permission to use the story [no fee] but 1.) must be able to pre-approve the script [to ensure consistency with story] and 2.) receive photos or video of the event.  If you are a member of a church in Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana or surrounding areas, or if you are a board member or volunteer for a non-profit organization, perhaps you would be willing to talk to groups to make them aware of the StarGift Project.  Or perhaps you’d be willing to send out a prepared email or letter.  Please contact me if you can/will do this and I will send you the content.

Status:  Publish a Spanish Translation of “The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There.”

My brother completed a translation of the story into Spanish.  I sent it to a few bi-lingual people for input but so far have only received feedback from one.  That feedback was positive. Then I have a bi-lingual friend who also started working on a translation. . .and sent the first 8 verses . . .but have not heard more on that.  I really need to follow up better!  I will also have to move this goal to 2015.

Status:  Publishing a coloring book version of “The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There.”

Finally, the work to turn the book into a coloring book. . also must be moved.  I’ve offered to pay several people to 1.) trace the drawings to get a start that can be scanned into software. . .or to use 2.) Adobe Illustrator to re-create the drawings.  A few people have dabbled with it. ..but so far no one has made a committment to do the work.  If you have skills to trace or translate with Illustrator and are willing to talk about price. . .please contact me.

Events scheduled in 2014 [to date]

Festival of Trees, Bloomington-Normal Nov. 21, 22 and 23

I will participate as a vendor at the Festival of Trees in Bloomington-Normal.  Although I am not creating a tree for this festival this year, we will be doing readings of the story in the “Jinglebell Junction” [children’s activities] during the day Friday, Nov. 21 and again Saturday morning at 9:30 or 10 AM with a potential second reading around 11:30/11:40. [Im hoping to have ‘Star’ with me on Saturday!    I planned to do a tree for Champaign and also be a vendor there, but at that Festival you must be present to be a vendor and I would need volunteers to man the gift table there!

In addition to books, this year our ‘consignment’ shop will include ‘Star’ ornaments, ‘Star’ t-shirts, ‘Star’ refrigerator magnets and some other products created in the shop.  If you are a crafter, I invite you to contact me about including some of your work in our consignment shop at the Festival of Trees.




Festival of Tress, Champaign-Urbana Nov. 21, 22 and 23

It has been my intent to bring the Star to Champaign-Urbana by participating in their Festival of Trees.  Because all three Festivals of Trees are on the same weekend [B-N, C-U and Peoria] I am finding it difficult to split my time between even two.

  • Can you, and are you willing to help get a tree to C-U [will need to transport an already decorated tree] and help add finishing touches to tree?
  • Or  help man a gift shop there, please contact me!  Otherwise, this too will have to be moved to 2015. . .and I will not participate in B-N next year.
  • Please volunteer to help. [See contact info at the bottom of this letter]
Decorating Trees at the Festival of Trees
Part of my designer team setting up the ‘Star’ tree at the Festival of Trees.

Nov. 22 at 1:00 PM, Book Reading a the Museum in Le Roy

Dec. 6th at 8:00 AM, Immanuel Bible Foundation’s 2014 Women’s Christmas Celebration

I will again provide centerpieces and attend the Immanuel Bible Foundation’s 2014 Women’s Christmas Celebration at the Uptown Marriott in Normal on Saturday, December 6th, 8:00-10:00 a.m.  The Immanuel Bible Foundation also supports the arts and guests are invited to browse all the centerpieces and purchase items from the artists after the program.  I will have books. . .as well as ‘Star’ t-shirts, ornaments. . .and refrigerator magnets.

 Contact Information: 

Pamela Hahn Hieser
Spirit of Light Creativity Studio
122 East Center St 
Le Roy, Il. 61752


Schedule an Author Reading/Signing of the Children’s book “The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There”

The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There! CoverThis is the story of a little star who could not glow.  Yet, because of an encounter with the newborn Christ child, his heart is filled with love and joy and he is transformed into the brightest star in the sky, the star of Bethlehem.  It is a delightful story for children between the ages of approximately 3 – 9.

Please share this information with the Christian Educators or other groups within your church.


1.)  As the Author, I am scheduling readings of the book for children and their parents.  Parents have the opportunity to purchase the book at reduced prices and the sponsoring church group receives 50% of the profit. Please consider scheduling a reading at a Christmas event and contact me if you choose to do so.

Pamela Hahn Hieser
Spirit of Light Creativity Studio
122 East Center St. Le Roy, Il. 61752

Perhaps you’ll even want to build a Christmas presentation around this story of His love, the gifts He provides and how we can use these gifts to glorify Him and serve others.

100_1587After reading the story to children and their parents, the author describes the missions below, makes books available for sale, and signs the book with a personal message.  This year we will include optional ‘Star’ ornaments and refrigerator magnets! 2.)  I am working to grow 2 missions in Central Il.

  1. The Village Project is a mission for adults with developmental disabilities
  2. The StarGift Project is a Christian outreach to young children. . .bringing churches and non-profits together with donors to provide a copy of the book “The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There to children everywhere.  Proceeds from sale of the book are used to fund the startup of these missions.  Donors purchase at a reduced price and sponsoring organizations share in the profit from the sale to support their own missions.

You can:

  • Preview the story by clicking on ‘Preview Book’ on my web site
  • Learn more about the Village Project by clicking on ‘Author Blog’ then selecting to read 1.) A Life Community for Developmentally Disabled Adults  2.) Village Project and reading minutes etc. in order [by pressing next to advance]
  • Learn more about the StarGift Project by clicking on ‘Author Blog’ then selecting to read 1.) The StarGift Project and by 2.) visiting a web site under development to bring churchs and non-profits together with donors to accomplish the StarGift mission
  • You can also visit my Author FB page where you will see photos of readings and events and where I post inspirational messages.
  • Share a FB page for children hosted by the main character of the book “Star.”  I am always looking for people who want to help find content to post that is appropriate, fun and/or meaningful for children!
  • Finally, you can choose to visit and possibly ‘like’ a page for my studio “Spirit of Light Creativity Studio” of Le Roy, Illinois. . .the home of the Star, the StarGift Project and the Village Project.

I hope that you choose to have a reading for the young people of your Church!

God bless.




Village Project Minutes 10-07-2014

The meeting this month was attended by only three participants.  As we move down the path to bringing our community into the vision of a community where adults with developmental disabilities can learn, socialize, work and even live safely we may have to consider seeking non-profit status.  Prerequisite requirements for filing for non-profit status include:

Having at least one or two board positions filled.

Regular meetings at which minutes are kept.


Minutes of meeting of 10-07-2014

Document:  A Visit to Lambs Farm

Minutes of prior meetings


A Letter from the President & CEO – Lambs Farm

As the Village Project, our mission for adults with developmentally disabilities of central Il, grows, we often reference Lambs Farm as our model for the vision and organization.  This letter from the President and CEO of Lambs Farm outlines how that organization is evolving to continue to meet the needs of an aging population of people with these challenges as well the needs of new younger Participants in the programs.

This will help you to better understand the vision that was created when Lambs Farm was originally conceived and how that vision is evolving.  I think you will love the idea of building similar organization and facilities in central Illinois.  🙂

A Message from the President and CEO – Lambs Farm

“The Star. . .” Newsletter #16 – Progress and Challenges

Hi all.  This Newsletter will bring you up-to-date on progress and Sept. plans for the 1. Studio and the 2. StarGift Project.

Stained Glass Mosaic - colored glass, glued to a glass pane with colorless glue, and with spaces between the colored glass filled in with black grout.


In August we hosted three one night ‘free’ classes.  The first was a class in drawing with realism.  It was attended by 6 people and I believe all had a good time.  The second was a class in making stained glass mosaics.  Again, 6 people had a good time.  You can check out the results of their work posted on our FB site starting with: 100_1378

The third was a class in painting on glass.  We painted votives. . .and again posted on our FB page:


Over the first two months, we had about 20 people drop by to find out what’s going on in the studio, and then maybe a dozen more during the Le Roy Fall Festival.  We posted pictures of that carnival on the FB page as well. . .and will turn to them in January or Feb when we’re all cooped up, as sources of something cool to paint or draw!



Our first meeting of the Village Project turned out 6 people and it was a good meeting.  We posted minutes on our blog and provided them to you in the last newsletter.

We only had two persons attend the informational meeting about the StarGift Project but we are scheduling another informational meeting in September.  In the meantime I have  met with groups in two of the local churches and got a positive response to the StarGift mission from both. One of these churches chose to purchase copies for each of the children in their early childhood learning program and donated all of the profit to support of our missions.  I expect a better turnout at our Sept. 16th StarGift meeting!  LeRoy will be the hub. . .of the activity as we grow out across central Ill, the country. . .and other countries in time.

There is a lot planned for September.  We will have two classes:  The first is a stained glass class which I’ve included on my blog.  It will start next Wednesday.

The second is a painting class. . .in which we’ll focus on learning color mixing and color theory.  We’ve also got a Ladies Night Out scheduled to learn calligraphy, a free class in drawing/painting trees, two volunteer groups [one a group of crafters to help make things for promoting the missions] and [another to brainstorm stories of the Star and Jesus growing up together].  Here’s a link to the Studio page of our web site where you can check these things out.  If you’ve been here before remember to ‘refresh’ the screen to get the latest updates.

Image of the Studio store front with the four shirts created for the StarGift Challenge in the window, on mannequins made of foam core!

We changed the content of the front window to include the t-shirts produced by participants in our recent StarGift Design a Custom-T contest.  This window was up in time for the Fall Festival and we have a challenge for Le Roy and the rest of central Il. to participate in the next StarGift Design a Custom T Challenge.  You purchase a StarGift t-shirt [in the studio or online] and design the back to reflect your story of relationship with God. . the gifts he has provided to you. . .the things about which you are passionate.  Wouldn’t it be cool to find people wearing their custom shirts at events.  What an ice-breaker!  What a conversation starter!  Perhaps you would like to create one for yourself or for someone you care for.  You can get info here:

And you can see the results produced by our initial competitors here:

I found a sewing site which has some free patterns.  I’m getting some simple bag/purse patterns and will plan in October to start sessions with a few developmentally disabled people [and volunteers] to help them sew to create marketable art that we will sell for them.  All proceeds from sale go to the ‘creators’. . .So think about buying a few Christmas Gifts that will enhance the quality of life/employment for developmentally disabled adults.

We also have works from some local artists hanging in the studio.  You can find postings on our web site as well.  Adela Alvarado. . .does a lot of drawing with colored pencil of dogs and cats.  If you’d like a portrait of your pet, send a picture and we’ll see if Adela can fit it in.  Tony Cade, loves to create ‘creatures.’  He not only paints but creates latex masks.  Anyone interested in having a custom creature mask for Halloween?  We recently added the work of Stephen Burkhart.  Stephen does some portraits from photos and small landscapes.  We’ll be posting his work soon.  Consider giving the unique gift of a portrait to someone this Christmas.  Stephen will work from your pictures. . .and if you like the results we’ll negotiate a reasonable price.

Please consider ways you can get involved in our missions perhaps by participating in challenges. . .or volunteering for one of our new groups. . .or volunteering to help developmentally disabled ‘artists’ hone their craft. . .or volunteering to share the story of “The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There.”



Intro to Stained Glass Class!

Spirit of Light Studio is offering an introduction to stained glass class in September.  122 East Center St. Le Roy, Il.  Scroll down for supply list and estimated costs.

Two images of stained glass window with 2 hummingbirds drinking nectar from bright red trumpet vine flowers.

Wednesdays, Sept. 3rd – 24th, 6:00 PM to 9:00  PM [We may add one more night if necessary]

Participants are exempt from ‘Open Studio’ fees.

Class participation requires a $20.00 fee, payable at registration.

Stained glass can get expensive.  Initially you must invest in some basic tools and materials.  Once you’ve got your tools. . .you need only invest in the materials needed for each piece you decide to create.

The studio will provide some of the tools.  Still to get started will require an estimated $100 – $130.00 if you don’t already have some tools.  This estimate includes:  $20 [registration], $75 [tools/lead] and ? [whatever you choose to spend in glass].  But you will love what you produce!

Stained Glass Supply List

Stained glass window of a large SUN peeking in the window.