Forest of Hope: Growing through what we go through

Published 7:32 am Sunday, December 1, 2019

A forest full of faith, love, peace and hope has sprouted at the library in Kill Devil Hills. Thanks to Edith Deltgen, students, teachers, community members and people from all walks of life were able to come out and write kind messages on strips of fabric that were draped in and around the trees surrounding the library.

Deltgen has had a fair share of hardship in her life. After the tragic deaths of her children, her thoughts and actions turned to the perseverance of others. From there came her idea for a “Forest of Hope.”

Deltgen collects old bed sheets and cuts strips of fabric for people to write messages on. She also uses weighted plastic bottles that hang from tree limbs, containing paper messages filled with positivity and love.

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“People relate to this problem because everybody has a problem, either within their own family or with friends or just somebody they know,” Deltgen said. The messages are meant to give hope to those grieving, suffering with a mental illness, succumbing to addiction problems or just going through a rough time in their life.

On Thursday, Nov. 21, Deltgen invited the local high school students to come out and write their own messages while learning about the real reason behind the Forest of Hope. “That’s the reason I do this, because I don’t want the kids to have to go through that,” Deltgen said. She hopes the messages the students read and the ones they write themselves inspire them to give love and never lose hope for a bright future.

Along with the 140 high school students that came out to participate in the event, Deltgen went to the local prisons and had the inmates write their messages of peace. Hanging on a tree towards the back of the library parking lot are flowing words of encouragement, perseverance and strength from the inmates to show that anyone can help bring a little more hope to the world.

Deltgen said whoever would like to come out and add their message to the trees at the library can do so over the course of the next month. The messages can include whatever inspiring words come to mind. “You could write poetry, bible quotes, we even had some Gandhi,” she said.

This was Deltgen’s fourth forest in the area. She had previously “grown” ones in Swan Quarter, Tyrrell County and in Ocracoke. She said 3,000 messages adorned the trees in Ocracoke when she had gone down weeks ago.

If you would like to participate in this movement to spread peace, hope and love, visit the KDH library within the next month. There is a small table and chair with strips of fabric and pens inside the lobby of the library.

Deltgen encourages everyone to write something, because there should be no battle we fight alone.



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