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Honey for the Heart!

The Annual Halloween Block Party Parade in Athens, Ohio, brings lots of people from all over. Although canceled this year, the excitement remains in the hearts of those individuals who participate at Echoing Connections of Southeast Ohio. That is because of their involvement in Honey for the Heart.

Honey for the Heart is a month-long community project.

On any given day in October, you can find community members of different backgrounds, including those with and without disabilities, working together to create fantastical costumes and giant puppets for the annual parade. Made from recycled materials and paper mache, each creation fits the theme for that year.

Rachel Ulbrich, Director of Adult Services at Echoing Connections of Southeast Ohio, first got individuals she serves involved in 2015. Throughout October, 10-15 individuals will participate in helping to create pieces for the puppets and costumes, with another four to six participating in the parade itself. Rachel herself was a bird in one of the parades.

“My personality is not one who normally dresses up, but being in that costume was fun,” recalls Rachel. “My fears of being dressed up were eliminated as soon as I began assisting the individuals along the parade route. I was able to see the excitement of the spectators, which was such a cool experience.”

Eli Conover, an individual served at Echoing Connections, has created art for past parades at Honey for the Heart. He shares, “I liked it! I liked being together with people.” He was also able to participate in past parades and shares, “The parade was good! My favorite part was the costumes!”

Echoing Connections of Southeast Ohio has several Honey for the Heart pieces from past parades in their back area. The vision is to turn this space into the official museum for Honey for the Heart. Until this time, Rachel Ulbrich still encourages people to come out and see the art.

“Having the Honey for the Heart Puppet Museum at Echoing Connections is so much fun,” says Rachel. “I enjoy talking with guests about Honey for the Heart and how our community comes together to create these wonderful puppets. I enjoy sharing how we march on Court Street to kick off the Halloween Block Party and that some of these puppets have traveled to Las Vegas!”

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Honey for the Heart is a part of the Passion Works Studio. Passion Works Studios creates and sells art made by individuals with and without disabilities.

One piece they are most known for is their Passion Flowers. Created from recycled metal, Passion Flowers are created from several artists’ works and are known as the Official Flower of Athens. The inspiration behind the Passion Flowers came from one of the individuals served at Echoing Connections, Carolyn Williams.

When asked how it feels to be the inspiration behind Passion Flowers, Carolyn shares, “It makes me feel better and happy for myself. I just started drawing and came up with it.”

Love. Learn. Worship.

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