A2H: Ashes 2 Hope

Hello, my name is Katie Costenaro and I attend Reed-Custer High School. On February 20, 2014 at one in the morning my house burnt down. My neighbor’s house was under construction and caught on fire.  There was 65 mph winds that night which resulted in their house catching mine on fire. By the grace of God my neighbor saw the fire reflecting off of the snow and a local police officer was patrolling my neighborhood. They were able to get my family (including my precious kitty, Zoe) out, alive, in one piece, and unharmed. Thanks to amazing neighbors and an amazing community we immediately felt overwhelmed with the generosity of everybody. What struck out the most to me, though, were the people that came up to us and said, “My house burnt down too…I know what you’re going through”
   On June 19, 2014, I spent the weekend at HOBY (Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership). HOBY changed my life. I spent that weekend with kids the same age as me wanting to change the world. There is just something so powerful about that. During the whole leadership conference they spoke a lot about Hugh’s time in Africa and how he was so compelled to go out and do more. At the end of Hugh’s time in Africa Dr. Schweitzer said to him, “Hugh, what are you going to do with this?” and now I find myself asking the same question. “Katie, HOBY changed your life, you want to make the world better, but how…what are you going to do?”
   On the second day of HOBY I decided and publicized my decision on Facebook. I wanted my friends to be able to hold me accountable for my thoughts, to push me in the right direction, and to make sure I follow through with it. Now I want to tell you and ask a couple favors of you, too.
   I decided to start a non-profit organization to help families who have also suffered the lose of a home because of a fire in my community. This organization will personally hand out care bags filled with things they will need right away but not just anyone will be handing them out. I will be. I will go to the person’s house (or wherever they are staying) because I know what they are going through and what they will continue to go through and there’s just something about that that is special. Many people will tell you when something terrible happens in your life, “I am here for you”, which I am not saying is not true. It means a lot, it does. But what means more is when that person can say, “I know what you’re going through, I am here for you”. But I cannot do this alone. I don’t have the funds to buy and make these care bags, as much as I wish I did. So this is when I turn to you. If you would be as generous to donate ANY amount to help families who just lost everything I would be forever grateful, as would they. If you would feel more comfortable donating items, please contact me (my information will be below). Thank you everyone and remember, “you have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you”.

For more information please feel free to email me! 
More information on HOBY: http://www.hoby.org/

  • Cindee Sierzega 
    • $25 
    • 65 mos
  • Denise Ellis 
    • $50 
    • 66 mos
  • John Voris 
    • $100 
    • 70 mos
  • paula costenaro 
    • $100 
    • 73 mos
  • James Wagner 
    • $50 
    • 73 mos
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Katie Lynn Costenaro 
Braidwood, IL
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