EUREKA — Eureka College creative writing professor Dr. Ezekiel Jarvis is in the midst of rolling out an experimental writing project to raise money for local charities.
“I’d like to steer my current writing project more towards something that helps others,” Jarvis said.
On Sunday, he posted the first section of a choose-your-own adventure story that starts with a girl named Cassie finding a mysterious gem at the park that makes her faint. When she wakes up, she hears some noise, looks towards and it, and the readers determine what happens next by donating to one of three local charities: Central Illinois Sled Hockey Association, Illinois Voices Theatre, and Marc First/Spice.
For the first round, if you want Cassie to see zombies, give to CISHA. If you want the disturbance to be aliens landing, give to Illinois Voices. If you want Cassie to see robots, give to SPICE.
You can donate on Jarvis’ Facebook page. The first round of voting ends on April 6, Whichever charity has raised the most money by then dictate the next section of Jarvis’ story. The project will consist of three rounds of fundraising and the finished product will include four sections.
Before he released the first part of the project, Jarvis explained on Facebook what each organization does and how it has positively affected his family over the years.
On Marc First/Spice:
“Angi (Jarvis’ daughter) got physical therapy services from them after she had surgery several years ago. That means that her ability to walk was greatly enhanced thanks to the efforts of the people there. But beyond what they’ve done for our family, they’ve helped a lot of young people with physical and occupational therapy (this was a particularly big deal when some services were cut during Illinois’s long budget nightmare). They also help people with developmental disabilities increase their level of independence. There’s a slew of other things they do (link above), but, in short, they’re terrific.”
“Angi’s been in a number of Seedling productions now (she was the littlest angel in The Littlest Angel). Seedling itself gives an opportunity for physically and cognitively disabled and neurodivergent folks of a variety of ages the opportunity to perform on stage and also simply to make friends during rehearsals, workshops and more. It’s run by a kindhearted and very hardworking staff, and the performers are a genuine pleasure to watch onstage. Talented, funny, and enthusiastic, they consistently put on excellent shows and very lively Q&A’s.”
“Angi’s only been doing this for a few years, but it’s one of her favorite things to do already. Most of the people who try it out once get hooked quickly. The phrase “hockey is for everyone” is a kind of mission statement for the group, and Tim Kirk and the other people involved show a high degree of patience and creativity in supporting the players and coming up with adaptations that work for a wide variety of physical disabilities.
As a parent, it’s very fun to watch the kids out on the ice (they have an adult team as well, BTW), but it’s also been helpful to compare notes with other parents. Which agencies have been helpful to work with, what options are out there for working with schools, a few weeks ago, I even heard from someone what possibilities there are for adapting cars, which is helpful as Angi enters her teenage years. We’re very grateful for the experiences CISHA has given us.”
Jarvis is the author of three books, including So Anyway … (a collection of introduction to poems that don’t exist), and the short story collections In A Family Way and Lifelong Learning. His work has been featured in numerous literary publications. His play, Meeting, was produced in spring 2018.