Increasingly, there is concern for the millions of refugees from around the world who have fled from the ravages of abuse and war. Yet, says Michele Baer, of the Thayer Park Ward, Mountain View Stake, there are countless others who live in our own neighborhoods who similarly need help.
“We often forget there are millions right next door, millions of ‘Refugees of the Heart’ who are fighting their own secret battles every day,” Michele says. “Each of us has a responsibility to look around and find those who need a helping hand in our communities.”
She says the JustServe app and website (JustServe.org) provides a way to do that.
JustServe, an initiative started by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was launched in Arizona two years ago. On the site, individuals can easily find opportunities to connect and to serve within their community.
“JustServe is helping change the mindset that we have to wait for a ward or stake group to plan a project and then we will show up to serve,” Michele says.
She caught the vision of JustServe when it first introduced in Arizona.
“JustServe breaks down walls and builds bridges. Doing service together in the community is key, something we need to do as the Second Coming approaches,” Michele says.
Combining her passion for service with her love for music, Michele recently created a music video, to “raise awareness and encourage people to adopt ‘Just Serve’ as a vehicle to perform regular service.”
Michele started singing harmony at age 3, has been involved in musical theater since she was 6 and started studying piano at 10. She has won several musical competitions, has released three CDs and performed nationwide as a soloist and in musicals. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University, taught private voice lessons for more than 10 years and has directed many church, community and children’s choirs. Also known for her public speaking, Michele is a popular presenter for Especially for Youth and has taught LDS seminary for several years.
For her most recent project, Michele used a song by Michael McLean called “Safe Harbors” and drew on the talents of videographer Steve Porter also of the Mountain View Stake.
She was a bit reluctant to shoot the video at first and worried that she might be criticized for using GoFundMe to finance the project.
“I had to put that behind me.” As she focused on her goal—to motivate others to reach out to ‘Refugees of the Heart’ near them—“I could see I was being pushed to do this,” she says. She was able to quickly raise the money for shoots in Washington, DC, and in Sedona. “Other things showed me that it was not happenstance, but that the Lord really wanted me to do this,” she says.
The result is a video with “a feeling of grandeur” and a heart-warming message that encourages viewers to use JustServe to extend kindness, help and healing to those in their own communities.
The video itself is an act of service.
“It’s not a moneymaker,” Michele says. In fact, any additional funds she raises will be donated to JustServe organizations.
Her hope is that viewers will “be inspired and will simply choose to serve.”
To view the video on YouTube, visit: https://youtu.be/REo8Dgx0eEU
For more about the GoFundMe Campaign, see https://www.gofundme.com/MusicVideoforneedy.