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Array of Hope

In an effort to help people with illnesses and special needs, as well as children facing crises, Lisa Bain, Mavis Pearl and her Joy in the Cause charities are delivering beautiful treasures.

Michele Chiappetta
Valerie Grant
August 29, 2017

When Lisa Bain gets up in the morning, she has a goal to bring joy to people in need. That’s the driving force behind her organization, Joy in the Cause — a 501c3 charity focused on providing care, compassion, and joy, one personal act of kindness at a time. The charity began its mission to impact Green Country eight years ago, after two devastating pieces of news rocked Bain’s world.

“My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer, and she was my very best friend on the planet,” Bain says, remembering that fateful day. If that wasn’t enough of a blow, she received even more bad news. “On the day we found out Mom had ovarian cancer, I was also told to throw away my running shoes, that I might not be walking in six months [due to] several autoimmune diseases.”

Though the news was terrible, Bain recalls her mother saying, “We’re going to make this about joy. We’re going to give back and we’re going to find our blessing in paying it forward.” And so they did. “We would go to chemo appointments wearing chicken suits and party hats,” says Bain. “She would wear a disco wig. It was really comical.”

It was also eye-opening. “What we found was, people needed joy,” says Bain. “People were hurting, and there were needs.”

With her mother’s encouragement, Bain created a charity to help people with life-altering illnesses and special needs, as well as children facing crises. Soon, she says, they were actively helping others find joy in the midst of challenges. A key element to their charitable work involves care packages for those in need, and each package is customized for the specific person’s situation. “No two care packages are the same,” says Bain.

A key element to Joy in the Cause's charitable work involves care packages for those in need, and each package is customized for the specific person’s situation. (Photo: Valerie Grant)
A key element to Joy in the Cause's charitable work involves care packages for those in need, and each package is customized for the specific person’s situation. (Photo: Valerie Grant)

Another element to Joy in the Cause’s efforts is the charming Mavis Pearl, an English bulldog who serves as the charity’s ambassador. Registered with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs and a member with Karing K-9’s, Mavis Pearl visits hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and cancer treatment centers to spread joy to those in need.

For places where Mavis Pearl can’t go, there is the stuffed Mavis Pearl toy. Volunteers sew handmade outfits for the stuffed animals, which are included in care packages. Recently, says Bain, new students from Tulsa Tech served as volunteers, and it was transformative for them.

“I always love it when we get these groups of students coming in that we get to mentor,” she says. “They come in thinking it’s one thing [a service project]. And you see the a-ha moment, and they leave completely different. And probably three-fourths of those students are now going to become volunteers.”

Another outreach of Joy in the Cause — the Purpose Project — began when Bain became aware of an elderly gentlemen at a local nursing home who had no visitors. “He had not left his room in a year,” says Bain. “They called and asked if we could come and get this man out of his room.”

Bain gathered a care package and paid the man a visit. Pretty soon, the man was in his wheelchair and ready to interact. “He was sobbing,” she says. “He whispered to me, ‘You’re not coming back, are you?’ I said, ‘Oh yes we are.’ That’s when the Purpose Project started.”

Through the Purpose Project, school groups, business organizations and other volunteers adopt a nursing home facility, an assisted living center, or hospice, visiting the residents. “We’re slowly but surely getting all of the nursing facilities covered,” she says.

The Joy to the Rescue — Project: Kids in Crisis began when Bain received a call from a police officer looking for help. Whether parents have been arrested, a child has been abandoned, they’re victims of sex trafficking or another crisis has arisen, children can often end up without a change of clothes, toys and other items that would ease their transition to a new location. It’s a heartbreaking situation that the Kids in Crisis project seeks to address by providing backpacks full of useful, soothing items.

“We go to first responders and we ask, ‘What do you need to help these children?’” says Bain. “Thousands of these backpacks have gone out now, and they’re in all the first responders’ cars. They have books, a Mavis dog, hygiene kits, flip flops, T-shirts.” Bain is always looking for ways to add to the backpacks’ usefulness, in conjunction with corporate partners such as QuikTrip and Freddy’s Frozen Custard. Once filled, the backpacks are taken to places such as the drug court, juvenile bureaus and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Another outreach of the charity, Joy in the Adventure, was created to encourage families to find joy in life after the loss of a loved one. “Families who had lost children wanted to get together and form some sort of a project that would encourage and give a place to these families who have lost children, because they felt so alone,” Bain says.

As the charity continues to expand and find new ways to share joy and hope, Bain keeps in mind her mother’s wise words. “One of the first things my mom said was, ‘We’re going to find the most beautiful treasure in the darkest day of our life. We will find a diamond in the day.’ And that’s what Joy in the Cause became.”

Joy in the Cause
3939 S. Harvard Ave., Suite 185