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Annie Kananack-Laven

A Message from Our Founder

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In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans devastating the lives of thousands of people and affecting the hearts of the nation. Some people lived through the horrible experience while others did what they could to help in the aftermath.

Being a native of Louisiana, but living in Florida at the time, I felt I needed to help. I took my four young boys, ages seven to thirteen to work in a family shelter near Lafayette, Louisiana. I had recently lost my husband to cancer and the community had reached out to me, and I wanted to return the kindness, and I wanted my children to experience what it was like to help others.

When we arrived, the shelter was dark and the residents were sullen. It was heart wrenching. It was as though they had been broken. Everything taken. There seemed to be no future and worst yet, no hope. You could feel the heavy burden of existence sitting upon their shoulders.

Once settled in, we quickly knew our duties and the most important one being to help the children. But as you can imagine there was no emergency kit to do this. We were uncertain of each child’s experience and loss and were leery of asking too many questions. What were we to do? How were we to help? Where were we to start?

Well, leave it to the children to find the way. I watched my youngest son, Chase, interact with one of the children, and I realized they were not talking about this child’s terrible experience. They were talking about stories and games and characters. I had in that moment found my key. It was imagination. We spent the rest of our time using imagination to help pull these children out of an emotional crisis and help create good thoughts and dreams of a future.

Within a day or two, the difference was amazing. The children were smiling and playing basketball. The parents, who I can only imagine were thinking only days ago that their children would never know happiness again, saw them smiling. The whole atmosphere of the shelter changed. The burden seemed lighter.

The experience was life changing for myself, as well as, my children. My son Quinn, who was eleven at the time, wrote an essay about his experience and it was published in the book, “Celebrating What Is Important To Me.” His story was called, “Richer Than Before”. You can read it here on the website.

Yes, the devastation was heartbreaking, but the outreach of humanity was uplifting and inspiring. Churches, organizations, individuals and businesses reached out in abundance. The love and kindness shown by all during this horrible experience left a profound impression upon me.

It was more than three years later when I heard Tab Laven’s beautiful music for the first time. My first thoughts were, “I wish I had had this music when my husband was battling cancer. I wish I had this music when we were helping the children in the family shelter.”

So, with this music, I decided to create that emergency kit that we had so desperately needed; a little box of hope used to inspire and uplift children in need.

This calming and soothing music is the foundation of the Perfect Day Box and has inspired an award-winning book, “Janer’s Dream” which is included in the box. It written by my 16 year-old son, Dashiell, who drew upon his experience from the hurricane shelter to tell the lovely story of a young girl looking for her imagination. The box also includes other wonderful imagination-based books and calming activities.

For me, one of the most extraordinary things about the Katrina experience was that the help came from so many different sources. It was truly a community outreach. In keeping with that model, we hope to bring communities together to help their children’s hospitals, shelters and high-risk schools to give hope as well as support to any child in need.

We look forward to working with churches, clubs, organizations, businesses and individuals. In doing so, the burden of help becomes small, but the joy of helping becomes bigger as each donation is part of a community experience. It is truly a beautiful thing.

I wish you all a Perfect Day.
Annie Kananack-Laven
Founder

The Perfect Day Box Foundation is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization.