An April Thank You 2018

We're so grateful for your support of Daystar...and all of the "daystars" you read about in our spring mailer this year.  We wanted to give you a little more glimpse into the heart and life of one of those, in particular.  
"Being a 'Daystar Kid' has blessed my adult life beyond my wildest imagination (and my imagination is pretty wild!).
In middle and high school, I went to Daystar summer sessions, met with my weekly girl's group with Sissy Goff, and volunteered as a leader at Daystar camp.
Fast forward 10 years, and I have led groups of teens backpacking, rock climbing, whitewater kayaking, and volunteering across the US, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, South Africa and Swaziland.  Regardless of the mix of teens, location or obstacle, my trips are successful. My co-leaders and administrators ask How?
It's simple: I make sure the teens on my trips feel safe, adored, and celebrated - by me and their peers - because that's what Daystar first gave me.
The rays of Daystar illuminate my "grown up" life far beyond the soft skills I use in my profession. The friends I invited to Daystar as a kid are still my deepest and truest. I have a circle of women in my life today that meet, support and challenge each other just like my Daystar group did in high school. I prioritize my relationship to spirit and myself because Daystar taught me how.
Thanks to Daystar I can look into someone's eyes who is hurting and, instead of turning away, give them love and grace. Thanks to Daystar, and Melissa's prompts up at Hopetown, I can grab a journal, turn inward, and truly face myself. Thanks to Daystar I know the power of community - of praying together, singing together, and playing outside together :)
Thanks to Daystar I know I belong.
And now I get the scrumptious opportunity to extend love and belonging to the people around me wherever I happen to be.
In high school I remember telling Melissa "someday when I grow up, I'm going to make a Daystar."
While I may never consider myself a grown-up or have a yellow house in Berry Hill or host soup nights and teach the gospel, I most certainly sprinkle the seeds everywhere I go-
planting little shimmering daystars in nooks and crannies across the world.
Sara Grove
Adventure Travel Guide
Your support of Daystar helps impact the 1500+ children and families who are a part of our ministry today...and has helped us keep offering hope since 1985.  
We are profoundly grateful for you.

We’re so grateful for your support of Daystar…and all of the “daystars” you read about in our spring mailer this year.  We wanted to give you a little more glimpse into the heart and life of one of those, in particular.  

“Being a ‘Daystar Kid’ has blessed my adult life beyond my wildest imagination (and my imagination is pretty wild!).

In middle and high school, I went to Daystar summer sessions, met with my weekly girl's group with Sissy Goff, and volunteered as a leader at Daystar camp.

Fast forward 10 years, and I have led groups of teens backpacking, rock climbing, whitewater kayaking, and volunteering across the US, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, South Africa and Swaziland.  Regardless of the mix of teens, location or obstacle, my trips are successful. My co-leaders and administrators ask How?

It's simple: I make sure the teens on my trips feel safe, adored, and celebrated - by me and their peers - because that's what Daystar first gave me.

The rays of Daystar illuminate my "grown up" life far beyond the soft skills I use in my profession. The friends I invited to Daystar as a kid are still my deepest and truest. I have a circle of women in my life today that meet, support and challenge each other just like my Daystar group did in high school. I prioritize my relationship to spirit and myself because Daystar taught me how.

Thanks to Daystar I can look into someone's eyes who is hurting and, instead of turning away, give them love and grace. Thanks to Daystar, and Melissa's prompts up at Hopetown, I can grab a journal, turn inward, and truly face myself. Thanks to Daystar I know the power of community - of praying together, singing together, and playing outside together :)

Thanks to Daystar I know I belong.



And now I get the scrumptious opportunity to extend love and belonging to the people around me wherever I happen to be.

In high school I remember telling Melissa "someday when I grow up, I'm going to make a Daystar."

While I may never consider myself a grown-up or have a yellow house in Berry Hill or host soup nights and teach the gospel, I most certainly sprinkle the seeds everywhere I go-planting little shimmering daystars in nooks and crannies across the world.

Sara Grove

Adventure Travel Guide

Your support of Daystar helps impact the 1500+ children and families who are a part of our ministry today…and has helped us keep offering hope since 1985.  

We are profoundly grateful for you.


A March Thank You 2018

We talk to parents often about the importance of other voices in the lives of their kids. It's not necessarily that those other voices say anthing different than the parents... but, because they're a different voice, their words often have a different impact. And, hopefully, an added power. At Daystar, one of our great privileges is being other voices in the lives of over 1500 families. 

Basically, we're like automatic backup. Particularly so, in situations where parents feel lost or alone. Recently, a family came in who were going through a divorce. The father was not very involved in the lives of his boys. She needed help. And so, this mom brought her sons in for two of our counselors to be another voice in their lives.

Recently, the oldest son told his counselor about something that happened at home.  He heard his little brother using a curse word.  As we know oldest children can do, he went directly to his mom to tell her about the incident.  She reassured him she was going to take care of it.  He waited for what he considered a good amount of time, and circled back to make sure his little brother would get punished.  And maybe, he'd even get a more severe consequence if the incident was reported twice.

His mother's words to her oldest and trying-to-be-in-charge son were, "I want to tell you again that you're his brother and you're not the parent.  I am-and I've got this.  And Mr. Alex has got this, too."
Mr. Alex, the younger brother's counselor, was her automatic backup.  He was her other voice.  We are grateful to stand alongside this mom, as well as thousands of others who are a part of our Daystar, offering hope and help for their journey...particularly on those backup needing kinds of days.  
Thank you for your part in helping us to do be another voice.  You are making a profound difference in the lives of children, adolescents, and their parents.

His mother’s words to her oldest and trying-to-be-in-charge son were, “I want to tell you again that you’re his brother and you’re not the parent.  I am-and I’ve got this.  And Mr. Alex has got this, too.”

Mr. Alex, the younger brother’s counselor, was her automatic backup.  He was her other voice. We are grateful to stand alongside this mom, as well as thousands of others who are a part of our Daystar, offering hope and help for their journey…particularly on those backup needing kinds of days.  

Thank you for your part in helping us to do be another voice.  You are making a profound difference in the lives of children, adolescents, and their parents.



A February Thank You 2018

Kids impact kids.  We talk about it a lot around here.  We, as adults, can say the same thing over and over to a child or teenager that we love...but, when one of their peers says it, it's as if they hear it so much louder.

A high school girl came to group for her second time this past week.  She's coming to Daystar because she's been sad and anxious over a lot of different things in her life-from family situations to friend troubles at school. She's sad and stuck and has felt powerless to change anything going on around her.  She recently said to her counselor, "It just feels like everything is hard right now and there's nothing I can do about it.  Even the little things feel huge and insurmountable.  How could I ever make a difference?"

For weeks, her counselor has been trying to remind her of how strong she is...and what a unique perspective and voice she has at home and at school.  She's been trying to help her discover the difference she can make.  And, honestly, it wasn't seeming to get through—until she came to group.

Last week, this girl started to share about her week.  "Well, I've had a lot of little things going on that I want to tell y'all about. They're not a huge deal.  But, what I really want to say is that you all are the most resilient, amazing, powerful, empowering people I've ever met.  I have learned so much from you in the two short weeks I've been in group.  Thank you." As she said these words, she sat a little taller and smiled a little did each of the girls around her in group.

Kids impact kids.  It's one of the reasons we have groups at Daystar.  In fact, it's one of the reasons we have Daystar. And, just one of the many reasons we're profoundly grateful for you.  You impact each of the kids and families who walk through our doors with your generosity.



A January Thank You 2018

See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness wasteland.

and streams in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19

Happy New Year from the Daystar house to yours! This verse brims with hope and reminds us of the newness of God's mercies... every year, every month, every day. He is doing a new thing. He is doing a new thing in the life of each child, each teen, each parent who walks through our doors. 

Those kids and families, however, often feel more of the wasteland than the hope. The streams feel far off. That's why we're here. That's why we offer individual counseling, groups, camps, and even parenting seminars for families. As one teenage girl said to another recently in one of our groups, "We're here to remind you that you don't have to be alone. We want to walk beside you in all that you're going through."

God is making all things new. He's making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert. He brings hope--through, as one child called it, "the little yellow house that helps people." And through you.

We're grateful for your belief in the ongoing work and mission of Daystar. We are grateful that you walk beside us in encouraging parents, in offering families hope, and in being reminders that our great God is doing a new thing in each of their (and our) lives. 

With warm appreciation,


The Big Payback

The Big Payback starts THIS WEEK!

   Click here to give on Wednesday May 2   

**Have you been considering giving towards summer at Daystar?! Wednesday May 2 is the perfect opportunity to make your donation go further...Here's why!**

Daystar Counseling Ministries is participating in the The Community Foundation's Big Payback. This is Middle Tennessee's largest online giving day! A donation of any size given through The Big Payback website is eligible to be amplified by bonuses, incentives & prizes made possible by generous sponsors. 

for helping Daystar come alongside 1,500+ children & families in need!


In Honor of Barbara Thomas

If you know David Thomas, then you knew his delightful mom, Barbara.  If you know Sharon Kintzler, then you knew her dear mom, Barbara.  If you know Monty, then of course, you knew his Barbara.  If you know Lily or Witt or Baker Thomas, then you knew their beloved grandmother, BaBa.  If you know Connie Thomas or Jim Kintzler, or Ellen Taylor, Connie Crafton, Nancy Sorrells, or any of their family members, then you knew Barbara Thomas. 


You didn't even have to have ever met Barbara.  To know any of her family members or her friends is to know her, because every person who met Barbara walked away with a little of her inside of them...with her family carrying the largest parts of her heart.  It was impossible not to.


If you ever met her in person, you know what we mean.  You left that encounter different.  Your step was a little lighter, your heart a little warmer, and your smile reflective of that beautiful, engaging smile of hers that lit up a room.  Her sense of delight and joy would have splashed over onto you.  She just loved like that.


For you to even be reading this message means Barbara's life touched yours in some way.  Her intentionality, her generosity of spirit, her gracious hospitality, her passion, her strength.  Barbara had heapfuls to give...and she gave out of those heapfuls constantly.  And, more than anything else, she wanted everyone she met to know whose love she lived out of on a daily basis:  Jesus'.  Barbara's faith was foundational for her...for the way she lived and the way she loved each person with that characteristic intentionality and generosity.  She loved like that.


Those of us who knew and loved Barbara have been indelibly marked by the woman she was on earth and is today in heaven.  Her radiance reflected the radiance and the love of our gracious, generous, strong, intentional God who delights in each of us.  We know His love a little better by the way that Barbara loved her family, her friends, and all of us whose lives she or they have touched. 


We, at Daystar, are profoundly grateful for Barbara Thomas, for so many reasons.  When Barbara's family talked about the Daystar scholarship in her honor they said, "We invite you into her generosity."  Thank you for being a part of her generosity.  Because of the way she loved, and the way you have given, families who are facing cancer will not have to face it alone.  We will do our best to love those children and families with the same intentionality, strength, graciousness and delight that Barbara would have.  We sure want to make her proud. 


"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.  Mostly what God does is love you.  Keep company with him and learn a life of love.  Observe how Christ loved us.  His love was not cautious but extravagant.  He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us.  Love like that."               Ephesians 5:1-2, The Message


A December Thank You 2017

There had been stars

Year after desert year,

A cold light

And a distant

For stars are never near.


Until the light

That lighted all the world

Consented to be born.


The night He came

The stars swung low

And sang

As morning stars had sung

Creation's morn.


So sing we now.


We sing the bright

And morning star

Shining among us,

Banishing our night.

-Elizabeth B. Rooney


Night.  We all know what it's like to feel surrounded by night.  Quiet.  Alone.  Long.  We wait and wait for one small light to come.  Anything.  Just a little light to see by.  To bring us hope.

Each child, each family who comes to Daystar is living in the midst of just such a night.  They're waiting.  Longing for just a flicker of light.  The darkness may be anxiety...depression...the loss of someone they love...bullying...or simply feeling alone every single day at school.  Whatever their night looks like, though, the effects are the same.  They feel isolated.  And hopeless. 

Daystar Counseling was first named years before Melissa started Daystar, from a group of friends sitting around imagining what could one day be.  They talked about a place for kids...for teenagers and families.  A place where they could come and share their hearts, be reminded they're not alone, and find a little light in the darkness.  The verse that God brought to them that day was 2 Peter 1:19 that says "...a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the Daystar rises in your hearts."

Since 1985, it is has been our mission to be such a light.  In fact, we consider ourselves a sort-of-Christmas ministry.  It's not just because we love the tinsel and garland that has been beautifully strewn throughout our halls (although we'd love for you to come visit and see it).  It's not just because we have a fundraiser called Evening in December where we get to come together to sing and share and celebrate Christ's birth.  But it's because each day we get to help bring light into the darkness of children and families.  Currently, we serve over 1500 families, and not one family is ever turned away because of their inability to pay.

Through individual counseling, group counseling, and summer sessions in Nashville and Hopetown, we get to come alongside children and families and offer hope.  We get to remind them of the Daystar, that banishes all of our darkness.  We are honored for your part in our ministry.  Thank you for being light for us and for them.  We are honored to stand and sing with you. 

Merry Christmas.  Wishing you joy, hope and rest in the Light that has come among us. 


A November Thank You 2017

"And now we give you thanks because in coming to dwell among us as man, he revealed the radiance of your glory and brought us out of darkness into your marvellous light."                      -The Liturgical Commission of England

This is a season of great darkness...maybe more than ever before in the 32 years Daystar Counseling Ministries has been in existence.  Just a day in our offices would convince you of that. 

...the children, as young as 8 years old who are talking about "not wanting to be here anymore"

...the girls and boys who can no longer even make it to school they're so paralyzed by anxiety

...the teenagers who feel like they don't have one friend, and are reminded every day of that isolating fact on social media

...the parents who feel lost and afraid

We hear these stories every single day.  We hear them in individual counseling and group counseling with kids from 2nd through 12th grades.  We hear them in parent consults, with parents whose children are too young to even come to counseling.  Daystar currently serves over 1500 families who are living in this kind of darkness.  But, darkness does not have the final say.

It's what Christmas is all about.  It's what Daystar happens to be all about, too.  We have the privilege of being bearers of light.  We get to come alongside the children and families who walk through our doors and remind them that there is hope.  Depression, anxiety, bullying...none of it defines them.  Darkness does not have the final say. 

Thank you for being bearers of light, too...for us and for them.  Your support of our ministry helps us never turn away any family because of an inability to pay for counseling.  We're grateful.  And honored to celebrate the marvelous light with you this Christmas season.  He has come among us.  And now we give Him, and you, thanks.

Merry Christmas.


An October Thank You 2017

Happy Fall!  We're busy at Daystar with a new addition to our offices.  (We'd love for you to come for a tour!) We're getting geared up for our Bike Thing and, soon after, Evening in December.  And, most importantly, we're continuing to walk alongside the now over 1500 children and families who are walking through our doors seeking hope.


And so, we wanted to share with you these words that Sissy Goff, our Director of Child & Adolescent Counseling shared recently.  We happen to be a staff full of pansy planters around here.  And your faithfulness to Daystar helps us do just that.


"I love pansies.  Several years ago, I had an encounter with a few pansies that changed my perspective. 


It was a fall day a lot like today, and I was out for a walk with a dear friend.  As we were walking, of course, we were talking.  I think we were talking about something painful in one of our lives...and how hard it is to understand sometimes, and how to keep moving in the midst.  And then I saw the pansies.  Or, more specifically, I saw the man planting pansies.


He had a long driveway that widened in a curve when it got to the street.  In that curve, he was kneeling.  And planting pansies.  My cynical response was to think, 'Why in the world would he plant those pansies there?  Someone is going to run right over them backing out of his driveway.'  Maybe it's the 1 in me, trying to do things 'right.'  Or, maybe it was my tired heart that day out on a walk.  But, what stayed with me as I passed his house, and then his street, and then even that day, was that he was planting them anyway.


My guess is that he planted his pansies there every fall.  He knew what would happen.  Looking out of his window, he'd notice a car pull up to his house, miss the corner of the driveway and drop off into the flower bed.  Year after year, he watched the little heads of those pansies bow under the weight of it all, and then rise again.  But, he planted pansies there anyway.


It struck me as a picture of who we're called to be in this life.  We plant pansies.  In the midst of pain, heartache, loss, struggle.  We plant pansies because something in our hearts wants there to be beauty in this world.  And, even more than that, something in our hearts desperately wants to hope.  It's who we want to be.  And who we can be because of Jesus. 


It's a thought I've come back to many times over the years since that walk.  How can I plant pansies here?  How can I take the little patch of earth I've been given, and bring beauty and hope, and a sense of who God has made me to be into it, anyway?  In the midst of the hurt, the pain, the longing for more?


I've been reading The Story of God's Love for You by Sally Lloyd-Jones as my devotional lately.  It's the adult version of her Jesus Storybook Bible.  And it brought me back to the truths of those pages.  'And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God's children would miss him always, and long for him—lost children yearning for their home.


You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children—with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.' 


And so we plant pansies.  Happy October 1st.


School Shootings: How To Talk To Your Kids


How To Help Kids In Light Of The News Today
By Sissy Goff, M.Ed, LPC-MHSP
Director of Child & Adolscent Counseling
Daystar Counseling Ministries

A CBS News article today said there have been at least 11 school shootings in the U.S. since January 1.  And the one that happened yesterday was very close to our community here at Daystar, with our camp being an hour or so away, and Melissa having her first youth director job at Calvert City, Kentucky.  With at least 11 this month only, the likelihood is that one has been close to your community, as well.
What do we do?  How do we love and protect the kids we love so dearly?  What do we say, in light of such tragedy, especially tragedy that was perpetrated by someone close to their age? 
Yesterday afternoon, as several of the kids from Marshall County High School were being treated at Vanderbilt, just down the road, I was sitting in my counseling office with a high school girl.  We were talking about the culture at her school—how it has grown to be one of sarcasm, criticism, anger, hostility, and prejudice.  She told me a story of overhearing boys in the hall going down the list of girls in her grade and giving a numerical rating to every single one.  We talked about what she could do to change the culture.  She's impassioned and grieved about it, with all that is good and noble and ready-to-save-the-world, as a 16 year-old can be.  Through tears, she said, "What can I do?  I can't change it.  Things have gotten too bad."
What's happening at her school is profoundly different than the tragedy that happened in Kentucky, and has at entirely too many other schools.  But it's a step in the direction of intolerance, and hate, and fear, and a sense that the person sitting next to you in class does not matter.  And, ultimately, neither do you.  Because, for someone to hurt another in that way, that person doesn't believe that he, himself, or she, herself, matters, either.
So, we talked about what this teenage girl in my office could do.  She's not helpless.  And neither is your child.  We say often at Daystar, the kids that we're concerned about the most are the kids that don't believe they matter.  So, what can we do to help the kids we love believe that they do, and communicate to the kids around them that they do, as well?
She and I talked about creating some type of "Kindness Matters" club at her school.  Even if she reached one person who felt lost or was sitting alone, that would change the culture—at least a little.  Narcissism is developmentally a part of teenagedom.  But so is the beginning of a big-picture desire to have purpose. 
A few questions to ask your child:
What do you feel the culture is like in your school? (and then listen, don't dismiss.  They are living in it in a way that we're not).
What do they worry about?
Have they ever felt afraid?
Have they been bullied, either in person or on screens or social media?  Do they think someone might have ever felt like they bullied them?
How could they make a difference?
What can your child do to be kind to just one child today? 
Who seems to need someone to be kind to them?
Who does he or she want to be, in the culture at school? 
Who does he feel like God has called him to be?

I firmly believe, if more kids believed they made a difference, both in person and online...if we were encouraging them to reach out, instead of getting stuck with them in the spiral of who's not reaching out to them...if we continued to value their character more than their happiness...if we talked with them more than at them...if they felt encouraged and empowered to use the gifts God has placed inside of them to make a difference, our schools would be safer—both physically and emotionally.
And, in the light of the culture we're all in, kids need to hear it.  They also need to talk to you about what to do if they do feel unsafe at school.  Ask them what they've learned about a safety plan from their school.  It's good for them to have to repeat it, to make sure they've understood what it is.  If they don't know it, call the school and have them either go over it again, or get one in place.  Talk to them about specific steps they can do if they're outside or in a location without a teacher.  Check their phones regularly—to see if they've been a victim of or participated in any type of bullying.  They need our help navigating these times—physically, emotionally and spiritually...which is, undoubtedly, the most important.
Your child needs to hear today that he is loved deeply by a God who delights in him, and loves him with a saving, redemptive love.  He will never allow her to be snatched out of His hand (John 10:28-30).  And, sometimes, in these days, it's good to huddle up together, and read basic, good, comforting truth—like the words of the Jesus Storybook Bible.
"And the King says, 'Look!  God and his children are together again.  No more running away.  Or hiding.  No more crying or being lonely or afraid.  No more being sick or dying, because all those things are gone.  Yes, they're gone forever.  Everything sad has come untrue.  And see—I have wiped away every tear from every eye!'  And then a deep, beautiful voice that sounded like thunder in the sky says, 'Look, I am making everything new!'"



A September Thank You 2017

Frederick Buechner writes about the flood and story of Noah in his book, Peculiar Treasures:       

"But then, after weeks, another dove came back with a sprig of olive in its beak, and the tops of the mountains began to reappear out of the watery waste, and now at last the great, glittering rainbow arched above him, and the great promise echoed in his ears. 'Never again,' God had said, and Noah clung on to those words like a raft in a high sea.

With the rainbow tied around his little finger to jog his memory, surely God would never forget what he'd said. No matter what new meanness people might think up, surely the terrible thing would never happen again. As an expert in hoping against hope, the old sailor told himself that the worst was over and that as sure as God made little green apples, a new, green world would blossom up out of the sodden wreckage of the old."

As we write this, the waters are still rising in Houston and in other areas hit by the hurricane/tropical storm called Harvey.  So many families are without power or resources, and with way too much water. 

This flood and the effects of it are reminiscent of so many families that walk through our doors.  The flood is of a different sort, as is the damage caused by it.  But, whether the devastation is physical or emotional, the effect is similar.  They feel like they're going under, and the water only keeps rising.  We all know how it feels.  And, it's why we're here, as Daystar Counseling Ministries.

Daystar exists to be a place of remind children and families of God's promise.  That he will never leave them.  He will never abandon them.  That the waters of pain, of hurt, of loneliness will recede.  He is near in the anxiety, in the depression, in the betrayal.  He is still at work.  And a new green world will blossom out of the sodden wreckage that besieges them now. 

"Oh!  May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!"                                         Romans 15:13

Thank you for standing with us in reminding the children and families in our community of this great truth.  You help to offer them and to us.

The Daystar Staff


Further Words from Daystar Aug 15, 2017

August 15, 2017

Dear Daystar Friends and Family,

We've been following the reports in the media regarding the lawsuit filed against Brentwood Academy and that mentions Daystar's relationship with the young man called "John Doe." We are taking this situation seriously, and we wanted you to hear a little more from us on the situation.  

First and foremost, we want you to know our hearts are breaking for the boy, his family, and all involved in this situation. We also want you to know that we steadfastly stand with children and families in crisis...not only this family but every child and family who walks through our doors who are hurting. We stand with both compassion and professionalism. As followers of Christ, we believe our faith should always guide us to truth and healing, never to further harm.

When reporting any type of abuse, know that our first priority is to protect children, regardless of the school or community in which they're involved. Our entire staff has been trained in how to respond, and we report to authorities immediately and in the spirit and to the letter of the law. 

We are very thankful that our work with children and families in the community for over 30 years has created long-term, supportive relationships with a wide variety of schools, churches, and other organizations throughout Middle Tennessee and beyond. No relationship would ever stand in the way of our first priority—offering hope to each child and family who has come to us in need.

Our heartfelt commitment and our mission since 1985 is always to protect and advocate for children and families who are hurting, with compassion, professionalism, and integrity. We have been doing so for 30 years, and, God willing, will be for 30 more.  We believe it is our calling as both professional counselors and followers of Christ. We hope you will join us in praying for this boy, his family, and all involved in this situation.  


Melissa Trevathan, M.R.E. Founder & Executive Director



Sissy Goff, M.Ed, LPC-MHSP Director of Child & Adolescent Counseling, Director of Summer Programs


David Thomas, LMSW Director of Family Counseling


An Update From Daystar Aug 10, 2017


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Following local news reports on Wednesday, August 9, regarding the lawsuit filed in Williamson County Circuit Court against Brentwood Academy and some of its staff members by John Doe and Jane Doe, we have received numerous inquiries asking us about the allegations regarding Daystar's involvement with the family filing the lawsuit. Daystar is not a party to the lawsuit but has reviewed the contents of the complaint filed by the family and its attorney.  

Our board of directors and staff believe that it is very important to quickly provide you with accurate information, and we have provided a portion of this statement to certain media outlets who have requested it. 

The allegations that Daystar did not properly comply with state law requirements for reporting abuse are false.  When we became aware of inappropriate activity in 2015, we responded immediately and thoroughly, cooperated fully with the authorities, and took appropriate action based on what we knew.  

Disturbing allegations about Daystar in the lawsuit, which were highlighted in the media, are not factual.  Certain statements attributed to a former employee of Daystar are simply not true.  Based on our policy of not discussing details of lawsuits and our obligation to maintain the privacy of former and current clients, we will not elaborate on additional details.

We should note that the information reported in the media is based on what was written by the family and its attorney in the complaint filed with the court.  The document does not, however, include a response by Daystar to each allegation. If, and to the extent that, Daystar is required to provide testimony or other information in the lawsuit, we intend to vigorously set the record straight.

We want to re-assure all of our clients, families, friends, and supporters of the following:

  • Our staff members are trained about mandatory reporting and comply with the law.  When we are made aware of a matter that needs to be reported, we do so without delay.
  • We take any allegations involving the safety of our clients, as well as Daystar's compliance with applicable law, very seriously.
  • If you are concerned about these allegations or are in conversation with others who are concerned, please be assured that Daystar timely responded in 2015 and cooperated fully at that time and thereafter with investigations by the authorities as we became aware of the facts discussed in the lawsuit.
  • We will respect the confidentiality and privacy of our current and former clients and their families. 

Daystar's mission is to offer the hope of Christ to children, adolescents and families in need, and we remain dedicated to serving our community with encouragement and support.  We are called to work with families facing significant crisis and deep wounds in a fallen world.  We understand that allegations about Daystar in the lawsuit and news reports you have read and heard would be alarming to anyone, especially to the families who have entrusted us with helping them and to our friends and donors who profoundly encourage us every day with their support and prayers.  Our staff and board of directors believe that it is important to re-assure our clients, their families, and our ministry's friends and supporters by responding quickly to these untrue allegations about Daystar.  We hope you will join us in praying for all of the parties involved in the litigation and for all of the families we seek to help and serve every day.


Meet Our Business Manager

Meet Kerry Watkins! He was Daystar's very first intern in 1988 & has made his way back to the little yellow house as Daystar's new business manager. In the meantime, he was on the other side of the globe starting an English school in Taiwan & running it for 17 years. We love having someone with so much history come back around to be a part of what we're doing!


A March Thank You 2017

Can you imagine what it would feel like to be eight years old and told you're going to counseling for the first time?  Most likely, a little go to some place you've never been and talk to someone you've never met about things you've potentially never said out loud.  Can you imagine being 15?  You would likely still be just as scared, but it would probably come out more as angry.

This happens often for the kids who come to Daystar.  Whichever counselor they meet with walks down to the lobby to greet them for the first time, and we can immediately tell.  They look up timidly and are reluctant to leave their parents for a tour of Daystar, which we do with every child on their initial appointment.  Or, we walk down and the child looks quietly furious.  The counselor will say, "Let's head back this way and I'll show you around."  The boy or girl reluctantly stands up, and shoots a few glares at whichever parent is nearest.  (Melissa has taught all of us never to say, "Do you want to take a tour of Daystar?"  It gives them too much power to say no.  We smile and say, "Come with me."  Just one example of our Director's "back door" brilliance in working with kids). 

Every once in a while, however, a child or teenager won't get out of the car.  Their parents will drive them to the office, but just can't get them to walk inside the building.  Again, it may be fear—or anger—or both.  But every counselor on staff has had at least one session begin with a trip to the car to coax a child or teenager into the building.

Just last week, we had a car sitter come for his first appointment.  Melissa was just finishing an assessment with another boy who was at Daystar for the first time.  The first boy (who we'll call Charlie) had been nervous to come, but warmed up pretty quickly as he spent time with Melissa and her Old English Sheeppuppy, Blueberry. 

When the parents of the second boy said they couldn't get their son to come in, one of our other staff members stepped in.  He had helped Melissa with Charlie's assessment, and knew that Charlie could make all the difference.  He immediately turned to Charlie and said, "Why don't you come with me?"  Charlie agreed and they went out to talk to the newer boy at his car.  He reluctantly rolled down the window, and the staff member introduced himself and then Charlie.  Charlie quickly spoke, "Hey, today's my first time, too.  I wasn't sure I wanted to come.  But it's not so bad.  I really liked it and liked talking.  I think you will, too."

Daystar's tagline has always been "One life touching another."  We say often that kids impact kids, more than we do as adults.  Their voices are powerful in each other's lives.  Charlie lived out this truth, as well as the mission of Daystar.  And not only was the boy in the car impacted by it, but Charlie's was, too.  He left Daystar having made a difference.  One life touching another somehow changes both lives involved. 

Thank you for your belief in our mission.  Thank you for touching so many children and families through your graciousness to Daystar.  You make a profound difference—to us and to them.   


A February Thank You 2017

"Nobody will listen to you unless they sense that you like them."

                                                                        -Donald Miller

This very idea is where we start with every child—every teenager who walks through our doors.  We want them to feel liked.  We want them to feel believed in.  We want them to feel like we have hope with and for them, regardless of the situation they find themselves in.  It's also one of the first things we teach the new counselors at Daystar.  

Thankfully, we have an entire staff who seems to specialize in knowing how to make kids (and families) feel liked.  From the minute someone walks through our doors, they're greeted by Mary and Mary in the office, who are all smiles.  And they often are greeted by a wagging tail in the form of Blueberry, Owen, or Lucy, our resident pet therapists.  In fact, we'd like to introduce our staff to you, as we seem to find ourselves continuing to grow as a family at Daystar.

Our Office Staff:

Mary Berndt, Director of Operations

Mary Killett, Operations Assistant

Kerry Watkins, Business Manager

Pat McCurdy, Administrative Assistant


Our Development Staff:

LeAnn Nichols, Development Coordinator

Katie Bomar, Development Staff

Susan Berthiaume, Account Manager

Aaron Weber, Director of Boys' at Hopetown


Our Counselors:

Melissa Trevathan, MRE, Executive Director, Founder

Sissy Goff, MEd, LPC-MHSP, Director of Child & Adolescent Counseling

David Thomas, LMSW, Director of Family Counseling

David Denton, MA, LPC-MHSP, TBRI Trained, Director of Adoption & Special Needs

Emma Soechting, LPC-MHSP, TBRI Trained, Girls' Counselor

Sherman Burcher, MA, Director of Groups & Boys' Counselor

Molly Howell, MS, Art Therapist & Girls' Counselor

Tommy Hart, LMSW, Boys' Counselor

Lauren Sotelo, MA, MFTI, Girls' Counselor

Chelsea Keyser, M.Ed., Girls' Counselor

Alex Hopkins, MA, Boys' Counselor

Bailey Pantoja, MFT, Girls' Counselor


Our Interns:

Allye Gray

Catherine Hebert

Hannah Welbourn

Caleb DeVolld

Last week, a 13 year-old told us how desperately her little sister wanted to come to Daystar.  "My mom brings her every week to hang out in the lobby while I'm meeting with you.  She LOVES it here.  Every week when we leave, she asks my mom when she gets to come to counseling.  "You don't have any problems," my mom told her last week.  "Yes, I do!  I know I can think of something," she said. 

Obviously, we don't want this little girl to feel like she has problems, but what a compliment it is that—after sitting in our lobby and being a part of Daystar from the periphery, she wants to come to counseling, too.

We are ALL grateful to have the high honor of helping kids feel liked and believed in.  We feel both called and privileged to be at this great work of offering hope to kids and families.  And we count it a gift to have you come alongside us in our ministry.  Thank you for your prayers, your time and your graciousness to Daystar.  You are making a difference.


A January Thank You 2017

See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness wasteland.

and streams in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19

Happy New Year from the Daystar house to yours!  This verse brims over with hope and reminds us of the newness of God's mercies...every year, every month, every day.  He is doing a new thing.  He is doing a new thing in the life of each child, each teen, each parent who walks through our doors.

Those kids and families, however, often feel more of the wasteland than the hope.  The streams feel far off.  That's why we're here.  That's why we offer individual counseling, groups, camps, and even parenting seminars for families.  As one teenage girl said to another recently in one of our groups, "We're here to remind you that you don't have to be alone.  We want to walk beside you in all that you're going through." 

God is making all things new.  He's making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.  He brings hope—through, as one child called it, "the little yellow house that helps people."  And through you. 

We're grateful for your belief in the ongoing work and mission of Daystar.  We are grateful that you walk beside us in encouraging parents, in offering families hope, and in being reminders that our great God is doing a new thing in each of their (and our) lives.


A December Thank You 2016

Advent is a season of waiting.  In the more liturgical churches, it is a time of preparation for the joyous celebration of Jesus' birth.  In advent, we are suspended between knowing Jesus' birth is soon, but also knowing it is not yet here.  We look forward to the the star guiding the the carols and the gifts and the coming of our Savior.  But we are not there yet. 

The children, adolescents, and families that come to Daystar Counseling Ministries are in a perpetual state of waiting.  The birth of Christ feels a long way off when your daughter is struggling with anxiety that makes her afraid to go to school.  It is difficult to wait for the joy to return to your son's face when every time he's in his room alone you worry he is hurting himself.  What does waiting even mean when you are 12 years old and your parents are separated so that things will get better, but the fighting only seems to be getting worse? 

Daystar annually serves over 1400 families who are waiting.  They are waiting desperately for some shred of light in the midst of the darkness that feels like it's permeating their lives.  That is why Daystar Counseling Ministries exists—literally to be a light in the darkness. 

We are a ministry that is all about Advent.  We are called to take the hand of the child who is hurting and show him the star over the stable.  The pain will not disappear entirely this side of heaven.  But, as we all know, there can be hope in the midst of that pain.  That is why Advent ends December 25th each and every year.  Jesus is born, and with him is born the promise that there is more to come. 

Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.  It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.                                                                                  Isaiah 25:8-9

Thank you for being such an important part of our Advent ministry.  We thank you, as do the families that are in the midst of the waiting.  We look forward to celebrating the birth of Christ with you.

The Daystar Staff


A November Thank You 2016

Many years ago, as a young girl battling all the emotions that come with the last year of elementary school, my relationship with my younger sister was deteriorating. One day, an unsuspecting me was pulled out of school early with her (best feeling ever!) and we were taken to a new and unfamiliar place. This place would soon become a haven I will forever feel loved and supported by, and is a place I wish every family could experience.

A place that was once dedicated to talking about my sister turned into something different on the first day of my sophomore year in high school. The stage four lung cancer that was slowly trying to kill my dad was discovered that day. I will never forget Sissy Goff coming in on her day off to talk with me and my sister about how we were handling such detrimental news. Yet she was not the only person to help me carry the weight of what I was feeling. Countless letters from my Daystar friends and mentors filled my mailbox for months. Throughout the time Dad was going from diagnosis to remission, Daystar was a place I could come and unload all of the stress and pressure on my shoulders. Daystar helped me realize that Jesus loves my dad, my siblings, my mom, and me. A verse commonly quoted to me was when Jesus heard that Lazarus had died, "Jesus wept." Because of Daystar I was reminded that cancer didn't affect my family because God didn't love us; Jesus loves us and was crying with me. As I go off to college next year, I feel certain the foundation of Christ's love for me, modeled by Daystar, will keep me on the right path. Truly I am a better person and have a stronger relationship with God because of Daystar.

Thanks to your kind donation, more children and families will have the opportunity to feel loved at Daystar. I am writing this to let you know how much of an impact your donation has made. Daystar offers a "sliding scale," which means they have money saved (i.e. donations like yours) to help families who can't afford counseling get the care and counseling they need. This little yellow house called Daystar will forever be grateful for your donation. A child's life will forever be changed because of you. As one of the kids impacted by the wisdom and kindness of this place, I am honored and grateful to write this to you. I hope you know your donation has made an impact on many families. Thank you again so much.

A Daystar Senior in High School


An October Thank You 2016

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What?  You too?  I thought I was the only one.'"             -CS Lewis

The mission of Daystar is born at the very same moment.

"I didn't know anyone else would ever know what it feels like to lose a parent."

"I didn't know anyone could ever understand what it feels like to worry this much."

"I didn't know everyone else felt left out sometimes, too."

"I didn't know what my child was going through is normal."

Daystar exists to remind kids, and families, that they're not the only ones.  Not only are they not the only ones, but they're not alone on their journey.

Since 1985, we've had the honor of walking alongside children, teenagers, and their families.  The landscape has changed...for all of us.  The stakes have gotten higher and the struggles these kids and families are up against have gotten even more intense.  But there is still hope.  Always.  And Daystar not only reminds kids and families that they're not alone, but we have the honor of pointing them toward hope.

Thank you for being a part of our ministry to kids and families.  We feel more strongly today than ever before how vital it is to be helping kids and families know they're not alone, and that someone is walking alongside them on this journey back to hope.  Thank you for joining us in that mission.


A September Thank You 2016

Always We Begin Again.  It's the title of a little book about the Benedictine way of life...a way of living and working and loving that was laid out in a monastic setting, but calls to us now.  In our daily lives.  At home and at Daystar.

Always we begin again.  This year, we're beginning our groups the day after Labor Day.  We'll have 23 groups, ranging from 2nd through 12th grades.  We're starting this fall with twelve full time counselors, four counseling interns, four office staff, three full-time development and two development interns:  more staff than has ever been housed in our little yellow house.  We're currently serving 1400 families.  Those families are walking through our doors in search of hope. 

They're struggling with death.  Divorce.  Bullying.  Anxiety.  Depression.  Social skills issues.  Any manner of things that can cause any one of us to long for a new beginning.

Always we begin again.

It is our honor to remind each child—each family that walks through our doors that there is hope.  There are new mercies every morning, and we have a God who sticks closer to us in the struggles and in the mercies than a brother.  He is with us.  He makes all things new, including us.  Thank you for your part in our our beginning this fall. 

We are privileged to share this journey and this beginning with you. 

"The Life we are given to live must be loved, whatever it brings; 

The good we are taught must be put into practice, whatever our circumstances.

Remember humility.

Humility is the inner attitude of indifference to oneself and freedom from oneself...

We must prefer nothing to the art of caring for others."

                                    John McQuiston II, Always We Begin Again


An August Thank You 2016

We just finished our 5th-6th grade camp.  In it, we talked a lot about the Olympic Spirit.  In actuality, we didn't just talk about it.  We lived it out.  That spirit is reflected in the Olympic Creed:

 "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.  The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

Melissa started off our teaching with the story of John Stephen Akhwari, who participated in the Olympic marathon in the 1968 Olympics.  At the 19km marker of the 42km race, he was hit by some runners jockeying for position.  He fell badly, dislocating his knee and wounding his shoulder.  He promptly got up, and started running again, finishing the race over an hour after the last runner had ended.  The medics tried to get him to stop, but he waved them off.  At an interview later, he said, "My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race."

"Much of the crowd had already left the stadium," Melissa told us.  "But those who stayed began to applaud as soon as he limped into the arena.  The applause was more about his courage than his running.  That's the Olympic Spirit.  It's the same spirit that resides in each one of you.  It's the kind of courage that brought you to camp.  It's the kind of courage that keeps you going when you have sad times, go through hurts and losses.  The Olympic spirit is contagious. 

You've all seen the runners who carry the Olympic torch.  It starts in Athens, Greece, and they carry it all the way to whatever city is hosting the Olympics.  It passes from runner to runner all along the way.  You've been given a torch, too.  You've been given a purpose...a light that is inside of you that is also that Olympic spirit.  When you pass your own light on, you're sharing it with others, and you're passing on hope and courage. 

Just a few weeks ago, someone tried to put out the Olympic flame with a fire extinguisher.  You'll have people try to do that, too.  Others will say unkind things to you.  People will disappoint you.  You'll be hurt.  Satan will try to take out your light through various struggles you go through.  But, Jesus has a message for us that is much like that of the Olympic creed.  It is in those very struggles that we find the courage and hope we can pass on.

'You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope.  With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you.  Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less.  That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought. You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God.  He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

You're blessed when you care.  At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for. You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right.  Then you can see God in the outside world.

You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.  That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family. You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution.  The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.

Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me.  What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable.  You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do!  And all heaven applauds.  And know that you are in good company....Matthew 5:3-12, MSG

It sounds backwards, doesn't it?  What Jesus is really telling us in the Beatitudes is that there's always hope...even in the darkest of times, he's taking our losses and struggles and turning them into something better.  He's working.  Always.  And you can hold your head up, as you carry your light knowing He's right beside you.  Even though your light may flicker, it won't go out."

That last phrase is one the kids attached to strongly.  And it's a great one to carry these 5th-6th graders into middle school.  We want each child to see the light God has placed inside of them—the heart and the strength and the courage.  We want them to believe they can share that light with others—and to know that it makes a difference. 

During our 5th-6th grade camp, the kids actually had an opportunity to carry the torch around Hopetown, literally and figuratively.  They carried it literally across the grounds, passing it from one of our 31 campers to another, with a little girl who has been battling leukemia being the one to light our Olympic flame.

All week long, the 5th-6th graders encouraged each other.  They shared when they saw another show courage, perseverance, and compassion, as they gave each other bracelets (we called Olympic rings) representing each of the beatitudes.  They sat with each other as they shared struggles, such as parents' divorce, losses of family members—and more hurts no child should ever have to endure.  But they do.  One 11 year old boy, toward the end of the week said, "Some people ask me why are you not more sad, with all that's happened to you.  Well I tell them people like you are the reason I'm happy."

Blessed is the word Jesus uses.  God used the Olympics and the Olympic spirit in each of the kids this week to give to each other in tremendous ways.  We're grateful to have shared just a few days with these courageous, compassionate kids—and so grateful for your support in the midst of our time.


A July Thank You 2016

"Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the Gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become very dear to us."    1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV)

A "typical day" at a Daystar Day Camp can be anything but "typical."  Sure there are activities you would expect to see: art projects in the art room, 4-square tournaments on the basketball court, laughter and giggling over a meal in the dining room or a van full of boys returning from an action-packed day around Nashville.  Those are the things in plain view.  However, if you could look a little closer or listen a little longer, you would begin to see and hear more than just kids and activities. 

You might hear 3rd grade boys learning the art of complimenting and encouraging each other after a game of "Daystar Tag."  You might see a high school boy grinning ear to ear because he finally found a friend to share lunch with.  You would probably see a girl working hard on a painting she would eventually give away to a friend; learning the gift of giving.  It's these moments and these interactions that we see God using Daystar to reach kids who need the gift of seeing that their life matters.

Over the past 8 weeks, Daystar had the privilege of hosting 4 different Day Camps for elementary, middle, and high school students.  These week-long intensives have been safe places, stretching places, and restorative places for kids.  They have also been places where "typical" would not describe the effort, care, concern, and sacrifice made by Day Camp Leaders.  Paul's message to the Thessalonians is the same message that could be seen in the relationships of kids and leaders.  Leaders who wanted to share more than just a week of fun, but also a week of listening, praying, hoping, and strengthening.

If we ran the numbers, we could probably calculate the total number of pizzas we ate, miles we drove, art projects we completed, and popsicles we consumed.  In the end, what we hope and wait to see, but can't measure or add are the lives that are changed and the impact made by "one life touching another."

We are so thankful for your continued prayers for Hopetown, Day Camps, and Daystar this summer. We are truly grateful for your support of this ministry and how it enables so many families and children to experience the reassurance that "their life matters."  As always, we are humbled and grateful to journey alongside you for the Kingdom. 


A June Thank You 2016

It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good."                                                                            1 Peter 5:8-11, MSG

Our first camp of the summer started off with this verse.  "Stay alert.  You are waking up at your age," Melissa said to the 11th-12th graders that were with us at camp this last week.  "You're aware of new things around you and new feelings inside of you.  There's a destructiveness that you're waking up to, as well.  It wants to destroy you.  It wants to destroy who God wants you to be...your identity.  And it's an easy thing to happen, particularly at your age.  You start to give in to being like everybody else, instead of who God has uniquely made you to be.  You give in to being who it feels like you're supposed to be, instead of who God created you to be.

Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer who has won 18 gold medals, went through a period of struggling with his own identity.  He became depressed.  And, as he worked through that depression, he realized that his identity had been caught up in being "just a swimmer." 

If you're dependent on what you've done, it doesn't carry over.  Your successes, your accolades, your achievements don't really make a difference in your life for the long haul.  When you base your identity on externals, they change.  One day you win and one day you lose.  One day, you're in the in crowd.  The next day you're not.  You don't want to put your identity in the hands of this world.  The biggest threat to the darkness—to the destructiveness that's out to get you is just to be yourself. And that's what we want you to discover more of this week.  What do you believe?  Who do you want to be?  Who are you in the big scheme of things? 

Over the course of the week, we went on to talk about what it means to place our identities on the internals rather than externals of our lives in light of Joshua and the verse in Joshua 5 when he was told to take off his shoes before going into battle against Jericho.  "Joshua was more than a warrior.  Michael Phelps is more than a swimmer.  You're more than a runner...or artist...or part of a particular group.  One day, you'll feel close to God.  The next day you won't.  But God has given you a deeper his child.  He has made you to be you in a way that no one else can do. 

As my friend, Dan Allender says, 'You are the only you this world will ever know and something about you is meant to make something about God known in a way no one else can.'  We discover that identity through relationship—particularly, relationship with God. 

We take off our shoes in humility and rest.  We trust him.  We believe in who He is as our savior and commander and find who we are, in the midst. 

  1. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus.'                                                       1 Peter 1:5-9

There is a darkness around you...even inside of you.  It will do anything to tear down your identity, especially during these teenage years.  But God wants to do the opposite.  He wants to build your identity from the inside.  When you do and the outside things fail or falter, you won't be devastated because your identity is deeper.  As you take off your shoes and rest in him, your identity will be found in his love.  It's not about the externals.  It's about the internals...God's love and redemption at work in your life.  He's on your side, which is ultimately his side.  He is doing great things—inside of you this very minute.  Rest in that.  In him.  He loves the only you that's waiting to come out more and more."

Our first week at camp was one of so much growth in the 32 11th-12th graders that came.  They named their Jericho's, but more importantly, reminded each other of their identities being built by Christ.  We laughed, we rode bikes, we ate, we worshipped and we discovered together what it meant to take our shoes off. 

Thanks for your prayers for Hopetown, for our day camps, and for Daystar this summer.  Thank you for your support of our ministry and the children and families involved.  Glad to be standing with you on holy ground.


A May Thank You 2016

Every summer at Hopetown, we have one song that becomes the song that we sing the most...our theme song, you might call it.  It's not planned ahead of time.  It emerges.  It emerges much like Melissa's teaching...based on the kids who are a part of camp that particular week, based on where their hearts are, and based, more than anything else, on the leading of God's spirit.

Last summer, our theme song was We Will Feast in the House of Zion by our friend, Sandra McCracken.  The chorus goes like this:

We will feast in the house of Zion.

We will sing with our hearts restored.

He has done great things, we will say together.

We will feast and weep no more.

As one boy commented last summer, "I know the song was written about heaven, but it sure sounds a lot like Hopetown, too." 

These next few weeks, we'll be busy preparing for kids to make their way to New Concord, Kentucky for Hopetown.  We'll also be preparing for another group of kids to make their way to the Daystar house for our day camps for boys and girls.  In the midst of all of that, counselors will continue to be in the office offering counseling throughout the summer months.  We'll all be busy at work, following God's leading, doing our best to remind the kids and families involved of the truth found in this song.

We would be honored for you to pray for our summer...for safety, for the kids to have fun, and to be reminded of God's love and goodness in the mist of whatever they're going through.  Some are in the midst of great loss.  Some are finishing terribly difficult school years.  Some are living in families that are struggling.  All—every child—every one of us needs these truths.  We need to be reminded that God is good—is present with us in the midst of those things.  We get to say that together—at Hopetown, at day camps, and in the Daystar house that He has done great things.  And there will be a day when we can feast and weep no more.  Our prayer is that, this summer, Hopetown and Daystar will be places these kids can catch a small glimpse of that great truth.

We're honored you have chosen to be a part of Daystar.  We're humbled by your generosity.  And we're grateful to speak together to so many kids and families of God's goodness and nearness.


Welcoming Alex Hopkins!

We are excited to welcome our newest boys counselor, Alex Hopkins! He will join us at Hopetown for the summer and then begin counseling boys at Daystar in the fall. He is a Wheaton grad that has worked extensively with boys of all ages through counseling, teaching, and youth ministry. Alex comes with a lifetime endorsement from his "Aunt Mary" Berndt in the front office! We're excited for all he will bring to Daystar as he joins our staff next week...

You can see him pictured to the right (middle in black & brown) with the boys small group he led. 


The Big Payback - Help Daystar Win!

Help Daystar raise more money...simply by giving online May 3! 
(Click here to donate on May 3, 2016.)

We're grateful to get to participate in this neat opportunity hosted by our friends at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Get    Involved.
Give to Daystar by clicking the button above or by visiting their       website, search for Daystar, and complete the easy + secure donation form. Your gifts on May 3 are eligible to be amplified by bonuses, incentives, and prizes made possible by the big Payback's generous sponsors.
Get    The    Word    Out.
Share Daystar's involvement in the big Payback with your friends, and encourage others to make gifts during Middle tennessee's largest online giving day.
Follow    Along.
Follow the leaderboard at, and watch the number of donations to participating nonprofits increase as the hours on the clock dwindle away.
Thank    you    
...for helping Daystar come alongside over 1,300 children and families in need. One Life Touching Another.

Get Involved.
Give to Daystar on May 3 by clicking the link above or by visiting their website, search for Daystar, and complete the easy + secure donation form. Your gifts on May 3 are eligible to be amplified by bonuses, incentives, and prizes made possible by the big Payback’s generous sponsors.

Get The Word Out.
Share Daystar’s involvement in the big Payback with your friends on social media, and encourage others to make gifts during Middle tennessee’s largest online giving day.

Follow Along.
Follow the leaderboard at, and watch the number of donations to participating nonprofits increase as the hours on the clock dwindle away.

Thank You
...for helping Daystar come alongside over 1,300 children and families in need. One Life Touching Another. 



In Memory of "Aunt Robbie" Stamps

Mrs. Robbie Stamps of Murray, Kentucky died March 19, 2016 at the age of 97. All of us at Daystar remember Melissa's Aunt Robbie as a celebrated ballroom dancer, famed fried chicken maker, and baker of world renowned "Aunt Robbie Cakes." She baked 30 for us each October, as the coveted Bike Thing fundraising award, up until the age of 95. We will miss her spunk, her zest for life, her laugh, and her talent that she shared so generously with us year after year. Robbie Stamps February 24, 1919 - March 19, 2016. 

Expressions of sympathy can be made to Daystar. You can do so online by clicking here, selecting "memorial" at the bottom of the page, and entering Robbie Stamps's name. Or mail a check with her name in the memo line to Daystar Counseling Ministries at 2801 Azalea Place, Nashville, TN, 37204.

You may view her obituary here.


A March Thank You 2016

Dear Friend,

Every Wednesday, our staff gathers for a meeting.  Melissa often reads a devotional.  We pray together.  We talk about upcoming events, brainstorm about groups.  We sometimes have guest speakers on a variety of topics related to children and counseling.  But, as is often the case at Daystar, we mostly eat together, share stories, and laugh. 

In last week's meeting, several counselors told stories about kids they had met with in the previous few weeks.

One family came for an assessment.  Both kids did not want to come to counseling.  As soon as Melissa started giving them their tour, the daughter turned to her and said, "This place is just so cute."  By the end of the session, they didn't want to leave.  Literally.  They hung around for four hours after their session—talking to people, having snacks, and playing games.

Another family came in for their session during the snow days.  They stayed over an hour after their session playing checkers.  "We never get time together like this just to be," the mom told Sherman when he saw her later.

A high school boy was brought to Daystar to see "one more counselor" by his parents.  He didn't want to come.  But, by the time he sat down with Tommy, he said, "I love this place.  I've never been somewhere like this."

In one of our elementary aged groups, one of the kids was having a hard night.  He rarely talks, but, on this occasion, wouldn't say a word.  One of the other 3rd grade boys who also happens to be very shy, leaned over to him and said, "We really want to hear from you."

Our prayer during each staff meeting...each day our doors are open is that Daystar would be a safe place for kids and families.  We pray that it will be a place that feels like home—where they're reminded they're not alone.  Where, more than anything else, they'll find hope.  Thank you for being such an important part of our safe place and for helping us make Daystar a home away from home for the kids and families who walk through our doors.


The Daystar Staff


A February Thank You 2016

Dear Friend,

One Life Touching Another.  If Daystar had a tagline, that would be it.  Through individual counseling, groups, camps, and even parenting seminars, our mission is about sharing hope with those in need.  We wanted to tell you a little more specifically about how we do that.

Each family who comes for counseling walks through the front doors of our little yellow house to an environment we have designed to be as disarming as possible.  We have spiced tea brewing in the lobby, quilts on couches, and dollhouses and Lego tables spread throughout.  So many children who are brought for counseling are afraid...and we want our environment...our Daystar house to feel as safe and warm as possible.

For a child's first appointment, Melissa, David or Sissy will usually greet that child in the lobby, along with the help of their trusty pet sidekicks.  Blueberry, the Old English Sheepdog, Owen, the Yellow Lab, and Lucy, the Havanese are many kids at Daystar's favorite counselors.  Ours, too.  The child is always given a tour of our offices first, then brought back to tell us their version of why their parents or guardians brought them to see us.  We want the kids to come back first—mostly because we want them to feel like Daystar is their safe place.  Parents are important, but we know that, for the kids to trust us, they need to feel like Daystar is theirs. 

After spending some time with the child, we bring the parents back to our offices to have them talk to us about their goals for their son or daughter in counseling.  Melissa, David or Sissy then decide which counselor is the best fit for their child—given their age, personality and need.  And we think all of our counselors are pretty great—not just the pups.  We have five girls—Sissy Goff, Emma Soechting, Molly Howell, Lauren Sotelo and Chelsea Keyser.  And six boys on staff—David Thomas, Jeremy Shapiro, David Denton, Tommy Hart, and Sherman Bucher.  We also have some other terrific folks around—Mary, Mary, and Pat in the office, Susan in billing, LeAnn, Stephanie, and Katie in Development, and Aaron who's job is to hang out with the kids while we're spending time with parents.  He helps create things with the kids like foam rockets and games, all of the while making them feel comfortable and important around here.

Currently, we have approximately 1300 families involved in Daystar.  We have 16 groups that meet weekly, and we're gearing up for our summer camp programs, offering a sleep-away camp at a place called Hopetown and a day camp in our offices.

We continue to be so grateful to walk alongside children and families in need.  We'd love for you to come visit us...walk through the yellow house, meet the pups, have a spiced tea.  We're so honored you are a part of our ministry...and part of how God uses each life around here—yours included—to touch another.


The Daystar Staff


A January Thank You 2016

Dear Friend,

"The change He is making in me is good."

A high school girl said these words in one of our last groups of 2015.  She was reflecting on her year...and more than a few struggles she had walked through.  She had battled with anxiety, friend struggles, a few issues in her family.  But, her review of her year landed here: 

"The change He is making in me is good." 

She knew that God was using those very things to draw her closer to Him, to create more depth inside of her, more capacity to love.  He was drawing out more of who He has created her to be and awakening hope inside of her at the very same time.

"See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19

At Daystar, we're grateful for new things.  We're grateful that He uses the very pain that feels like it's going to take us under...and redeems it.  Sometimes quickly, but often times slowly.  But He still redeems it.  He still does new things.  And we have the great honor of walking alongside children and families in the process. 

Thank you for being a part of our ministry to this girl and to over 1300 families in the midst of change.  We're grateful to be on the journey with you. 

Happy New Year!

The Daystar Staff


A December Thank You

Dear Friend,

"God came to us because he wanted to join us on the road, to listen to our story, and to help us realize that we are not walking in circles but moving towards the house of peace and joy.  This is the great mystery of Christmas that continues to give us comfort and consolation: we are not alone on our journey.  The God of love who gave us life sent his only Son to be with us at all times and in all places, so that we never have to feel lost in our struggles but always can trust that he walks with us." -Henri Nouwen

"God came to us because he wanted to join us on the road..."  Henri Nouwen's words echo the heart of what Daystar is all about.  This time of year reminds us that God coming to the 1300 families who are currently a part of Daystar Counseling Ministries.  Those families are here because they have a 7 year-old son struggling with anxiety, a 14 year-old daughter who has been bullied for way too long, a father facing cancer, a 17 year-old who is no longer sure that life is worth living...families who feel lost in their struggles for one isolating reason or another.

God came to those families on Christmas.  He still comes to them today.  He comes through the little yellow house that we call Daystar.  He comes through a 50 pound dog named Owen who tries to climb in boys' laps to remind them they're not alone.  He comes through high school girls' groups who sit with each other and say, "You don't deserve for anyone to treat you like that.  We want to be your friends.  We're with you."  He comes through children at camp who love and laugh beside each other on inner tubes and doing art projects.  He comes through our staff who feel collectively, graciously, humbly and honored to be called to join with God and these families on the road.  And through you. 

We're honored for you to be a part of our celebration of Christ's birth.  We are grateful for your partnership and your willingness to stand with us in reminding children and families they're not alone.  It's a privilege to be on the road with you.

The Daystar Staff


A November Thank You

Dear Friend,

"I brought my two children here to work through our divorce.  I expected that you all would take good care of them—that they'd have a place to share and be heard and understood and known.  But what I didn't expect was that I would be dropped into this community of generosity.  It's like I've been embraced, too, and found my own safe spot to heal."

A mother recently shared these words with one of our staff members.  Daystar currently serves over 1300 families in our community.  Those families are made up of children—ages 8 to 18.  But they're also made up of parents.  Parents who feel lost, afraid, confused, and are hurting themselves. Another parent once said, "You're only as happy as your most hurting child." 

We sit in our offices hour after hour, day after day, doing our best to help hurting kids.  In that, we also have the great honor of helping hurting parents.  Thank you for coming alongside this work we are privileged to do in the lives of families. 

The Daystar Staff


An October Thank You

Dear Friend,

Nearly four years ago, I stumbled into a little yellow house. I was completely unaware of the wonderful things to come out of this special place. I did not know what to expect. I never would have anticipated the effect that Daystar had on my life.

I am at college now. I am exactly two hours and twenty-three minutes away from Daystar, but I feel that Daystar is still with me. Two days before I left for college, I went to Daystar. I had to give a proper goodbye to the community that transformed me. I drove home with tears in my eyes. I knew I wasn't really leaving Daystar. Daystar had touched my life, and it was my turn to bring Daystar wherever I go. That little yellow house is my home. I am a distinctly different person because of it. Daystar has marked me. As a believer, I have always been convinced that Jesus would have His followers do part of His work, until he would return. Daystar is one of those pieces of Jesus.

As a donor, you do not always get to see the life that Daystar brings out of people. I am writing to you, so you will know that your donation has made a difference. My life has been filled with Daystar in the most beautiful way. I cannot share my story, or any piece of my life, without mentioning Daystar. Their model is "one life touching another." It is a beautiful statement that gets to the heart of the Daystar community. They have touched my life, and it is my turn to touch another. The first Daystar radiated and led the magi to Christ. Similarly, the yellow house radiates in all who have gone there. Daystar is a light to the community. Thank you for the role you have played in my life and my family. You are part of a community that makes a real that is driven by God's purposes.


A Daystar College Student



Dear friend,

"Your two days are my two days."  

This summer at Hopetown, Melissa taught about Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  She recounted the story from John 11 where the sisters send a message to Jesus saying, "The one you love so very much is sick" (John 11:3, MSG).  The one he loves in that story is Lazarus.  His sisters are worried.  They're hurting.  They're confused and waiting...much like every child and family who walks through the doors of Daystar Counseling Ministries. 

  1. Waiting...       

            waiting for at least one friend at school

            waiting to feel some respite from the grief of losing a parent

            waiting for the anxiety to subside

            waiting to not feel quite so angry

            waiting to remember what hope feels like

Mary and Martha had to wait two days for Jesus to come.  He loved Lazarus.  They reminded him of that in their message.  But he still waited two days. 

We don't know why he waits.  Ultimately, he works in the waiting.  He redeems every bit of the hurt.  He heals us and the ones we love—even better, the ones He loves.  But the waiting doesn't necessarily get any easier knowing those truths.  And so we wait.

The girl who talked about her two days was one of our interns at Hopetown this summer.  We were in a meeting and one of the high school campers had just talked about struggling with her parents divorce.  Our intern went to this camper, knelt in front of her and simply said, "Your two days are my two days.  I'm here with you and I'm not going anywhere." 

This is the mission of Daystar.  It's our calling and our great honor to join in the two days of each family—each child who walks through our doors.  We walk alongside them in the waiting.  He does come.  That's our promise.  And that's our hope.  God loves each of these children and each of these families—and He comes because of that very love.  But, in the meantime, we wait...together.  Thank you for waiting with us—and with them.

With much gratitude,

The Daystar Staff




Dear friends,

As our summer at Hopetown draws to and end, we wanted to share with you a window into one of our camps.  These words are from a blog written about 2nd-4th grade camp—and they serve as a reminder to us of God's faithfulness—and yours—to us this summer. 

"We just finished our 2nd-4th grade camp.  Over the years, a call to worship has evolved at Hopetown for these little people.  It's a poem that has grown and grown—with time and circumstances.  This year, we talked a lot about lighthouses.  We talked about light ALWAYS being stronger than dark.  (John 1:5) And how God our lighthouse who brings us safe through the storms.  We more than talked about it...we sang about it, we made art about it, and started each day with this poem.

Several years ago, it was the prayer that a boy took home from camp and prayed every morning when he was anxious on his way to school.  (Of course, he didn't do the girls' part.  Yuck!)  The boys and girls say the first verse together and then alternate as the poem continues.

We wanted you to have the poem, too.  Feel free to use it with your little ones...or in your own life, as a good thing to remember.  He always brings us through the storms.

Good morning, Lord

This is your day

I am your child

Show me the way

We woke up this morning

Ready to serve

We are your men, Lord

Give us the nerve

Lord we are here

To laugh & to play

We are your daughters

Beside you we'll stay

The day is new

Like you made us

We're in our boat

In you we trust 

We paddle and float

Amongst the waves

We're here in our boat

In you we praise."

Thank you for helping be a light for us this summer.  God has used you profoundly in the lives of hundreds of children in both Kentucky and Nashville.  You have been a part of his provision of safety and hope in the midst of many storms.

With much gratitude,

The Daystar Staff



Dear Friends,

"It's so rare to be in a place with people who want the same things as you. "

The song that framed that first week was one by our friend, Sandra McCracken.  The chorus says:

We will feast in the house of Zion.

We will sing with our hearts restored.

He has done great things, we will say together.

We will feast and weep no more.

One of the kids commented that this song may have been written about heaven, but felt like much of what Hopetown is about.  It's also what the day camps are about that meet at the Daystar house.  And the counseling that takes place, both individually and in groups. 

He has done great things.  He continues to, even when things are hard.  Weeping may remain for the night, but joy comes in the morning.  We will sing with our hearts restored one day.  And we can sing together now, rejoicing in what he is doing and what he will continue to do every day until that great feast.  That is the hope we profess.  That is the hope we have the honor of sharing every day in every branch of Daystar this summer.  We're grateful for your support that enables us to walk out that hope with hundreds of kids.  He has done great things.  And we are more than grateful, for your support and for his ongoing work of restoring every one of our hearts.

With great hope,

The Daystar Staff



Dear Friends,

Happy Summer!  By the time you read this letter, we'll have thirty high school kids, 9 college interns, and 10 senior staff gathered together in a living room in Kentucky—singing worship songs, talking about their lives, and discovering together what a shared hope and purpose look like. 

We'll have several dozen boys and girls meeting in Nashville with trained counselors and leaders—learning how to care about others and discover all of the good that God has bound up in each of their hearts. 

Counselors will be continuing to walk alongside children and families in our office, with the development and office staff keeping all of these cogs in the Daystar wheel running smoothly.

God is at work.  At Hopetown.  At Daystar.  At our day camps.  He is bringing hope to kids and to families.  And He is using your gracious support of our ministry to do so.

A mom recently signed her daughter up for camp for the first time, and said these tearful words.  "I can't tell you what a relief it is for my daughter to be a part of Daystar this summer.  I've never trusted that my daughter could go somewhere away from us—and be okay—not just okay, but be loved.  Thank you for being that place for her and for us this summer."

Thank you for providing that place—for hundreds of families this summer at and through Daystar Ministries.  We are grateful for your support and would love you to continue to pray for our ministry throughout the summer.

With great hope,

The Daystar Staff





Dear Friends,

Summer is quickly approaching and at Daystar that mean we're busily preparing for our summer camps.  This year, we'll have five day camps at our offices and seven sleep away camps at Hopetown, where we'll have approximately 120 kids ranging from 2nd through 12th grades.

An important part of all of our camps is our leadership development.  Each spring, we ask a select number of high school children who we believe are ready to serve in this way to be a part of our summer leadership.  They help at younger kids camps, making meals, playing together, worshipping together, and helping to lead groups.  It's an enriching opportunity for both the kids they serve and for them. 

These are one high school students' words about camp on her application to lead:

"Hopetown has truly formed me into the person I am today. At Hopetown I learned what Christianity looked like outside of a church setting, and I learned so much about love from the interns I had. I looked at Hopetown interns with so much admiration and to this day value the lessons I have learned from camp counselors. I never would have thought college age girls could plant seeds of Jesus in me in one week, but every summer at camp I am reminded they can. I truly believe in Hopetown's missions and would be more than honored to love younger campers the way I have been so dearly loved by Hopetown interns. Each summer I witness first-hand the impact our little camp has on people's lives, and each summer I see God unfurling big plans in New Concord, Kentucky. Nothing reminds me how great our Jesus is, than experiencing what He is doing at Hopetown and I would be so thankful to continue to play a part in the journey."

Thank you for being a part of this journey with her...and with us.  You are continuing to make a tremendous difference in the lives of kids in Nashville and Kentucky.  

With much gratitude,

The Daystar Staff



Our very own delightful director, Melissa Trevathan, is featured on StyleBlueprint Nashville this morning. She shares about how Daystar came to be & the heart behind our ministry. Thanks to the gracious SBP team for continuing to tell the story of what is happening our our city...including our little yellow house! Check out the feature on their blog today!



Dear Friends,

"In community we work out our connectedness to God, to one another, and to ourselves. It is in community where we find out who we really are. It is life with another that shows my impatience and life with another that demonstrates my possessiveness and life with another that gives notice to my nagging devotion to the self. Life with someone else, in other words, doesn't show me nearly as much about his or her shortcomings as it does about my own.... In human relationships I learn that theory is no substitute for love. It is easy to talk about the love of God; it is another thing to practice it."  -Joan Chittister

This was written in a recent blog called "Inward Outward."  The words, however, speak to the heart of what Daystar is all about.  "In human relationships, we learn that theory is no substitute for love."  We, at Daystar are about helping to heal hearts—healing children and healing families together.  We get to sit with hurting children, moms and dads every day who are learning what it means to love with intentionality, grace, and courage.

We love because He first loved us.  And we are able to offer love to the folks who walk through our doors because of the love he shows us, as well as the love you walk out in your generosity to Daystar.  Thank you for your connection to us.  Thank you for your generosity.  And thank you for practicing love in the lives of over 1200 families in our middle Tennessee community.

With much gratitude,

The Daystar Staff



We would be so grateful for your help tomorrow stuffing the envelopes for our Spring Mailer and some cleaning at the Daystar house! If you are available please email Stephanie at! Thanks so much!



Dear Friends,

"I minimize the good things He's given me in search of the "great" things I think he should."

A high school senior said these words to one of our counselors just this past week.  And they're a reminder, for us, of just what Daystar is all about.  We exist to offer hope to hurting children and families.  We're here to help them see good in the midst of whatever hard things have brought them to our little yellow house.  And, what happens, more often often than not, is that they're the ones who remind us.

And so we're here to thank you.  Thank you for being an agent of such good to Daystar Counseling Ministries.  Thank you for helping provide hope and a safe place for over 1200 children and families in our community and beyond.  We truly could not do it without you.

With much gratitude,

The Daystar Staff



Due to sever weather, all groups scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, March 5th have been cancelled. We will sure miss being with you all. Everyone please stay safe and warm!



*Tomorrow's Speaking Event (by David Thomas at Battle Ground Academy) has been postponed due to concerns of weather headed toward Nashville! We will let you know the new date once scheduled! More info here.



We'd love your help this Thursday, March 5th from 10am-1pm!

We will be addressing the envelopes for our Spring Mailer! We hope you will join us for some Snacks, Coffee & Fellowhsip as we prepare our Spring Mailer this year! Please email if you are able to come; we are so grateful for your time!



February Soup Night (scheduled for Tuesday, February 24th at 7pm) is CANCELLED due to rescheduling priorities from icy weather this past week. We will sure miss being with you all and hope everyone stays safe and warm.

If you have any questions please email Stephanie at



Dear Friends,

"This is the great gift we have been granted—

the potential to experience all that comes to us in this life

in complete confidence, love and joy;

to have the courage and strength to put aside fear and despair,

and to live each day in unquestioning trust in the divine providence

which has brought us into being.

We humbly acknowledge that despite the magnitude of our faults,

and the number of our failings, the inexplicable drive of creation,

the sacred spirit manifest in all that is, continuously sustains us,

and allows us to begin again at any time,

infused with the might from which we can never be separated."

These words are from a little book written by John McQuiston II called Always We Begin Again, and are truths that reverberate through the mission of Daystar.

Always we begin again...we begin fresh with this great gift, with courage and strength to put aside fear and despair.  We humbly acknowledge the magnitude of our faults, but trust in this Spirit who continually sustains us.  It is that Spirit who brings hope to each child, each family who walks through our doors longing to begin again. 

Thank you for entering a new year with the mission of Daystar in mind.  Thank you for helping us bring hope and new beginnings to over 1200 families in the middle Tennessee community.  We are honored to walk alongside you in sharing a might and a hope from which we can never be separated.

With gratitude as we all begin again, 

The Daystar Staff



Our newest group, led by Tommy Hart and Rodes Hart, will begin meeting on Wednesday, February 11th at 5:30-6:45pm at the Daystar House (2801 Azalea Pl. Nashville, TN 37204). This Dad's group will meet for 5 consecutive Wednesdays to have conversations about being a father. If you or someone you know might be interested in joining, please email or call 615.298.5353! *Food & Drink will be provided!


With Grateful Hearts




We are so excited to start back groups this week! See you all real soon!



Dear Friends,

"No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found

Far as, far as the curse is found

                                                            -Joy to the World

No more let sins and sorrows grow...what an apt sentence for the state of our world—our community where it feels like sins and sorrows abound.  Just if you were to sit in our offices on a daily basis...a 2nd grade boy who has been bullied over and over again, a 4th grade girl struggling with anxiety, a 13 year-old boy who keeps being lured back in to internet pornography, a 16 year-old girl who doesn't know who she is or believe that anyone cares.  Sins and sorrows abound in our community—our schools—our homes, which is exactly why Daystar Counseling Ministries exists.

He rules the world with truth and grace

And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness

And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love

And wonders and wonders of His love

We have the honor of being a small part of reminding these kids and families of the wonders of God's love.  We get to come alongside and remind them of his truth and grace—and ultimately, His hope.  They are not alone.  He came so that sin and sorrow no longer have to grow.  It stops with Him.  It's redeemed with Him and in Him and because of His coming we're reminded of this time of year.

Thank you for joining us in offering children and families hope.  You are one of the wonders of His love to us...and to the 1200 families currently being served by Daystar.  We are grateful.

Merry Christmas,

The Daystar Staff





Our next soup night will be


at Daystar on Tuesday, November 25th at 7pm! 

We will have a Thanksgiving spread for us to enjoy as we worship and give thanks together!

"You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink."--G.K. Chesterton 

If you are interested in bringing your favorite Thanksgiving side dish, please email 

 We hope you will come and say grace with our families at Daystar.

 See you soon!



We will be stuffing our Evening in December invitations tomorrow from 10am-1pm! Feel free to stop by anytime to help us stuff! Thanks!



Upcoming Volunteer Needs at Daystar!
Tomorrow!! We will be addressing Evening in December invitations from 10am-3pm. Feel free to stop by for some time if you are able!
This Friday we will be decorating the Daystar house from 9am-4pm and would love some help!! We will have coffee, Christmas music & some treats :) 
Please email if you can join us!

Upcoming Volunteer Needs at Daystar!

Tomorrow!! We will be addressing Evening in December invitations from 10am-3pm. Feel free to stop by for some time if you are able!

This Friday we will be decorating the Daystar house from 9am-4pm and would love some help!! We will have coffee, Christmas music & some treats :)

Please email if you can help us!



Drum roll please...over $80,000 has been raised for The Bike Thing (and still counting!!!) Wow!! Thank you for making this record breaking day possible! Lives will be touched and changed thanks to sweet gifts like yours--and how much fun was Saturday?!


Volunteers Needed Tomorrow 10/9!

We will be planting pansies and wrapping our new "Bike Thing" t-shirts tomorrow at the Daystar house and would be so grateful for your help between 10am-1pm!! Please email if you can make it!



We will be having our first Soup Night of the season tonight and we hope you will join us at 7pm at the Daystar House!! We'll be talking about going "From there to Here" as we go from summer to fall! See y'all soon!



Come on over and write some letters to send out to anyone you might want to sponsor you for the Bike Thing this year!

*Don't forget to Bring your addresses with you!

Letter Writing Party TONIGHT at the Daystar House from 4pm-7pm!

Be sure to register for the Bike Thing and bring the addresses of your family, friends & teachers with you!

See you all real soon!



Come on over and write some letters to send out to anyone you might want to sponsor you for the Bike Thing this year!

Letter Writing Party TONIGHT at the Daystar House from 4pm-7pm!

Our next Letter Writing Party will be next Monday, Sept. 22 from 4pm-7pm!

Be sure to register for the Bike Thing and bring the addresses of your family, friends & teachers with you!

See you all real soon!


Letter Writing Party Dates

It's time for Letter Writing Parties for The Bike Thing!

We will be meeting at The Daystar House (2801 Azalea Pl., Nashville, TN 37204) on the following dates:

Monday, September 15th from 4-7pm

Monday, September 22nd from 4-7pm

There will be a photo booth to help you personalize your very own Bike Thing page, so get ready for a fun time with friends and family!!

Also, don't forget to register for the Bike Thing here!

We hope to see you soon!

Email Stephanie Tuttle at if you have any questions!


September Soup Night

Our September Soup Night will be in exactly two weeks! Mark your calendars for Tuesday, September 23rd at 7pm!



Groups start back tonight!! We are so excited and hope you are too! 

Group Schedule


Groups Begin September 2nd!

Just a reminder that groups will begin next week, Tuesday, September 2nd!!


Stones of Remembrance

A stone with your child's name engraved could be the perfect way to leave their mark at Hopetown! Each stone is $250 and will be laid on our "Path of Remembrance" up at Hopetown! These stones serve as a reminder for all who have walked their own path at Hopetown.

Please email or if you would like to order one today!


Hopetown Lost & Found

Missing something??

Lost and found from Hopetown is piled high in the art room so please stop by if you see something that looks familiar! We'd love to get all of these things back to their owners!

Feel free to email if you have any questions or see something that belongs to you.



Groups will start back up September 2nd! Stay tuned for group schedules for this fall!


A July 2014 Thank You!

This week at Camp Hopetown, we talked about Zacchaeus and Luke 19.  You remember him...the little guy who climbed up the sycamore tree to see Jesus.  The backstory of Zacchaeus—in case you've forgotten from Sunday school—is that he was a tax collector.  He was Jewish but taxed the Jewish people to pay money to the Roman government.  And, in those days, tax collectors were known for skimming off the top.  Suffice it to say that Zacchaeus didn't have a lot of friends.

So, here he was, in Jerusalem, having just heard that Jesus was on his way to town.  It's hard to see with the crowds and Zacchaeus' height, so he climbs up in a nearby sycamore tree to have a better view.

Jesus, walking underneath the tree, shouts up, "Zacchaeus, hurry down.  Today is my day to be a guest in your home."  The Message goes on to say, "Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him."  Zacchaeus was excited to see Jesus, but Jesus was even more excited to Zacchaeus.  He stopped on purpose, just for Zacchaeus.

Jesus goes on to say, "Today is salvation day in this home!  Here he is:  Zacchaeus, son of Abraham!  For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost."  The NIV says "to seek and save the lost."

He comes to find us...just like he found Zacchaeus.  He comes to restore and save us.  He calls us by name, excited to see us, and intentionally chooses to love us.  And then proclaims that "today is salvation day" specifically for us.

Jesus called, and Zacchaeus came down from his tree.  He not only came down but came down and offered to give half of his possessions to the poor and pay back four times what he had skimmed.  Jesus' love for Zacchaeus changed him.  As Melissa said, that little tax collector jumped out of the tree and into the perfect love of Christ.

But, where are we in the story?  Are we just climbing up for a better view?  Are we sitting in our trees, curious about Jesus, but wanting to stay at a safe distance?  It's often easier to know about him than really know him. 

With the kids, we talked specifically about those we hide from God. They named their trees as various sins in their lives with which they protect themselves:  sarcasm, laziness, fear, jealousy, fear of failure, wanting to be in control.  We have fear...all of us, whatever our age.  And we often hide in our sin, as a result.

CS Lewis said, "Those who do not think about their own sins do so by thinking incessantly about the sins of others.  It is healthier to think of one's own.  It is not, even in the long run, very gloomy.  A serious attempt to really know is a lightening and relieving process."

So, here we are...sitting each in our trees, talking about how those around us won't come down from their trees.  And Jesus walks underneath and calls us down.  He doesn't say don't be afraid of failing.  He doesn't say we won't be jealous or insecure (especially when we're in 9th and 10th grades), but what he does say is trust me.  Come down and see yourself reflected in my eyes.  Let me be a guest in your home.  And experience the relief of letting go of that sin.  

We talked about how the weight of sin makes us suspicious, judgmental and insecure.  But Jesus says to Zacchaeus and to us, "Today is salvation day in your home."  You don't have to carry that weighty sin around any more.  So, we didn't.  Each morning, each camper took a large rock and wrote their sins on it.  They went with a counselor to pray and toss their rocks into the water at the lake. 

Larry Crabb says, "The greatest gift there is is forgiveness."  We were able to experience that this week together.  We talked about how sin is not only less gloomy when talked about, but especially when talked about with people who love and are for you.  We got to talk about that, too.  We got to say to each camper who we saw reflected in their eyes...who we believed God had created them to be. 

And so we experienced shared forgiveness and freedom at camp.  Jesus came to seek and save us.  Today.  Every day.  We can toss our rocks and come down from our trees, jumping into the love of a Savior who is infinitely excited to see and love us.

Thank you for helping to make it possible for 2nd through 12th graders to come together this Hopetown, at Daystar and at our day camps—to learn more about forgiveness, healing and hope.  We are more than grateful.


The Daystar Staff


A June 2014 Thank You!

Monsters...we talked a lot about monsters this first week of camp at Hopetown.  Not the one-eyed, scary, scaly kind of monsters but the kind of monsters we hear in our heads every day. 

You hear them, too.  It's not just the high school kids we had at camp last week.  It's the voice in your head that says "You blew it."  You can internalize it as the voices of those in relationship to you or even God's voice.  Rather than "I love you and am for you," it's more like "You fell flat on your face."  "You are such a mess."  "Try harder."  "I'm frustrated."  "You're in trouble."  "You deserve this."  "I'm not going to love you anymore."  Henri Nouwen said, "One of the reasons we don't trust God is the negative, persistent voices we have inside of us."  The voice of truth gets lost in the wake of these lying, powerful monsters that do their best to defeat us.

When Thomas Merton was teaching the new monks in his monastery, he said that he wanted them each to imagine a large, dark pool, with all sizes and shapes of monsters lurking beneath the water.  As those monsters each rose to the surface, he wanted the monks to give them a name. 

And so that is exactly what we did at camp this last week.  We talked about our monsters and gave them names.  The names these high school juniors and seniors came up with involved words like apathy, laziness, perfection, control, anxiety, anger, failure, unworthiness, guilt, conforming, vulnerability, purposelessness, abandonment, burdening others, insecurity, pressure, and weakness.  Sounds a little familiar, doesn't it?

  1. St. Augustine said, "Grant, Lord, that I may know myself that I may know Thee."  John Calvin echoed the same idea when he said, "There is no deep knowing of God without a deep knowing of self, and no deep knowing of self without a deep knowing of God."            

Melissa talked about not only the importance of knowing the monsters that have the loudest voices within us, but where we go with those voices.  In fact, she asked 3 questions:

1)What are your monsters?
2)How do you typically respond?
3)What would it look like to trust Jesus to defeat them?

Basically, these kids walked through the Gospel around the metaphor of monsters.  So many of them talked about pulling away or lashing out in response to the monsters.  One girl even said she sometimes gets in the pool and swims around with them for a while.  Our response—aka—our sin is different for each of us.  But the fact that monsters are there is not.  They do exist.  Hopefully, as we grow and learn to understand their voices, they have less and less power. 

But it is not just our understanding that defeats them.  It is, as one high school boy said, pressing into Jesus in a way where we trust His love for us more than those terrible voices. 

Charles Stanley said, "No one can conquer us without our consent."  But, oh, how those monsters try.  Paul has an answer in Romans 8:31-37.  "What then shall we say in response to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?  It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns?  No one.  Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

Melissa ended this teaching with having us sing, "Jesus loves me."  It was a powerful, mysterious thing to watch 35 high school students sing that simple, elementary song.  But, how very true it is.  "When we choose to believe what the monster says about us," she said, "we go down in defeat.  But when we choose to believe what God says about us, we are never ultimately defeated."  We are more than conquerors.  Jesus loves much so that all things, even our monsters will work together for our good and His glory.  And that is the final Word.

Thank you for your gracious support of Daystar.  Thank you for helping to provide a place where kids can come together to not only name their monsters but learn the truth of God's power and hope over them.


The Daystar Staff


A May 2014 Thank You!

Happy Spring!  And Happy almost summer at Daystar!  We are so grateful for your support and honored to have you come alongside our counseling, our day camps, and summer camp program at Hopetown.

We wanted to share with you a glimpse into the heart of a Hopetown camper.  These words were a part of her common app essay to get into college.  The essay was simply titled, "Changed."

Daystar Counseling Ministries, which offers counseling to families in the middle Tennessee area, hosts an annual summer camp called Camp Hopetown. It is my favorite week of the entire year, and is where I learn the most about myself. I am completely disconnected from all technology, and it is where I am most perfectly content.

A woman named Melissa Trevathan founded this camp, and as the executive director of the camp, she leads worship in the mornings and evenings because it is a Christian camp.  During our worship, Melissa gives deep insight into the Bible and opens our eyes to essential truths about ourselves and life in general. We discuss matters that some people might say we do not understand at our age. Every one of us arrives there as strangers, and by the end of the week, we have a deep connection with one another. Many of the people who go to this camp are there because they go to Daystar for counseling. Most of the conversations that we have with one another are the reasons we are at Daystar for counseling. We all support each other through the difficulties in our lives and help each other grow.

We are grateful for the kind words of this young woman.  We are honored to have had her as a part of Camp Hopetown these past seven years.  And we are more than grateful for your support of her and all of the children and families at Daystar.  It is a privilege to offer hope alongside you.


The Daystar Staff


An April 2014 Thank You!

It's been an amazing three years! Three years ago Daystar believed in me enough to hire me to work in development. For me, it was a natural move since Daystar has been my second home since I was thirteen. In the past three years I've had the unique privilege of walking alongside the most amazing families...both the families who utilize our sliding scale and the families who give to make the sliding scale possible.

So it is with very mixed emotions that I write this letter to you, our faithful contributor. My husband has taken a transfer with his company and we are moving to New York City in May. While we are thrilled for this new adventure and new chapter of our lives, we are equally as sad to leave behind our wonderful Nashville and Daystar communities. But as you probably know, once you are a part of Daystar you are always a part of Daystar, so please do not hesitate to stay in touch! Each of you has made my job here possible, and for that I am forever grateful.

However, I am thrilled to introduce you to our new development team...Chelsea Keyser and Stephanie Tuttle. And let me tell you, these girls make quite a team! Many of you probably know Chelsea. She has been around Daystar for thirteen years starting as an adolescent in group counseling, then a summer intern, then a senior staff member at Hopetown and has now been on staff in the development office for the past year and a half. She truly knows the heart of Daystar! She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in social work and is getting her masters in counseling at Vanderbilt.

Stephanie Tuttle is new to the Daystar family, but has jumped right in and we adore her already! Stephanie is from Nashville and went to Samford University. She handled communications for Sweet Sleep right out of college and then worked in healthcare before we were lucky enough to snatch her up.

I can't emphasize enough how much your gift means to each of us at Daystar. We cannot do these jobs we do, and help these families we help, without your generous support. Thank you for making our wonderful development jobs possible...and please stop by anytime and meet Chelsea and Stephanie. I certainly will miss each of you greatly!

With much gratitude,

Catherine Tuck



We have a goal to reach by the end of summer: $140,000!!

Thanks to our generous community we are so grateful to date we have reached $139,345! You may be wondering what exactly would be covered by our $140k goal; summer gifts will be used toward:

Would your prayerfully consider being a part of summer at Daystar and help us reach our goal?



Prayer for the Durham Family

Dear friends, it is with a heavy heart that Melissa shares this with you in regards to long time supporter and friend of Daystar, David Durham:

"David Durham passed away at 3am today.
We loved him so much, but as I say that I'm reminded that it was he who loved us so much and we just got to respond.

He continually reminded me in a playful way to slow down and RESPOND to him, actually, some of the time he was very intent and serious when he reminded me of what and who was really important and lasting.

One of my last conversations (not the last one thankfully) he told me how I hurt his feelings when I was too busy to be with him. David and Peter had a lot in common, (2 Peter 1:12-15 message) "I'm not going to let up for a purpose is the keep you alert with frequent reminders." David was big on forgiveness too....thank goodness.

My last conversation with David he reminded me that he was not afraid to die. That his trust in the promises of Jesus was only stronger!

He also said that he was mostly concerned about his family,
And so today and the days ahead We are all reminded to pray for and stand with Sandy, Kristi and Tommy, Joanna and Chris, Brian and Erica and of course those lively, loved grandchildren.

David gave to Daystar as a friend and supporter for 28 yrs.
He was a board member and artist, printer, and photographer for all of our events.

But mostly....
He reminded us of what will last.

We all at Daystar say thank you David
We will miss you.


Please keep the Durham family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. David will truly be missed and what a legacy of love he left for friends and family to remember him by.



Be sure to sign your child up for Daystar Day Camp! Day Camps are for any boy or girl who would benefit from a small, supportive peer group environment while doing some really fun activities with one another including kickball, laser tag, art, and bowling just to name a few! Check the dates listed below to sign your child up today!

Rising 3rd-5th grade: 
Girls camp: June 2th-6th led by Emma
Boys camp: June 23th-27th led by Jeremy

Rising 6th-8th grade:
Girls & Boys camp: June 16th-20th led by both Emma & Jeremy.

For more information and to sign your child up please email or call (615) 298-5353.



Groups will be finishing up this week. We are thankful for one last week with your kids before summer!



Due to severe weather, all groups are cancelled tonight, April 28, 2014. Stay safe!


Volunteers Needed Today!

We are trying to finish up stuffing the last couple hundred spring mailers! Please stop by for any amount of time today and help us finish up!

Ask for Catherine or Chelsea.

Thank you!


ATTN: Camp Parents

Quick camp announcement...when looking at the dates on your confirmation materials, please use the DATES and not the DAYS OF THE WEEK. Sorry for the mix up!

Thank you!


A March 2014 Thank You!

"Mom, I just realized I get to go to Daystar for 1-on-1 counseling AND group on my birthday!" 

The mom who told us her son said these words also went on to describe her own experience at Daystar. 

"I don't know we would have done without you all in this transition. Our family wouldn't have made it. You have been a lifeline for us.  And we couldn't have made it without your sliding scale. Thank you for what you do and for providing a safe place for our son and for us. The fact that he wants to spend his birthday—and almost his whole day here is just a reflection of how enjoyed and believed in he feels by you all." 

Your graciousness to Daystar has given this boy a place to come on his birthday and has given this family a place to come during a difficult time in their lives. You have helped hundreds of children just this month find the same. Thank you for your partnership with us. Thank you for your commitment to helping kids and families navigate hard times and find hope. We are honored to have you come alongside us and them.


The Daystar Staff


Come to Sugar Dive- Tomorrow (March 11th)!

Join us tomorrow at our favorite new sweets store, Sugar Dive, where the K.McCarthy Fashion Truck will be as well! Sample their new "On the Lighter Side" menu options and shop for some new Spring apparel in the truck!

Tuesday, March 11th
Sugar Dive (4100 Hillsboro Circle in the Green Hills area)


Thankful for the generosity of these two businesses!



Groups are still on for tonight!



All groups will be cancelled tonight due to the icy conditions on the roads. Please be safe today!



Matilda Jane Clothing

Please join us tomorrow for a very special Matilda Jane Clothing show hosted by trunk keeper, Catherine Martin! 10% of proceeds go to Daystar! 

Bring a friend and shop by between 11:30-1:30 to do some fun spring shopping and support Catherine and Daystar! 

Please email Catherine Tuck if you have any questions!



Due to the storms and tornadoes heading our way, all groups starting at 5:00pm and later are cancelled!

Please be safe!


A February Thank You!

"It's not that I'm hard on myself.  I'm just realistic."

This teenage girl went on to list a myriad of characteristics she didn't like about herself.  Her list sparked a conversation in our high school groups about the difference between being realistic and critical of ourselves.  It's a hard to know the difference sometimes...even for us as adults. 

What these teenagers came up with is that realism is always accompanied by hope.  It's being honest with yourself about where you struggle, knowing that you can get better.  And it includes the positive, as well.  So, in several of our high school groups this week, we had the girls walk out this type of realism.  They made a list of five areas in which they struggle and five strengths they believe they possess.  And then they included one way in which they believe they've grown in the past year. 

The lists were harder than they thought they would be to come up with.  Some girls had more difficulty listing strengths...some struggles.  But all ended up learning something about themselves, and quite a bit about each other.  And, it was powerful to watch them experience the very reason we have groups at Daystar.  We talk so often about how kids impact kids in ways we can't as adults.  They hear each other's voices often louder than they do ours.  And those voices can be a powerful reflection of the voice of God.

As one girl said, "When I get angry with myself, I try to think-'Is that God's voice convicting me or Satan's voice lying to me?'"  And I know God's voice always has some hope in it.  He believes in me and wants me to grow.  He never condemns or criticizes me.  When that happens I know it's Satan."  Powerful, truthful words that bring both realism and hope...from one teenager to many, many more.  

Thank you for believing in Daystar.  Thank you for being a part of our ministry where kids can share truth and encouragement with each other.  Your gift makes a tremendous difference every day in our yellow house.


Technology Tuesdays!

Each Tuesday, check out the Raising Boys & Girls blog to learn more about technology and your children...


A January 2014 Thank You!

"I had a decision to make.  I could either hide in the bathroom, or I could try to play volleyball...even though I knew I wasn't going to be good."

This courageous 7th grader shared these words with her Daystar group recently.  Her PE class was doing a section on volleyball and she knew that "bump, set, and spike" were way beyond her skill level.  She would feel and, most likely look awkward the entire period.  So, she felt like she had a big decision awaiting her. 

As she talked, the other girls listened with rapt attention.  Every one of them had faced the same type of decision.  Every one of us does regularly. 

Do I hide in the bathroom or do I try _____________?

After she shared her story, another girl immediately turned to her and said, "I have felt the same way.  And I think you're really brave." 

These words...this conversation is exactly why we have groups...why we have a place called Daystar Counseling Ministries.  Our hope is to help kids know that they are not alone.  To give them opportunities to be brave as they share their struggles, to teach them to use their voices to encourage others and to surround them with adults and other kids who can be a voice of encouragement in their lives.  We are privileged daily to walk in this place.  And we are grateful for your partnership in it this new year.


The Daystar Staff


Groups start back next Monday (1/13)

We are so looking forward to being with all your kids next week!


A December Thank You!

It is by amazing grace that the light which even the likes of us can sometimes bring to the dark and needful streets where our lives lead us is no less than the Light of the World, which is Christ.  Christ is brought to us, and we can bring Christ to each other.  That is the mystery of Advent, where justice and mercy, comfort and challenge, the holy and the human, all meet...                                        Frederick Buechner

At Daystar, we live perpetually in this place...where justice and mercy, comfort and challenge, the holy and human all meet.  We live in the mystery of Advent.  Good News of Great Joy.  Christ being born in a lowly manger.  Light piercing the darkness of our struggle...of each of the families' struggles that make up Daystar Counseling Ministries.

Since 1985, Daystar has been an Advent ministry.  Currently, we serve over 1300 families and individuals in our community.  We have 20 groups that meet weekly.  We have 9 full-time counselors, 4 office staff, 2 development staff, 4 interns, 4 pet therapists, and a bird (maybe somewhere) in a dogwood tree.  All at home in a beautiful office that one boy aptly called "the little yellow house that helps people."

Whether it's death, divorce, anxiety, depression, ADD, or a child who just needs a safe place to talk, our little yellow house is here to bring Christ.  Christ is brought to us, and then we have the tremendous honor of bringing him—bringing hope - to each and every family who walks through our doors.

Thank you for your gracious support of our ministry.  Thank you for being an important part of bringing Christ to us—and to all of the families Daystar is privileged to serve. 

It is an honor for us to celebrate Advent with you.


Raising Boys & Girls BLOG!

We have very exciting news to share with you! Melissa, Sissy & David have launched their own blog you can follow here on on!

Stay tuned for more posts! Merry Christmas!




We do have groups tonight!

This is the last week for groups as well!


We are having groups & Soup Night toinght- November 26th!

We are keeping a close eye on the weather, but we WILL have groups & Soup Night tonight!

Soup Night is at 7:00pm.

Thank you!



A November Thank You

"Thank you for saving my life. And for teaching me about Jesus."

Just last night, Melissa ran into someone she counseled probably ten years ago.  Then, she was a lost, college-aged young woman who was experimenting with drugs and struggling with profound depression.  Now, she is a self-assured, confident woman in her early 30's.  And it just so happened that another staff member overheard the conversation.

You see, Melissa would never tell you these words herself.  As a matter of fact, many letters just like this are written and then "softened" by Melissa.  She doesn't want to make it sound like we are bragging.  We are not.  On the contrary, we are profoundly grateful.  We are honored to get to walk alongside over 1300 children and families in this season of Daystar's ministry.  We are privileged to have continued to serve families since 1985.  And we know and are continually humbled by the fact that every bit of our mission is carried by this 30 year-old woman's second sentence. 

"Let my love touch the deepest, most hidden corners of your heart and reveal to you your own beauty, a beauty that you have lost sign of, but that will become visible to you again in the light of my mercy."                                             Henri Nouwen

We get to teach people about Jesus.  Whether these words and this type of truth is spoken directly, day in and day out in our little yellow house in Berry Hill we get—we are called—to offer hope.  We get to speak words of life and hope to children and families who are struggling through any variety of issues...issues all of us struggle with any and every day.  Depression.  Divorce.  Death.  Anxiety.  Struggles with friendships.  Struggles with who we are and who we so desperately want to be.  And, as a staff, we collectively and by God's grace get to live out this verse from which Daystar derived its name...

To be a light shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the Daystar returns.

                                                                                    2 Peter 1:19

Thank you for being such an important part of our ministry, calling and light.


Come Celebrate with us our Evening in December

Featuring: Martina McBride, Ellie Holcomb, Tricia Walker, Ashley Cleveland, Kelly Minter, Spontaneous Mountain Boys. Hosted by: Buddy Greene.

Email Catherine at or call (615.298.5353) to purchase tickets.

A contribution of $250 will reserve you one seat. Tables of 8 and 10 are available this year.

**Please note the new location, LOVELESS BARN and date is one week later than usual (due to Thanksgiving), DECEMBER 9TH.

We hope you can join us!


An October 2013 Thank You!

A little more than four years ago our family moved to the Nashville area.  For my husband and me, we felt at home soon after our boxes were unpacked.  God called our family to a wonderful church and to various ministries as well as provided a strong adult community group and friendly neighborhood.  "All" seemed to be going better than "expected" for the first months. God then started to reveal to us that specific things at home, within our family unit, would take some turns that we didn't EXPECT.  We would eventually learn how to better recognize and begin to overcome some of the fragile circumstances of raising teenagers with some extraordinary assistance.

Our middle school daughter, now in high school, took a lot longer than we did to adjust to our new environment.  She felt that "the rug" had been pulled from underneath her and my husband and I needed some help to see beyond how we thought we could help her.  She struggled with A.D.D., being in a new school system, making and keeping friends and maintaining acceptable grades.  Thankfully, a trusted woman from our church referred us to Daystar referencing what a godly organization it is and how counseling from Daystar had helped one of her daughters in a turbulent season in high school.  We basically had to "drag" our daughter into her first appointment.  My husband and I are forever grateful to Melissa and Blueberry who went out to our car and encouraged our daughter to come into the center to "just talk".  From that first encounter our daughter started to become a part of the "DNA" of Daystar.  We all look back to that time of finding this loving community as the beginning of something beautiful and certainly an answer to prayer.

For the last four years our daughter has had a countless number of people "pour into her" the type of encouragement and hope that her heart, along with ours, has needed.  In recent years, we have witnessed her growing close to the staff and summer volunteers of Daystar/Hopetown and even now giving back to the girls herself that she has had the privilege of being in weekly group counseling and camp with.  We refer her "Daystar high" after her appointments because of the smiles (from the inside out!!) and uplifting conversations generated from these times.

As parents of a daughter who continues to be affirmed and challenged by her ongoing relationships at Daystar, plus those of our then 18 year old son whom briefly entered into counseling at Daystar before leaving for college, we KNOW that God is actively at work in this ministry!! 

 God used a transition period in our lives to introduce us to a ministry that has been fruitful and irreplaceable to our family.  We have each been deeply loved by a community of people whom love and serve the Lord with excellence!  We are thankful beyond words!


A Daystar Mom




- Registration begins at 8:00am & Ride at 9:00am sharp! Please be checked in by 8:45am.
- Light breakfast will be provided and there will be snacks and drinks along the way.
- Lunch and awards ceremony at 12:00pm.

**Most important items to bring: BIKE & HELMET!

2. WEATHER- Beautiful sunny day! The low is 40 and the high is 60 so make sure to dress appropriately! Bring layers and gloves. You can always leave them in a sag wagon, but we don't want you to be too cold that morning.

3. HOW TO GET THERE- Click on this link for directions & a map to Garrison Creek Park on the Natchez Trace. It is approximately 35 minutes from Nashville. -

4. REGISTER- If you have not yet registered please go to the this link ( and register online. All those registered get a free t-shirt, breakfast, lunch & lots of snacks along the way!

5. BRING YOUR SPONSORSHIPS & PLEDGES- It is not too late to win one of the FAMOUS AUNT ROBBIE CAKES! Anyone who raises $1,000 wins one! And other prizes for top fundraisers and creative fundraising will be give out as well!

We look forward to being with you all this weekend! Please call Catherine with any questions (615) 496-9737.


We love the Nashville Predators and their Charitable Giving Program!

Do you like hockey? Do you like Daystar? If so, you'll LOVE the Nashville Predators' Charitable Giving Program. Click HERE to check it out.

The program provides significantly discounted Predators' game tickets to friends of Daystar. The best part? A portion of ticket sales comes directly to Daystar to help us provide the services we love giving! Simply find Daystar Counseling Ministries beneath "Your Favorite Non-profit Organization" to help us out.

We feel so honored and grateful to be a recipient of the Predators' Foundation Grant, and we love watching and helping the team give back to our community!


Stop by our Bike Thing letter writing parties next week!

To start your Bike Thing fundraising off right, join us for a letter writing party at Daystar on either 9/24 or 9/26 from 4:00-7:00 P.M. 

Just bring a list of addresses for friends and family, and we'll help you craft and mail your letter.

We can't wait to see you there!


September 2013 Thank You!

"I have been waiting for this day all summer..."

This sentence was heard several times last week in our offices, along with sentences such as...

"I can't tell anyone else the things I tell y'all."

"Group is my safe place."

"At group, you never have to be afraid that someone will make fun of you."

"No one here is judgmental."

"You know that, no matter what, these people care about you."

And, thus, groups for the 2013-2014 school year have started. This fall, we have 24 counseling groups happening per week at Daystar. Currently, there are 1,307 families who are a part of our services. 30% of those families are on a sliding scale.

As always, we are more than privileged to offer a safe place to kids and to families in this yellow house.  We remain so grateful for those of you who helped us build it, who have helped us lay our new parking lot, and who continue to help us build a place for hurting kids and families to come.  And, in the words of these kids, not only to come, but to find safety, compassion, and hope.


The Daystar Staff


I came to Daystar because...

Watch here to see why kids come here and what Daystar has helped them find.

I came to Daystar video


The Bike Thing Begins!

The Bike Thing might be a couple of months away, but here at Daystar the training and fundraising efforts are already well underway! Don't believe us? Click HERE to see proof!

Ask us about how to get involved in The Bike Thing, and join us for this fun day on Saturday, October 26th at Garrison Creek!


Fall Groups Start Today (9/3)

We are excited to see you all this week for the first week of groups!



August 2013 Thank You!

"We're traveling through here.  This isn't home.  Don't get too cozy.  Live this life to the fullest but know that one day everything will be perfect.  Jesus will step in front of the Accuser.  But until then, be aware of God."  Melissa delivered these words of advice to 50+ campers, leaders and staff members on the first day of our last camp of the summer. 

Awareness.  It is defined as "vigilance in observing or alertness in drawing inferences from what one experiences."  Here at Daystar, we often talk of the "invisible audience," a psychological phenomenon that occurs around adolescence. Although in the case of the invisible audience, awareness can cripple a young person's self-confidence and freedom to be him or herself, the concept itself is crucial to growing in relationship with God and others.  To be self-aware is to be fully alive.  It is directly correlated to the Biblical principles of repentance and forgiveness.  For, in order to experience new life, we must come face to face with what Colossians 3 describes as our "filthy set of ill-fitting clothes," or, in simpler terms, our sin. 

We came back to this verse again and again throughout the last week of Camp Hopetown as we explored what it means to take off the old and put on the new...and discovered that it is only in relationship with Jesus that we can truly acquire this new set of clothing. During small groups at camp, campers had the opportunity to simply talk and, in the process of conversation, build a healthy awareness of themselves- their gifts, their sin and how both can impact others. They learned that everyone has a story, a story that is meant to be told.

It was a week of taking off and putting on, of pursuing Jesus and of traveling towards a greater awareness of who God has called us each to be.  As we traveled, Melissa asked different staff members to share something that we have come to know through their own journeys of digging and pursuing, something that we wished we had known as a 7th or 8th grader.  One intern said, "Be confident in the things that you like.  Don't try to fit a mold or give into peer pressure.  Don't ever try to hide who you are."

As a staff, we thank you for your continued support of this ministry.  It is because of your generosity, your prayers, your encouragement, that we have been able hear the stories of so many kids this summer- stories of pain, of loss but ultimately, because of Jesus- stories of hope.



Groups start next Tuesday, September 3rd! Can't wait to see everyone then!



TODAY is the last day to claim your LOST & FOUND items from camp! Tomorrow they will be donated!


July Thank You!

"No matter how young you are, you have purpose," Melissa said.
"And it will change you."

We had a lively group of 2nd-4th graders at Camp Hopetown last week.  Each morning, they woke up at around 6 a.m., sat in their bunk beds, reading, writing or drawing, ready to burst downstairs or outside the minute the clock read 7:30.  Some put on aprons and flipped pancakes for the group, others played games in the living room and some tried out the ball swing or made friendship bracelets on the picnic tables.  It would have been easy for such an enjoyable group of kids to play for 12 hours each day, never thinking about the people around them, never having purpose.  That would be "natural," as Melissa often says.  These kids, however, chose to give joyfully to one another. 


In Ephesians, Paul likens this process of running away from evil and towards good to a battle, in which soldiers hold up shields to deflect the flaming arrows of the enemy.  In small group, the campers shared their own battles with one another and wrote group battle cries that encouraged everyone never to give up in the midst of hardship.  One group chanted, "Give us peace!  Give us love!  Let us be!  Like a dove!"  Overall, the kids learned what it means to trust God in the midst of whatever battle they may be fighting. 

As a staff, we are honored to spend our summer arming kids with the love and kindness of Jesus Christ in a world that can sometimes feel like a battle.  We welcome your prayers as we continue to do so in these next few weeks and, as always, are so very thankful for your support.     



Camp Lost & Found is at the office! Come claim your lost belongings today because on August 12th we will donate it.

Thank you!


June Thank You!

"If I let you see me, and you don't like me, that's all I have. 

But if I don't let you see me and you don't like me, I'll be okay." 


These were the words Melissa spoke a few mornings ago at camp as she taught 28 high school kids about the weight of fear in our lives. To kick off the week, and the summer, we watched the movie Martian Child, which tells the story of a boy who finds it easier to hide in a box, pretending he belongs to a different world, than expose himself to the possibility of being loved...or hurt.  In an effort to identify our fears, we discussed our own boxes, or, in other words, the tactics we use to shield ourselves from feeling fear, insecurity, sadness, you name it.  "Putting others down," "being funny," and "not engaging in conversation" were just a few of the answers shared within a group of teenagers eager to honestly experience the world outside their boxes. 


And experience they did. Whether it was through tubing on the lake, cooking poppy seed chicken for Thanksgiving or singing away fourteen miles on a bicycle, each one dared to be truly seen, both by the people at Hopetown and by the Lord. The Message says,

"Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper.

Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time."

James 7:7-8

This past week, we witnessed a group of teenagers wake up each day and say yes to God through the way they loved on one another.  In response to their chorus of yeses, He indeed showed up and His spirit moved in a powerful way. Melissa used the Israelites as an example of a people who, amidst slavery, also believed in and cried out to God.  She spent the latter portion of the week in Exodus 2:24-25, which outlines God's response to the Israelites' obedience.  In addition to hearing their cries, the Lord also "remembered" His covenant with Abraham, "saw" what was happening with them and "understood."  Towards the end of the week, each child had the opportunity to publically whisper yes to a God who hears even the quietest of them and be reminded of one of these four truths about the Lord's response to an obedient heart. 

What a blessing it was to walk alongside such an incredible group of kids, each of who, by sharing the hope of Jesus Christ with each other, embody the mission of Daystar.  We welcome your prayers as we continue to say yes ourselves by loving on and encouraging the 160+ campers who will be coming through Hopetown this summer.  And as always, we are grateful for your generous support!


Path of Remembrance- Buy your stone today

Want to make a memory at Camp Hopetown that will last forever? 


A tax deductible donation of $250 will buy you a stone with your name (or a friend or family member's name) and the years you were a part of Camp Hopetown or a special message. 

Email if you are interested in donating and getting a stone. 


Follow Daystar on Instagram!

Find us Instagram and see (and like) what we are doing at camp & the office this summer! 




The Hopetown Deer

As many of you have heard, or seen on our Facebook page, last week at camp the Hopetown staff and campers rescued a little baby deer! The mother had abandoned him on the side of road. The staff and campers nursed the sweet little fawn back to health and spent a few days getting to watch it learn to walk, jump, play and follow everyone around camp. After researching the best place to take him, the staff found a Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitor in Murray, Kentucky close to camp and took the deer yesterday morning.

However, we are so very sad to tell you that the little fawn passed away yesterday afternoon. The rehabilitator said he had a genetic heart condition, which explains why the mother abandoned him and why he passed away so quickly after he seemd completely fine.

The past 5 days have been exciting for the staff and campers and certainly a learning experience. Thank you all for your interest & support as they nursed him back to health. We will certainly miss him at Hopetown, but thankful to know he is in Heaven with Molasses & Noel!


Dependent Parenting

Check out a new article written by Melissa...


David Thomas featured in The Tennessean & USA Today

Check out our Director of Boys' counseling quoted in two recent articles.


May 2013 Thank You!

Twenty years ago, I walked into the Daystar office for the first time, which was then housed in an office building in Green Hills next to the old Burger King, which is now the Well Coffee shop.  I had an interview that day with Melissa, who had roller bladed to work that particular day.

I was a student at Vanderbilt interviewing for a graduate internship placement.  I had heard that Larry Crabb, an author who was much of the reason I was pursuing a career in counseling, said that Melissa was the best adolescent counselor in the country.  I couldn't imagine what a privilege it would be to learn from such a wise woman.

During our interview, Melissa talked to me about Daystar's model of counseling.  She explained ideas such as "one life touching another," "soften, shape, strengthen," and told me about groups and camps (even before there was such a thing as Camp Hopetown).  The more she talked, the more teary I became.  I remember thinking, "I can't believe a place like this exists"...that encompassed all I had longed—actually—felt called to do and get to be in the lives of kids. 

Twenty years later, I'm still here.  Rumor has it that Melissa only took me on because I could play the guitar.  Whatever the reason, I'm beyond grateful.  It has been a privilege.  Every.  Single.  Day.  To sit with children, teenagers and learn from the tremendous counselors who have come before me and continue to work alongside me...and, of course, to get to be a part of this incredible vision that God gave such a wise woman named Melissa.

One of my favorite stories I tell at every parenting seminar is of a little girl who said "I don't go to Daystar for counseling.  I just go to talk about my problems."  I have my own version of her thought.  I don't go to Daystar to counsel...or to work.  I go to get to be a part of something so much bigger than me...a place where I thought maybe I could make a difference those twenty years ago.  But, a place, I have learned has made a much bigger difference in me.  I know Jesus and hope and God's constant redemption because of a counseling ministry called Daystar.  And, because of the continuous graciousness of folks like you.  Thank you for being a part of this ministry.  I am privileged to serve with you.

Sissy Goff and The Daystar Staff


An April Thank You!

"Do you think now that play practice is over you'd like to go back to group?"

"Yes."  Her answer was immediate.

"I can say anything to them and I'm not worried about what they're going to think."

"Honey, I think that's what is called a safe place."

A mom told us about this conversation she had with her high school daughter this week.  A safe place...that is at the heart of what we are about at Daystar, who we believe we are called to be.  A safe place for every child...every teenager...every family who walks through our doors.

Larry Crabb, in his book, The Safest Place on Earth, says "I believe that the Holy Spirit has graciously placed resources in every Christian that, when released from one person and received into another, can promote substantial healing and change."  At Daystar, our belief is that healing can come at the hands of a counselor, a high school senior, or even a second grader in a group counseling session with another who simply says, "I'm so sorry you're sad."

Healing and change.  It's what we're about in our yellow house.  And it's what you are continuing to help facilitate by giving to the ongoing work of Daystar.  Thank you for your commitment to our ministry.  Thank you for your belief in God's power children, teens, adults and dogs to bring healing to the hearts of hurting families.  They, and we, are deeply grateful.


A March Thank You

"I don't listen."

"I don't like myself."

"I'm too harsh."

The little girl who wrote these words on a piece of paper was in 2nd grade.  She felt like the "bad one" in her family.  She told her counselor that, whenever she got sad, she would go to her room just to think.

"What do you think about?"

"How bad I am."

"I want you to write out the kinds of thoughts you have when you're in your room on this piece of paper."

And these were the words she wrote.

"I don't listen."

"I don't like myself."

"I'm too harsh."

This little girl, as you already know, is not the "bad one" in her family.  She makes mistakes, as do we all.  She is in counseling because she gets so down and worries her mom when she does so.

After talking through her feelings for several minutes, the counselor leaned toward the little girl and in a quiet voice said, "Do you know who loves you more than you could ever imagine and thinks you're really wonderful all of the time?"

The little girl smiled really big and said, "You..."

Obviously, the counselor was not intending for the little girl to think it was her.  But, her response was a swift, "Absolutely."  And then she followed by telling her how very much Jesus loves her and delights in her and believes she is a great gift, to Him and to her family.

It is a tremendous honor to get to remind children and teenagers every day of how much Jesus loves them.  And how much we do, too, in the process.  We are so grateful for your care for these families, too, and your willingness to partner with us to offer love and hope to so many girls like this one.


A February Thank You!

Dear Daystar Friends,

I have the privilege to introduce myself and share with you my own Daystar story.  A story that began over 12 years ago on Sissy's couch in her counseling office and continues today as I have the honor to serve as the new Director of Development. 

My parents divorced 12 years ago when I was in 8th grade, and my mom quickly scheduled appointments for me and my sisters at Daystar- this is the first in a long list of things I will thank my mom for for the rest of my life.  I will never forget the first time we came to Daystar.  It was dark and cold outside and counseling was the last thing on our middle school & high school minds.  We went to the old Daystar offices in Green Hills and when we walked inside you could immediately feel the warmth.  It may not have been the adorable yellow house we have today, but it was the same smell of spice tea, sweet dogs and smiling faces that greeted us and put us at ease.  These are some of my favorite things about working here...the familiarity and tradition that make people feel like they are at home even years later. 

I have been in several different roles at Daystar.  I went from individual counseling to group counseling to camper to camp leader to volunteer to development.  But the role where I learned the most was in group counseling.  I was surrounded by incredible girls who came from different walks of life, and who opened my eyes to see things I had never seen before. They showed me pain, redemption, love, comfort, joy and most importantly gave me hope when my perfect world was falling apart.  It wasn't until I left Nashville for college that it actually hit me...not all cities have a Daystar! And I quickly realized how much I missed it and how easily I could take it for granted.

It is an honor to work here every day.  This unique place helps people in unique ways.  I had no idea when I started coming here in 2001 the journey God intended for me at Daystar would lead to this position, but I am extremely blessed and thankful for the relationships and challenges that come with it.  It is a privilege for me to help offer hope to our community... the same hope that was offered to me 12 years ago.

Thank you for your support and for allowing us to continue to offer hope to all of the families at Daystar, past, present & future.


Catherine Tuck


Daystar in NFocus Magazine!

Check out our spread on another wonderful Evening in December!


January 2013 Thank you!

"See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." 

Isaiah 43:19

Happy New Year from all of us at Daystar!  We are excited around our offices about groups getting started and Camp Hopetown applications getting underway.  We are grateful to be a ministry where we continue to get to watch God do new the lives of each and every family who walks through our doors.  It is his good purpose to make ways in deserts and streams in wastelands...and to offer hope.  Our prayer is that 2013 will be a year full of hope...for the over 1200 families involved in our ministry and for you.  We are grateful for your partnership and investment in our little yellow house.  Stop by some time and see us.  We'd love to see you and to show you the many new things we have the privilege to watch Him do at Daystar.



We hope you have enjoyed your days off school & work! All scheduled groups will still meet this afternoon and evening.

Looking forward to seeing you!


An Evening in December Thank You!

  1. A new star blazed forth where there had never been a star before, and the air was filled with the bright wings of angels, the night sky came alive with the glittering armies of God, and a great hymn of victory rose up from them—Glory to God in the highest."                                                                                                                           -Frederick Buechner

The darkness was shattered like glass...

A new star blazed forth...

"The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it." 

                                                                                    John 1:5 

Darkness does not overcome.  Ever.  But that is a hard truth to remember when your light has gone out, which is where each child...each family that walks through our doors has recently found themselves.  They may be wandering in the darkness of depression... loneliness... anxiety... grief...hopelessness.  But whatever darkness they are in, we can promise you it feels engulfing.

But the darkness does not overcome.

Through individual and group counseling, Camp Hopetown, and parenting classes, we seek to offer hope to hurting children and families.  We, at Daystar, get to be a reminder of light...of the living light that shatters all of our darkness like glass.  He is the reason Daystar exists...and the reason we celebrate this Christmas season, this Evening in December with you. 

Thank you for being a reminder, too.  Thank you for helping to restore hope to children and families throughout our community.  We are honored to stand with you in the light.


Written by a former Daystar kid

It's good to be home. That's what I keep thinking as I prepare to ride in my third Bike Thing in eighteen years. That, and I hope this one doesn't end in me laying on the ground refusing to go on a mere mile or two from the finish line.

Daystar and I have been supporting each other for eighteen years. I wouldn't have imagined at thirteen years old that this place would become a beacon light through the decades of my life. I came to Daystar as a child needing a place to be honest about pains and disappointments and what I found was a group of people who would usher me into and through my tormented teens, ease me into young adulthood and celebrate with me through graduations, career choices and marriage.

My husband and I left Nashville for several years after we were married to pursue our careers and just last year returned home. One of the most amazing things about being back is being surrounded by people who really know me. Not the version of myself I've been fine-tuning for most of my life, but the raw, unedited version. Not the charming, polished, perfect me, but the stubborn, joyful, confused me.

And now into the next era of my life, I'll be a mother in a couple short months. Some nights I lie in bed and all I can pray is, Dear God, PLEASE do not let me ruin this kid's life. How am I going to give my child what she needs while still juggling marriage, career, friendships, health and home? Surely I am going to fail. Surely I am going to be exposed for the fraud that I am.

Daystar didn't fix me; it did something so much greater. Daystar put people in my life who know me and somehow still love and support me relentlessly. As it turns out, I still need Daystar. I still need to be reminded that I am going to fail, and that it's ok because I know who I am and I know my worth. Perfection is not going to bring me happiness. Love will. Giving will. Watching my child grow into her own will. And when my child realizes that I've been faking it and that I really have no idea what I'm doing, I know where she will be...Daystar's first toddlers group. For the peace this brings me, I am eternally grateful.

I am just one of thousands of kids for whom Daystar has been a beacon light of truth, hope and love, and on behalf of all of us, I thank you for your support. I live and love better because of this place. It's good to be home.

With hope,

A Daystar Lifer



If you are signing your child up for camp, please print off a health form and return it with you camp appication. Health forms can be downloaded on the Camp Hopetown page below.



GROUPS- Tuesday, January 15th

Due to weather, groups have been cancelled again tonight. Please be careful driving home!



Due to weather, groups starting after 4:00pm will not meet today!

Groups starting at 4:00 or 4:15 will still be meeting. 

Thank you!


Evening in December- Tickets on Sale!

Reserve your tickets today! Only a few left...

Call the office at 615.298.5353 or email


The Bike Thing 2012

Sign up for The Bike Thing and help Daystar keep rolling through the fall! Sign up and ask your family & friends to sponsor you today!

What to see what The Bike Thing is all about? Watch here:

To register go to




August Thank You

"The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning.
It's time to sing your song again.
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes.
Bless the Lord, oh, my soul, oh my soul, worship his holy name,
Sing like never before, Oh my soul, I'll worship his holy name.

You're rich in love and you're slow to anger
Your name is great and your heart is kind.
For all your goodness I will keep on singing;
10,000 reasons for my heart to find."

These words echoed through the halls and over the hills of Hopetown for the past three months.  It was a song we sang almost every night—with 179 children grades two through 12.  It was a rich, rich summer.  God moved in ways we never would have expected in the lives of these children.  He met them—he met us with all of his goodness to offer healing and hope.  And we recently received this reminder from a parent of one of the campers...

"We've been a part of the Daystar family for the past 3 years. While we have moved away I know that the teachings and the foundation that my daughter received will forever live in her heart. Thanks for teaching her the love of worship...thanks for teaching her the assurance and goodness found in all that God created her to be...thanks for giving her a strong voice. Just wanted to say thanks...we will miss you this school year but will sing 10,000 Blessings for all that you do!"

We stand with this parent in her gratitude, for you.  Thank you for your investment in our summer.  Thank you for your prayers and help to sponsor the children who were a part of Hopetown.  As we close our summer, we count you as one of our 10,000 reasons.


Save the Dates!

Hope you will join us this fall for our exciting events! More details to come soon.



Swing by the Daystar house today or tomorrow to pick up your missing belongings from Camp Hopetown. Tomorrow afternoon we are taking it to Goodwill!

Thank you!


July 2012 Thank You!

"Stay on your wall."  These are the words that Murray State University's College Basketball Coach Steve Prohm used to spur his team on as they entered the NCAA tournament with the best record in the nation.  He was quoting Nehemiah.  Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king.  When he learned that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down, he asked permission to return home to rebuild the walls.  He had a purpose.  As he and a group of other men were working on the walls, people continually tried to distract them.  Nehemiah's response was, "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down."  Nehemiah was driven by a passion for Jerusalem and the temple that held him to his purpose.

Melissa, at our 9th-10th grade camp, quoted Coach Prohm and Nehemiah.  She led the kids in a discussion about their purposes.  Each child, over the course of the week, painted his or her purpose on a brick.  Those purposes included "Be Brave," "Stand Up For My Faith," "Be friends with the friendless," and "Stay strong for God."  And then each child stood on their wall, to live out that purpose.

The 9th-10th grade campers pulled together to support each other, to cheer each other on during a fourteen mile bike ride, to help each other make a Thanksgiving feast, and to give thoughtfully to each other on Christmas.  We challenged them frequently to rise to their purpose.  And rise they did.


We have rarely seen a group of teenagers act with such courage and selflessness.  As one boy who demonstrated considerable bravery said, "You all help me to have courage.  Don't you wish everyone had a Hopetown."

Thank you for your support of this place.  God is using Hopetown in the lives of many kids.  We ask for your continued prayers for safety and for God's purposes to be fulfilled as we move into our camps with the younger ages.  We are honored to be standing on the wall with you.


FOR SALE: Hopetown 2012 T-shirts!

We have these awesome green t-shirts in our office for YOU to buy today! Stop in and find your size.

Only $15.00!!


June Thank you!

As graduations are bringing the high school experience to a close for many of our friends at Daystar, we wanted to share a letter with you.

"I cannot believe that this is my last group.  Looking back 3 years to my very first groups, I can't help but laugh a little.  I was so shy, insecure, unsure of how to share my hurt, fears and struggles, and I would burst into tears every time I shared my story.

Now, I am learning how to see myself as God sees me:  a courageous and loved daughter of His.  I have a confidence thriving in me now that I would have thought would never have been possible.  Your gentle, patient, and caring heart, words and counseling have made me grow into the girl I am today.  You have loved me through my ups and downs and have taught me to rely on Jesus through every step of my high school years.  I long to be the helper, encourager and role model to younger kids that you are to me."

We are so grateful to get to walk with girls, boys, and families for what Melissa calls "the long haul".  Our commitment is to be here for as long as kids and families need, in whatever capacity they need us.  With Daystar founded on the belief that "one life touches another," it is so often our lives, as a staff, that are touched by the lives and stories that walk through our door.  We are blessed.  And humbled.  And honored to be in ministry with you.  We hope and pray that every child at Daystar could see themselves as God sees them.  And we pray the same for you.



May Thank You!

This letter written hangs on Melissa's door.  All of our doors and offices have something like it...notes or drawings or even scribbles by the hand of a child or teenager.  Each letter or drawing means that the particular child who wrote or drew it wants to leave his mark on this place.  And each one reminds us of what Daystar is about.  We are here to offer hope—to kids and to families—and maybe bring a little fun and happiness, while we're at it.  Thank you for sharing in that mission with us.  We think you're a(we)some.



Last Volunteer Time- TOMORROW MORNING!

Tomorrow morning, May 17th from 10:00-12:00 will be our last volunteer time for this school year. We hope you will join us for some coffee, muffins and a time to visit while we get ready for our summer!


Possible May Art Class

There has been a lot of interest in Mimi Heldman doing another art class for the month of May. If enough people sign up she will do it the first 3 Wednesdays from 6:00-9:00pm at The Daystar House.

The dates would be:
Wednesday, May 2nd
Wednesday, May 9th
Wednesday, May 16th

$165- includes all of your supplies, dinner & Mimi's wonderful teaching!

If you are interested please conatact Mimi right away at 615.351.2314 or




We hope you will all join us for our Spring Soup Night TONIGHT! Each counselor will be sharing why they decided to go into counseling.

We will have BBQ & some special desserts, so bring the whole family and join us!


April Thank You!

"Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners:  Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen."                                                                                          The Book of Common Prayer 

The swift and varied changes of the world.  Every family, every child that walks through our doors knows those all too well.  A father who lost his wife and the mother of his two daughters to ovarian cancer.  A 4th grade boy whose anxiety is so significant he can't make it through a school day.  A 7th grade girl whose "friends" place the trash from their lunches on her tray, telling her that is what they believe she's worth.  Swift and varied situations, in people, and in a world that is all too accustomed to darkness.

But our hearts can be fixed where true joys are found.  We are called to be an Easter people—and Daystar is called to be an Easter ministry.  We have the great honor of proclaiming the good these families and over 1000 more who are a part of Daystar today.

Thank you for partnering with us.  Thank you for standing with us to share hope to children, teenagers and families.  Thank you for joining us as we celebrate Easter...this day and every day as we walk alongside families.


March Thank You!

So don't lose a minute in building on what you've been given, 
complementing your basic faith with 
good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love,
each dimension fitting into and developing the others.
With these qualities active and growing in your lives,
no grass will grow under your feet,
no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our
Master Jesus.
Without these qualities you can't see what's right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books. 

2 Peter 1:5-9. The Message

 February 2012 marked the beginning of our Growing Fund, as so many of you are graciously aware.  God has given us the tremendous opportunity to grow.  With more than 1000 families now involved in Daystar we need to accommodate the work he has called us to:  with more space and more facilities.  And you have been a generous part of that growth.

Thank you for sharing your generous love, warm friendliness, good character and all of the dimensions God is growing in you with us.  You have blessed many, many families who are in need.  As one girl recently said, "I haven't felt like anyone has seen me...really seen me in years till I came to Daystar." 

You have seen us...seen our need...and felt a stirring from God to give. 

We are grateful—and humbled by your partnership. 


The Princess Knight

Friday, March 30, 2012
The Hutton Hotel

An elegant evening for fathers & daughters in 6th-8th grade to learn about local children's charities and how a magical evening can make a significant difference.

Daystar is one of the beneficiaries of this wonderful evening! 


Prudential Spirit of Community Award


WAY TO GO HANNAH HUTH! Hannah has been such a cheerleader for Daystar the past few years. Her business Looking Ahead 4 Kids benefits Daystar and we are so grateful! 
The Prudential Spirit of the Community Award honors middle school & high school students for outstanding volunteer service in their communities. We think Hannah is very deserving of this honor!

Daystar is so proud of Hannah Huth....

Hannah has been such a cheerleader for Daystar the past few years. Her business Looking Ahead 4 Kids benefits Daystar and we are so grateful! 

The Prudential Spirit of the Community Award honors middle school & high school students for outstanding volunteer service in their communities. We think Hannah is very deserving of this honor! She is one of only 2 high schoolers who received this award and will be honored in Washington D.C. this summer!





Hope you enjoyed your days off school and we look forward to being with you tonight!


February Thank you!

"I feel like Daystar is a place for me to come as I am and be filled with love and support. I can be in the midst of the deepest struggle, at my worst, and be accepted into understanding arms of compassion. Daystar has allowed me to grow into the best person I can be."

Riding back in the van from a weekend at Hopetown, a group of high school girls started talking about what Daystar means to them.  We wanted to share their thoughts with you:

 "I love how safe it is."

"It always feels like home."

"People greet you like they haven't seen you in three months."

"No one is judged and no one is judgmental."

 "Everyone makes you feel like you are one big family."

"Daystar is a constant thing in my life that no matter what goes on they will always be there."

"At Daystar I can say anything on my heart."

 "Since I've been at Daystar, I've learned better...

"how to love,"

"to be a great friend,"

"to respect others,"

"to ask good questions,"

"to be myself,"

"to respond to others,"

"how to trust."

"I have learned how to begin my journey with Christ."

 Thank you for pouring into the lives of these high school girls and over 900 other children, teenagers and families in our community.  Your support has and continues to make a difference.


January Thank You

See, I am doing a new thing! ?   

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness wasteland. ??   

and streams in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19

Happy New Year from the Daystar house to yours!  This verse brims over with hope and reminds us of the newness of God's mercies...every year, every month, every day.  He is doing a new thing.  He is doing a new thing in the life of each child, each teen, each parent who walks through our doors.  We have the privilege of sharing that hope with them.

He is also doing a new thing at Daystar.  We are pleased to announce the addition of an art therapist to our staff, Eden Walker.  Eden is from Mobile, AL and went to the University of Georgia.  She went on to get her MPS (Master's of Professional Studies) in Art Therapy and Creative Development from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.  She will be seeing clients individually and visiting all of our groups throughout the year to lead therapeutic art projects.  We're really excited for her to join the Daystar staff!

And, as always, we are grateful for you.  We are grateful for your belief in the ongoing work and mission of Daystar.  We are grateful that you stand with us in encouraging parents, in offering families hope, and in being reminders that our great God is doing a new thing in each of their (and our) lives.



We look forward to seeing everyone.


Group start back this week!!

We are looking forward to seeing everyone at groups this week. 

NEXT MONDAY, January 16th is MLK Day and there will be NO groups. 


December Thank You

Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise!
Triumph o'er the shades of night
Dayspring from on high, be near;
Daystar in my heart appear.
Dark and cheerless is the morn
Were it ever without thee;
Joyless is the day's return,
Till thy mercy's beams I see,
Till they inward light impart,
Glad my eyes, and warm my heart.
                        -from the hymn, Christ, whose Glory Fills the Skies, by Charles Wesley 

As the words of this song so poignantly communicate, many families today are living in the midst of a dark and cheerless morn.  The ministry of Daystar Counseling Ministries is to provide hope to those families. provide hope to the boy who is relentlessly bullied at his school. provide hope to the mom whose husband, and whose children's dad has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor. provide hope to the teenage girl who seems to have lost interest in everything she used to care about. provide hope to the dad who wants his help his children learn to make different choices than he has lived out in the past. 

Our purpose is to help glad the eyes and warm the hearts of these families and over 900 like them in the middle Tennessee community that are currently a part of Daystar.  We are honored to stand with you in that purpose. 

This Christmas season is a time for us to get to reflect on this purpose, on our hope.  It is a time to join with folks like you who mean so much to us and to honor The Daystar, to celebrate His appearing in all of our lives.


November Thank You


 "I get so mad at myself when I don't say the right thing to people.  I'm afraid they might not like me for who I am, so at least I need to be able to say something smart, or funny.  Then I might have a chance."


"I think I'm hardest on myself about the way I look.  Sometimes, I stand in front of the mirror and just pick out all of the things I don't like about myself."


"I get really mad at myself about my grades...probably madder than my parents do.  I just can't let it go if I get below a certain grade."


This very conversation took place in a group counseling session for high school girls just this week.  They talked about areas in which they got most frustrated about themselves.  As each girl talked (or almost each girl), the others in the room would nod their heads vigorously and say "same." 

How many of us didn't grow up in places where we had opportunities to experience this kind of "sameness"?  We thought we were the only ones who didn't like the way we looked or acted, who lived in a family that struggled, who struggled ourselves. 

One of the main reasons Daystar exists is to give children and teens an opportunity to say "same," to realize that, whatever they are going through or feeling, they are not alone.  And that, is enough, many times to give those kids—those teenagers hope.

Thank you for being such an important part of our ministry.  Thanks for being in it with us.  We're honored to be able to say "same" right back to you.


October Thank You

Someone once said to me, "If you are not in the middle of a storm, get ready, it's coming!"

Little did I know at the time that a fierce storm was going to radically change my world and that of my young family. And so it was that one day I woke up from within the "Once upon a time" fairytale life that I had always known, and the wind was blowing and the clouds deep within my soul had truly burst forth. Before I knew it I was standing in the midst of my very own storm.

One of the truths about a parent being drenched and thrown around by the storms of life is that the entire family is buffeted also. Through no fault of their own, children experience the turbulence as well.

And should your child find themselves in their own storm, as parents we often voluntarily dive into the eye of the storm, bound and determined to make everything all right.

But sometimes we just can't. Sometimes there is nothing we can do to make everything better. Sometimes we need help.

Daystar has fought through many storms for many families, such as mine. The staff have stood with our children. They have held umbrellas when they needed and at other times, just stood side by side with our children, soaked in the emotion of the downpour, every step of the way, unpicking the intricate story of every individual soul.

The staff of Daystar know that a "Once upon a time" fairytale life teaches nothing of facing the harsh winds of life. Instead, they equip our children to touch their pain, open their hearts, to trust, and learn to dance in the rain.

As a parent I am blessed beyond words by your support of Daystar. Your kindness has already changed my children and many other children's lives. The impact of your gift and generosity can never be measured by man. Thank you.


Raising Boys & Girls

Daystar is proud to introduce Melissa, David & Sissy's brand new parenting curriculum! You can order your DVD and book at

This 6 session curriculum helps adults understand the differences in girls and boys and learn to use tools that will help them communicate, understand, and connect with kids of all ages. Parents, grandparents, church volunteers, and other caregivers of children from preschool to high school can learn to recognize that being a positive adult example for their boys and girls is one of the most important jobs they have. It's a great resource for: Sunday School classes, parenting classes at church or as a community outreach, and teacher training at church.


Trust Based Relational Intervention

Thanks to the help of ShowHope Ministry in Franklin, TN, two of Daystar's counselors attended a week-long seminar on Trust Based Relational Intervention at Texas Christian University. They are now TRBI certified and better equipped to help families of adoption and other clients.

Check out the link below for more information on TBRI.


September Thank you!

"When the road starts to turn around each bend, I've learned You are good, so good.
And when somebody's hand holds me up, helps me stand,You are good, so good.
With every breath I take in, I'll tell you I'm grateful again.
Cause it's more than enough just to know I am loved and You're good.
When it's dark and it's cold and I can't feel my soul, You are still good.
When the world has gone gray and the rain's here to stay, You are still good.
With every breath I take in, I'll tell you I'm grateful again.
And the storm may swell.  Even then, it is well, and You're good."

Facebook says a lot.  At least, it says a lot about the thoughts and feelings of the adolescents that are constantly "inbox-ing" and updating their statuses.  After our summer camp was over this year at Daystar, there was one status that seemed to be catching on the facebook statuses of the kids who had just left 9th-10th grade camp.

"And when somebody's hand holds me up, helps me stand, You are good, so good."

The words are from an unlikely worship song, actually from a lullaby album that quickly became the theme of our summer at Camp Hopetown.  It's also a theme of daily life at Daystar Counseling Ministries.

"When it's dark and it's cold and I can't feel my soul...
When the world has gone gray and the rain's here to stay...
And the storm may swell..."

all describe the emotions and experiences that lead families through the doors of our yellow house at Daystar.

Their 7 year-old daughter is so anxious about leaving her mom she cries all the way to school every day.

Their 15 year-old son has lost interest in the things he used to love, including, it seems, his own family.

They don't know how to tell their children they are getting a divorce.

He doesn't know how to tell his kids he has cancer.

"The world has gone grey and the rain's here to stay," or so it very convincingly seems.

We say often at Daystar that we have the privilege of walking alongside hurting families.  We GET to be the hand that holds these parents and children up, and helps them stand.  Through individual counseling, groups and parenting seminars during the school year, our mission is to provide hope.  It is to remind six to sixty-five year-olds that, in the midst of their struggles, God is still good.  He wants good for them.  They can get through whatever pain they are living with today.  It will pass.  He will pass them through it.  They are not alone and we are committed to and have the privilege of walking alongside them for as long as it takes. 

"And the storm may swell.  Even then, it is well, and You are good." 

Thank you for being a part of our ministry.  We are honored for you to walk alongside us.


The Daystar Staff 

"You Are Good," words and music by Clint Lagerberg and Nichole Nordeman



August Thank you!

Thank you for your gift to Daystar this month. To show you first hand how you have contributed to the lives of campers at Hopetown this summer, we wanted to share with you a letter from a mom whose three daughters attended camp...

I have to tell you how much my girls loved camp. Tonight as we were sitting around the dinner table, I was giddy hearing the stories about camp. The girls compared counselor stories, banana boat stories, cooking stories, etc. We were all cracking up at one of my daughters as she was telling us about dancing and tubing. What great memories!

This is what I heard at the beginning of the summer, "I don't want to go to that stupid camp, it's for weird people for goodness sake!" Before camp we were REALLY struggling in our home. Name calling, disrespect, MEAN girl stuff BIG time. I wasn't handling it well and was really discouraged. My husband wasn't handling it well, and I was really discouraged. Somewhere along the way I started acting like a middle school girl right along with my daughters. Things were out of control and neither my husband nor I knew what to do. I was just thankful I was getting three weeks out of my summer with two instead of three hormonal adolescents!

Bottom line? We have seen change. My oldest came home and said she was changed. I honestly thought she would come off that mountaintop and things will be back to crazy soon. But guess what? She has changed. Yes, we still have issues, but her heart has softened a gazillion. It has encouraged me to change. Things are calmer around our home and I am SO very thankful. Her post-camp quote? "I wanna go back every year until I can't go anymore. Then I wanna be a counselor. Oh, and I wanna join a group, k?" Wow. Big change!

My youngest, my anxious, quiet giggler, shared with me what she "threw" in the lake (an activity where the campers wrote on a rock the things they worried about the most and then symbolically tossed them in the lake). My oldest shared with me that she hasn't ever felt so accepted. I haven't seen my girls show affection for each other in a long time. This afternoon when my final camper came home, there were screams and hugs. Chills.

Thank you all for loving them well. Thank you for investing in them. Thank you for being voices in their hearts and minds that tell them they are wonderfully made. Thank you for helping them take off their clothes of shame and become new creations. We are in a process, but I have hope. That is refreshing. Thank you.

Filled up. Thanks a bunch.

With love,
A Grateful Mom




"Then I looked, and, oh! - a door open into Heaven. The trumpet-voice, the first voice in my vision, called out, "Ascend and enter. I'll show you what happens next." Revelation 4:1 (The Message).  With this verse in mind, thirty 9th and 10th graders walked down Camp Hopetown's stone pathway towards the edge of the lake and, one by one, grabbed an intern and a spot under the starlit sky. 

As is typical, Melissa gave no instructions for what to do once they were settled except to imagine an open door amidst the millions of tiny stars illuminating the dark night.  It was a powerful scene to look around and see campers, interns, and staff admiring God's creation and imagining the ways in which He has personally opened His door to each of us. 

Doors, windows, and rooms- all were a recurring theme throughout the week.  Melissa likened a house and all of the different rooms in it to each of us.  She asked us all what rooms we let God into and which ones we keep padlocked for our own protection.  The answers were well thought out and varied.  In small group one morning, one girl said she is very open to letting God roam around her kitchen and living room and study but is hesitant to let Him into her bedroom because it is in this room where she is most herself.  When I asked her about this further, she said that it all boils down to trust. 

Frederick Buechner said it best when he spoke of trusting one another.  "I not only have my secrets, I am my secrets. And you are yours. Our secrets are human secrets, and our trusting each other enough to share them with each other has much to do with the secret of what it means to be human."  It was an honor to share "secrets" with such an amazing group of kids and, in doing so, to be reminded of the redemptive nature of a God who never stops knocking.


The Daystar Staff 


We Need Your Help!

We need your help!

Daystar has been added to a mix of non-profits that are being voted on...and the ministry with the most votes receives a grant for $50,000, second place gets $20,000, and third place gets $10,000.

It's super easy and requires no registration.
1. Go to this link...
2. Click on the green button that says "pick a ministry & vote"
3. Scroll down till you see the Daystar logo and click on our picture.
4. Then click on the green button "vote".

Please tell all your family and friends!



June Thank You Letter

"Let's Go!" was the phrase that kicked off our week, because as Melissa said, we had somewhere to move, and each of us got to choose if we wanted to hop on board. We sat the first night under a starry sky and watched as Simon Burch modeled what it means to be willing to hop on board and trust God's plan for his life. So often we want to demand that life work. But it doesn't...not the way we think it should, at least. And in the midst, "the only person I can control is me" and "my attitude is a choice." What a freedom those truths brought Simon Burch! And as Acts 2:46-47 teaches, we will experience freedom most when we come together. So, "Let's go!"

"Let's go" led to a lot of fun things: to the lake, to the swings, to dancing in the rain and to riding bikes. And "let's go" led to some special times when we were gathered together to worship, share and learn. Using the Apple Maps application as a model, Melissa asked, "Okay, where do you want to go?" First, what is your destination? The high-school kids spent some time reflecting, and started to share their own personal destinations: "Forgiveness," "Understanding," "Peace," "Wisdom," "Freedom..."

Once you pick a destination, the Maps app asks you, "Do you want to use your current location?" We need to know where we are before we try and get where we are going. It's one of the first questions God asks Adam in the garden: Where are you? Even though He knows the answer, he still asks us where we are because He wants us to talk to Him about it! He wants us to be authentic! And talk about an authentic group of kids! We were blessed with a group of girls and guys who were ready and willing to talk aloud about where they were, to ask questions, and to respond and encourage one another in profound ways. One boy's eyes swelled with tears after several kids responded to what he shared, and when asked what he was thinking, he said, "I just feel so cared for."

Once the destination and current location are entered in, the final question is "How do you want to travel?" By bus, by car, by foot? Jesus used a similar phrase as "let's go" throughout the gospels: "Come," he said in John 7. "Are you thirsty? Come to me and drink!" Melissa said no matter how strong or ready we are, we won't be able to get to our destinations by ourselves. But Jesus didn't leave us alone: He left us the Holy Spirit. That's what we travel by - that's how we get where we want to go.

Indeed the Holy Spirit moved throughout the week. There were plenty of adventures, lots of laughter, lots of honest pain and shared stories, and finally, a group of really neat kids who were coming together to proclaim the one thing they knew was true: that God was good...and that they wanted to go wherever He was taking them. One camper said it best, when after sharing about tremendous loss in her life, she said, "I know God will use this to help me help other people. And I want my faith to be firm in that." In a collective voice they read aloud the words on a poster in the living room, "The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ - eternal and glorious plans they are! - will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does!"

So with the Holy Spirit in action, and a special summer kicked into gear, we are so very thankful to have you on board, saying with us "Let's go!" And we covet your prayers as how to continue to move toward what it looks like to let go and allow God to continue to move in and through the 172 kids who will be a part of Camp Hopetown this summer.


The Daystar Staff 


May Thank You!!

           Last summer, the gathering place for camp was the rope swing in the middle of the yard.  Any time we had free time, a line of kids could be found standing, waiting for their chance to ride the swing.  It didn't matter if they were in 2nd grade or 12th.  They loved it, and took any chance to grab ahold of that rope, run, and swing out with a sense of wild and free abandon...

            As is typical of Melissa, she used what the kids loved over the summer as a teaching metaphor.  She talked about what it looks like to trust God...and that how, in the midst of our fears and struggles, we can grab ahold of him and swing out with our own sense of abandon.

            So, one by one that night, the kids again lined up.  This time, they were in their pjs and slippers.  They climbed up on the swing and prayed with a counselor that they would learn what it means to trust God with their hearts, with their hopes, and with their lives.  And then that counselor pushed with all of their might.

            The children and families who come to Daystar Counseling Ministries are feeling anything but a sense of wild and free abandon.  They are hurting.  Afraid.  Angry.  Confused.  Something in their lives has brought them to a place where they feel hopeless and need help.

            Whether in individual counseling, groups or at Camp Hopetown, our primary mission is to restore hope for these kids and families.  As we say often, we're just hear to walk alongside—through a family's divorce, grief, a child's loneliness, depression, anxiety, abuse—through whatever issue has left them feeling alone. 

            Hebrews 6:18-19 in the Message says, "We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab hold the promised hope with both hands and never let go.  It's an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God..."

            It is with this hope that we are free to love.  It is with this hope that we are free to offer parents and children of all ages a reminder that we serve a God who redeems every hurt.  He holds fast to us.  The rope holds, as Melissa said over and over last summer.  And so we are free to swing out and trust him with even more abandon, confident in his goodness and love for us. 


The Daystar Staff 


April Thank You!!

This time of year, we love to keep our windows open at the Daystar office.  Let the fresh air in, hear the sounds of kids playing in the swing outside. 

A few weeks ago, the window happened to be open when an 8 year-old girl and her mom walked out of the office from their very first counseling session at Daystar.  As they stepped out onto the front porch, the girl reached up and took her Mom's hand.  "You seem happy," commented her mom.  "I don't know why," she whispered loudly, "but I just can't stop smiling."

We see a lot of children and teenagers in our offices who feel just the opposite.  Parents say to us often, "I can't remember the last time she laughed," or "He worries all of the time."  The kids who walk through our doors are carrying heavy loads.  And, for parents, to watch your child live with that kind of heaviness makes yours all the heavier.

We are grateful to be in what a boy once called "the little yellow house that helps people."  This Easter marks our fourth year to be in this location.  (Many of the kids who come can't believe someone doesn't live here.)

God has blessed us tremendously in providing this house—this home to hurting kids and families.  We are humbled by God's presence in it.  We are privileged to share in its ministry with you.  And we are overwhelmed that God continues to meet children and families here—to restore smiles and to bring hope. 


The Daystar Staff 



For the past several years, Melissa has had our staff read something together.  Last year, we read a daily version of The Message, which is the version of the Bible we use most often at camp.  This year, we have just started 66 Love Letters, Larry Crabb's newest book. 

During our last staff meeting, we discussed different sections that had been particularly meaningful to each of us.  This was one that most of us agreed with:

"It's completely natural when something goes wrong, when you fail life or life fails you, to want to know what to do rather than how to think.  You scramble, you churn, you try to come up with some plan of action that will control the damage, relieve the discomfort, and restore some level of personal peace.

It's hard to set aside the panic, to move through the pain, to delay gratification, to live feeling empty, worthless, betrayed, and to ask, 'So what's the big picture here?  What kind of person do I want to be, for my kids, my friends, for me, for God, in the middle of this mess?  What values do I want to uphold?  What matters the most at any cost to me?  What is my life really all about right now, and what fire is still burning in me that can keep me moving toward something truly good?  What difference does the sure hope of heaven make right now on my attitudes, passions, and choices?'"

Those questions are the questions we want to help kids and parents ask and answer at Daystar.  We want to point them toward the sure hope of heaven...the hope that lies only at the heart of Jesus and, as Larry Crabb said, is spoken through the Bible. We also, as a staff, we want to be asking and answering those questions ourselves. 

We are so grateful, as always, to be in this journey with you.  Thank you for sharing hope with us—and the families that are a part of Daystar.

The Daystar Staff 


February THANK YOU!!

"We are part of a counseling ministry called Daystar.  Our office is housed in a little yellow house with a big front porch.  One seven year-old boy called it, "the little yellow house that helps people."  Our dogs, Lucy, the Havanese and Blueberry, the Old English Sheepdog (plus Dottie the yorkie-poo and now Owen the yellow lab) help us counsel the kids and families who come to Daystar.  Our offices house eight counselors and see more than two hundred kids per week between individual and group counseling.  We offer summer camps and parenting classes both in the community and beyond.  We believe in offering hope to families in any situation, and we believe in vintage values in this modern world.

Actually, we just like the whole idea of vintage in general.  On most days we have spiced tea brewing in our lobby.  There is a checkers table in one of the waiting rooms with typically two or three kids gathered around it.  At our camps the kids play chess, learn to water-ski (not just wakeboard), and help cook the meals.  We sing old-timey hymns along with worship choruses and talk about the rich meaning behind the words.  We even have Christmas at camp and take the kids to a town made up of one row of antique stores.  They have three dollars to buy a gift for the person whose name they drew.  The gifts are symbolic, like a boy who gave a counselor an old walking stick because he said she helped people stand who were struggling.  We like vintage and believe it brings out good in the lives of kids."

Are you ever asked just what exactly Daystar is?  We are...often.  Melissa and Sissy wrote this description in their newest book, Modern Parents, Vintage Values.  But, to put it very simply, we are a group of folks who have the privilege of walking with children and families as they discover hope.  And we couldn't do it without you.  Thank you for your important part of our vintage ministry.

We are so very grateful.

The Daystar Staff  


January THANK YOU!

Dear Friends

As this letter is being written, it is not really January 1st, 2011.  It's December 10, 2010.  It is smack in the middle of Advent, and I'm writing the January contributor's letter.  I have been sitting at my desk trying to decide if I should write it now or wait till...well, till January.

As a counseling ministry, we are walking this December through a lot of darkness with kids and families.  One teenage boy has a father that has now started drinking every day in the mornings, fighting off and on with his wife until he finally passes out around 7pm.  An elementary school girl just found out that her older sister has a terminal illness.  A middle schooler has been hospitalized three times in the past month for suicidal thoughts.  The darkness feels palpable this December.

But January is coming.  In Revelation 21:5, Jesus says "See, I am making all things new."

Ezekiel 36:26 says "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

Advent is all about living in the darkness in great anticipation of the light.  That light is coming.  Our mercies are new every January 1st, every month, and every morning in the kingdom of our Good God.  He brings light into our dark places.  He brings hope into the lives of over 800 families currently involved in Daystar who are waiting.  We are grateful to join you in serving him and bringing the hope of The Daystar into 2011.

Happy New Year,

The Daystar Staff 


December THANK YOU!

Dear Friends,
Into this silent night
           As we make our weary way
                    We know not where,
           Just when the night becomes its darkest
                    And we cannot see our path,
           Just then is when the angels rush in,
                    Their hands full of stars.
                              -Ann Weems, Kneeling in Bethlehem

Daystar Counseling Ministries is a place that exists between the Just when's and the Just then's.  Just when the night is darkest for children and families...just when your teenage daughter can't seem to pull herself out of her sadness...just when your middle school son has lost his last friend...just when the loss seems too much to bear for you and you have know idea how to help yourself, let alone your children.

In 1985, Melissa Trevathan started Daystar Counseling Ministries with a small group of kids and the motto "One life touching another."  That one life—those few lives have continued to touch others for 25 years and to the extent that our staff is now serving over 800 children and families in middle Tennessee. 

In both groups and individual counseling and through Camp Hopetown, we seek to come alongside children and families who, because of the pain and confusion they find themselves in, have lost their way.  2 Peter 1:19, the verse that Daystar was founded upon, calls us to be a light for each other  "until the day dawns and the Daystar rises in your hearts."  Until then, we are honored to share His light and His hope to the families who are a part of Daystar.  We are grateful that you are a vital part of our ministry this December and privileged to have you join us in celebration of His life that continues to touch ours in such powerful and gracious ways.


The Daystar Staff 


November Thank You!

Dear Friends,

Little did I know, some 15 years ago when my husband and I began supporting Daystar Counseling Ministries, that today I would be writing as a recipient of YOUR kind and generous giving to Daystar.  I am now a single mom of two teenage daughters and because of your generosity my daughters, along with many other sons and daughters, are getting the help they need to navigate through this time in their lives.

Whether the help children need comes in one-on-one counseling, a week at Hopetown, in a small group, or a combination of all three, your financial gifts and continued prayer support make it possible for the committed staff to do what God has so gifted them to do:  Help our children.

It is to our Good God I say "thank you" for giving YOU a heart for Daystar and the work that is taking place in the hearts of all children and families who walk through the doors of that amazing house!  Grace and Peace to you as we enter this season of Advent, may you be drawn closer to Him through your giving as my girls and I are through your generosity.

Under His Mercy,

A Daystar Mom



Just wanted to drop a quick note.  It's crazy that the summer is already half complete. I only have 5 more weeks up here, and y'all are about to start the little kids' camps.  I also wanted to say how much I miss being there and miss being part of something as special as Daystar. In the past 3 weeks, I've met over 1100 people, and some that were in truly bad situations. Its in times like these where I realize how blessed I've been and how blessed I am to be part of Daystar. It is truly a unique organization. The lessons I learned from being a camper, counselor, and intern are still lessons I hold true today like always being positive, being a constant encourager, and always looking at situations with a mindset of joy and thankfulness. I'm excited that there are many new campers who will have the chance to be impacted like I was by the amazing group of people there. I'm excited for the growth that will occur for all the kids this year. Its just amazing to see how things I learned at camp are skills I use even in my new job. Whenever I am ungrateful at my circumstances, I think of how blessed I am to still be in the daystar family. Miss you all, hope to see y'all when I get back in August to tell me how the summer went.

This letter is one that was sent recently over facebook from a former staff member.  It was not only an encouragement to us, but a reminder that God continues to use Daystar in ripples that touch the lives of more folks than we know.  We are so very grateful for your part in those ripples that have touched the lives of so many children and families.


The Daystar Staff  



Our first week at Camp Hopetown started off with Melissa teaching on the traveling psalms (or the Psalms of Ascent).  She talked about the difference between being a traveler and a tourist.  A traveler is one who engages in the journey.  A traveler participates, while a tourist observes.  With Psalms 120-134 as our guide, we spent the week learning more about what it means to connect...with where we are, who we are and a God that engages with us in the journey.  

The first line of the first Psalm of ascent is "I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me."  The distresses that came up for these kids involved eating disorders, parents separating this month, feeling hopelessness in relationships and just defeated in life.  But, every time a child shared where he or she was, another stepped in to offer hope.

It was a tremendous gift to sit with 29 high school students as they called on the Lord together and devoted their week to traveling with each other toward Christ.  And these kids did.  They loved each other, spoke truth to each other, and offered hope.  It was a privilege to watch and be a part of "one life touching another" walked out in such a beautiful way.

Thank you for joining us as we travel this road with these kids and families.  We are honored to share the journey with you.


The Daystar Staff 



October Thank You!

Dear Friends,

We were on the last 2 of the 20 mile Bike Thing on the Natchez Trace several years ago. A thirteen year-old girl and her dad were riding together. Her exhaustion was visible, not only in the pace of her pedaling, but in her weak facial expression, as well. As she hit the last hill of the ride, her father placed his hand on her back and rode the rest of the way with one hand on his handle bars and one hand pushing her along.

This image has stayed with all of us who saw it. It was a picture of so many things: what we want for the relationship between kids and their parents, the way God loves and supports us, and the reason that we have a Bike Thing in the first place-so that we, at Daystar Counseling Ministries, are given the tremendous honor of helping kids and families up whatever hills they are facing.

The Bike Thing this fall is on October 30. Your support means so much to the over 850 families that Daystar is currently serving. They are walking up hills of grief, loss, divorce, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and a long list of other tremendously painful situations. We count ourselves blessed to work and ride alongside you in The Bike Thing and in our ministry to hurting kids and families.


The Daystar Staff


Counseling for kids that were flood victims

We are offering counseling to kids that were flood victims at no cost. If you are interested, please call the office at 615-298-5353. 



"They remained his chosen people, clogged hearts and all, and he remained their Lord—not only the Lord of the sea but also the Lord of the land and of the whole creation—who kept climbing into their boats to be with them over and over again from that day forth forevermore, with heart enough to spare, oh, with heart enough for us all..."
Barbara Brown Taylor 

Our groups at Daystar are winding down for the summer this week.  In the next few weeks, the halls will become a little quieter.  Mary's phone will ring a little less.  A few less baskets will be made in the basketball goal in the driveway and a few less cups of popcorn will be created in our popcorn machine.

Summer is coming.  And, while we we're equipped with counselors who remain in our offices to meet with children and families throughout the summer, several of us change locations.  Rather than counseling on chairs and sofas, we talk with teenagers on pontoon boats.  We ride bikes beside 7th graders and cook pasta with 3rd graders.

Wherever our location in the next few months, we continue to have the great honor of living out the "one life touching another" that defines Daystar.  We continue to be under the provision and care of a God who walks alongside us and climbs into our boats.  And, with His grace, we will continue to offer his hope and heart to all of the children and families all of our locations.

Thank you for your support of our ministry.  We ask for your prayers for God's hope and protection in the upcoming summer months.  We're excited to see how God climbs in.


March Thank You Letter

It has been two years today since my daughter was diagnosed with a debilitating illness.  She is in a great, great place today.  Her physical healing has come from her medication.  But her heart healing has come from Daystar.  Thank you for all you have done to support her.  I thought I would share a poem she wrote with you.

With great love and greater respect,
A Daystar Mom 

I Am

I am a girl who believes in angels because I've been through tough times.
I wonder how we can make our world a better place.
I hear angels laughing in the distance.
I see myself walking out on stage in my Broadway show.
I want all children to get an education.
I am a girl who believes in angels because I've been through tough times. 

I pretend I am a famous actress.
I feel like I can do anything.
I touch my soft warm blanket at night.
I worry that I am not good enough for the world.
I cry at the sight of a hospital bed.
I am a girl who believes in angels because I've been through tough times. 

I understand feeling frustrated.
I say, every thing is okay in the end if it's not okay, it's not the end.
I dream I am a famous actress
I try to reach out and help my community.
I hope other people can someday see me as the nice girl not just the sick girl.
I am a girl who believes in angels because I've been through tough times. 

Thank you for all you have done to support this young girl, her mother and the 886 families that are currently involved in Daystar.  We are humbled by their words and your gracious support.



The Daystar Staff  


Daystar's summer expenses

Click on the following link if you would like to see exactly how your summer contribution will be used at Camp Hopetown.


Get a stone on our Hopetown Pathway

Dear Hopetown Friends, Family, and Past and Present Staff,

For years, campers and parents alike have asked how their child can leave his or her mark on Camp Hopetown.  That idea began to come to fruition last summer with a few that had words such as "be", "rock", and "refuge".   These are a personal reminder of the growth and commitments that campers made this summer.  We have decided, however, that we'd also like to have a much more visible way for past, present and incoming campers and staff to leave their mark, or name, at Hopetown.  We're continuing our summer camp theme by installing a permanent stone walkway down the steep hill toward the lake.

Many of you heard about this last fall in our mailer, but we wanted to give you another opportunity as we will be installing the path in March.  We would like to give you a chance to donate $250 for a commemorative stone.  Your child's name and time at Hopetown will, then, be engraved into a stone to be remembered by you and your well as many other's who will walk their own path at Hopetown.

If you are interested, please reply by March 15th.  Let us know how you would like your stone engraved:  name, years at Hopetown, if you were an intern that can be placed on it, as well.  Your camper will, in turn, receive a postcard telling them of your gift to remember their time at camp.  

You are also welcome to donate any amount in honor of a staff member or intern from the summer and they will receive a card letting them know of your kind gift.

We are grateful for you and your part in making Hopetown all that it is!

The Daystar Staff


February Update/Thank You

As a part of the Daystar family, we would guess you know a lot about what we offer in terms of groups and individual counseling and summer programs.  That information is in all of our brochures.  We also know you know who we are as a staff, all of the way from Melissa to Blueberry, in light of last month's letter.  But what we can imagine you might not know is exactly what goes on behind the doors of our counseling offices.  People who have been involved with Daystar for years will sometimes stop and say, "Now what exactly is it that you all do?" 

We can't tell you exactly because of confidentiality.  But what we can do is give you a little glimpse into the lives and behind the doors of our counseling offices on a typical day at Daystar.  Specifically, we're going to pick out one counselor's day—and the variety of families and kids whose lives he (and you) were able to touch in just that one day...

10:00am was when he arrived at the office.  His first appointment was with a ten year-old whose dad has just relapsed for the third time.  He hasn't heard from him in three months...over his birthday and Christmas.  As you can imagine, this little boy is working through feelings of terrible loss and betrayal.

At 11:00, he met with a father of two teenage boys who had lost his wife to breast cancer several years before.  The boys are fighting constantly, to the point that one is wanting to "move out" and the other stays in his room to avoid his brother.  The house is either silent or conflictually chaotic, and this father wanted help.

His 12:00 appointment was a fifteen year-old who feels caught between his parents still after a divorce two years ago.  He feels like "I'm the only adult in the situation."  Both parents speak horribly about the other, and he is now dealing with an eating disorder as a way, he believes, to control an uncontrollable situation.

1:00 brought in a nine year-old who has extreme separation anxiety after his parents' divorce and vacillates between wanting to stay glued to his mom's side to explosive anger directed toward her.

At 2:00, he saw a young man who is terribly shy and feels that he has no friends.  They worked on him taking risks at school by sitting with new kids at lunch and interacting on his basketball team.

3:00 was an eleven year-old who has been diagnosed with a debilitating disease and is desperate to feel like a "normal kid".

At 4:00, a seventeen year-old came in whose father has been discovered in his fourth affair.  He is working through his parents' separation and the way his dad's choices have affected his own feelings not only toward his dad but toward girls', as well.

And, then, at 5:00, he had group and dinner with six high school boys who are working through similar issues, but who do a phenomenal job of speaking truth into each other's lives.

One counselor, but indicative of so many of our days on staff at Daystar.  We all have the tremendous privilege of offering hope to each boy, girl, teenager, and parent who sits in our offices.  Thank you for your important part in that process. 


The Daystar Staff  


Thank You and Happy New Year

Happy New Year! God's grace continues to unfold to us at Daystar—in counseling, in groups, in parenting classes, just in the middle of our yellow house.  We are thankful for His provision for us. 

With a new year, we have some exciting new additions to our staff.  We wanted to update you as to who is filling our halls and meeting with the families that are now a part of Daystar Counseling Ministries.

Our Counseling Staff:

Melissa Trevathan, M.R.E., Executive Director, continues to lead us with her wisdom, counseling, teaching parenting classes, teaching at Camp Hopetown and driving our ship with grace and efficiency.

Sissy Goff, M.Ed., LPC-MHSP, Director of Child and Adolescent Counseling, leads girls' groups, counsels girls of all ages and families, teaches parenting classes, is the Director of Camp Hopetown and our staff writer.

David Thomas, M.S.S.W., Director of Men and Boys' Counseling, leads the men of Daystar with groups and individual counseling.  He also teaches a variety of parenting classes.

Jeremy Shapiro, M.Ed., M.A.P.C. leads many of our boys' groups and works with boys of all ages and their families.

David Denton, M.A., LPC-MHSP, counsels boys and young men individually, works with families and leads groups.

Heather Flener, M.F.T., counsels girls and their families on a part-time basis.

Heather James, M.Ed., is also a part-time counselor with young women and girls.

Chris Roberts, M.A.C.P., is one of our newest counselors on staff, working with guys both individually and in group counseling.  He will also be working at camp this summer.

Tracy Kouns, R.N., M.A.C.P., joined our staff this year leading many of our girls' groups,  counseling girls and their families, and will be a part of Camp Hopetown, as well.

Chelsea Lesniewski is a graduate intern from Lipscomb University who is counseling girls and helping facilitate several groups.

Tamara Price is a graduate intern from Argosy University who is helping lead groups and counseling girls individually.

Our Office Staff:

Pace Verner is our Director of Development and works diligently to plan our various fundraising and other events, as well as to keep us afloat financially.

Kathleen Goff, Assistant Director of Development is a jill of all trades helping raise funds, plan events, run Camp Hopetown and facilitate groups.

Emma Williams is our new Development Intern whom we are happy to have on board.

Mary Berndt is our welcoming office manager who graciously greets many of you who walk through our doors and helps keep the office buzzing (quietly).

Lynne Fleet is a part-time office manager and administrative assistant who keeps the office running smoothly and house functioning soundly.

Pat McCurdy is our administrative assistant who we won't allow to retire so she can continue to help us all stay on track and add her artistic touch to all we do.

Jonah, the Black Lab, adds wisdom to our pet therapy staff with his years of experience.

Lucy, the Havanese, helps counsel girls and keeps all of the other dogs minding their P's and Q's in the office.

Lolly, the Wheaten Terrier, keeps things happy and bouncing at her end of the office.

Blueberry Pancake, the Old English Sheepdog, is the official herder of our offices and our newest canine therapist.


We are blessed to work inside this little yellow house, talking to kids and families.  We are honored to be a part of His message of hope and grace.  And we are humbled by your gracious support.
 2 Corinthians 4, The Message



The Daystar Staff  


A Daily New Years Journey

Happy New Year! Every year for Christmas, Melissa gives our staff some creative gift to make us laugh, or warm us--sometimes physically (like down vests) or sometimes emotionally. This year was one of the latter--and one we wanted to share with you, because we thought some of you might be interested. Melissa bought us each The Daily Message, the translation by Eugene Peterson that we use the most at Camp Hopetown, broken down into daily readings with questions and comments by Peterson. Our staff is really excited to be reading through it this year and wanted to invite any of you to share the journey with us...


December Thank You

"Come, thou Long expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee;
Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart."
               Charles Wesley


Come, thou Long expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free;
From the pain of watching our children suffer and the struggles they bear, release us,
Let us all, but especially them, find their rest in thee.
You are my strength, my consolation, my hope...
Be their desire, infuse them with hope, and meet their pain with your great joy.  Amen.
 We are in a season of waiting...all of us.  And Daystar exists to wait with those who walk through the doors of our little yellow house.  We exist for the children who are struggling with anxiety, depression, the pain of loss, the loss of hope.  We exist for the weary parent who wants so desperately for their children to know rest from that pain and find some semblance of joy in the midst of it.
Daystar Counseling Ministries is meant to be a light shining in a dark place...simply, because of nights like this...specifically, because of one Christmas night when Jesus did come.  He came to set us all free.  We, at Daystar, know that hope.  We are profoundly privileged to walk alongside kids and families as they find it, and him.  And we are grateful for your partnership with us.
The Daystar Staff  


November Thank You Letter

   "Although everyone goes through hard times, it is not what they go through, but how they look at it, and even more valuable how they respond to it, that determines the outcome.  A situation that is stifling to one might become empowering to someone else.

   For instance, Bruce Wayne, better known as Batman, was merely ten years old when both of his parents were killed in a mugging.  Out of fear, he secluded himself from the outside world and only allowed Alfred, and later Robin, to truly befriend him.  Bruce created a hero identity as Batman in order to keep his promise to himself and help keep evil at bay.  He could be the hero, yet didn't have to be vulnerable in doing so.  He had allies, not friends.  Once Batman had done his good deed for the day, he returned to the Batcave and his distorted view of reality as Bruce Wayne.  Losing the two most important people in his life made this view of reality legitimate.  Bruce began fearing all relationships.  He might lose what he loved if he allowed himself to get too close.  This fear ended up handicapping him instead of being the protection he intended.  Unwilling to be vulnerable, Bruce missed out on much of life and certainly missed out on love.

  1. Shrek had begun to not only live life, but he also chose to share himself with others.

   Although these are fictional characters, I have found myself hiding in my own Batcave and not trusting the "Donkeys" in my own life.  The end of Christmas break my kindergarten year, my mom, my sister, and I were in a car accident.  My mom broke her neck, my sister was killed, and I cracked my skull and broke my collar bone.  I lost my sister, my best friend.  Instantaneously, my perfect little world fell into shambles.  I was terrified.  All of my security had disappeared at once.  At this point I had two choices:  I could live in a bubble the rest of my life, or I could allow myself to open up to people and continue to live.  The thought of allowing myself to really love the people around me and be vulnerable was about the scariest thought a five-year old could have after losing their absolute favorite person.  For many years I chose to live in a bubble.  I kept everyone just far enough away that if something happened to them—whether it be that they moved, we just weren't friends anymore, or they died—it wouldn't hurt so badly; but close enough that I had some security.  I lived like Batman for almost a decade.

   The beginning of ninth grade I became extremely depressed and totally dysfunctional to the point that my parents pulled me out of school and began homeschooling me.  The security and flexibility of homeschooling was a way for me to begin to emerge from my Batcave allowing the Donkeys around me to pour into my life.  I needed time and space to feel.  I began going to Daystar Counseling Ministries.  Through many hours of questions, tears, and gentle nudges, my counselor became "Donkey."  I didn't necessarily like counseling at the time; it was hard work.  It was painful.  Realizing that my counselor, Donkey, was going to stick with me until I took care of the past, I began tearing down the many barriers I had put up to keep people at arm's length.  Even my family and friends had not been allowed to see my heart.  With Donkey's help, not only has my heart emerged, but I have allowed others to be a real part of my world.

   The years following, becoming increasingly involved in Daystar Ministries both in counseling for myself and helping with younger groups and summer camps, I have remained vulnerable and my healing has continued.  The Daystar staff, Donkey, my peer group, and even the younger kids I mentor have been a huge blessing to me.  They have all, in different ways, helped me realize who I am and who I can become.  Using my own story as a spring board, I want to be able to connect with others on a deeper level.  By persevering and being vulnerable with my own pain, I hope to inspire others to step out of their Batcave, realize the gifts they have, and how they can use those gifts to change not only their own life, but the lives of others around them."

   These words made up an essay for a college application recently submitted by a senior at Daystar.  As you can tell, she is a courageous, thoughtful, tender-hearted young woman, whom we are all very blessed to know.  We are also blessed to have had her Donkey on staff with us these past years.  Julia Groos Anderson and her husband, Brian, have both been a vital, compassionate, Donkey-ish force on the Daystar staff.  They are moving to Texas this December and we will miss them terribly.  But we are grateful for the many lives they have loved and touched, and for the way your life entertwines with those lives, as well. 

Happy Thanksgiving and please know this holiday season that you are not only a blessing to us, but to many children and families at Daystar. 


The Daystar Staff


October Thank You Letter

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Lean not unto your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight and smooth."

                                                                        Proverbs 3:5-6


"We have a memory verse every week at school.  This is our verse of the week."


This from the lips of an 8 year-old little girl whose path is not so straight or smooth right now.  Her parents are in the midst of a very heated divorce.  She has witnessed her mother yell and scream at her dad on countless occasions.  She has watched her mother hit him many times.  She is 8 years old.  She loves her mother, and is terribly sad...and terribly confused.


"My mommy is sad.  She's not a bad mommy.  She's just sad and doesn't know what to do."


Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Lean not unto your understanding.  As she said these words, she sat up a little straighter and smiled.  In spite of the heartache, she has truth to hang on to.  And that is what Daystar is about...offering truth and hope in the mist of heartache. 


We are thankful to have a place for this girl and so many girls and boys like her to come, talk, and be reminded of truth.  And we are thankful for the hope and wisdom of Christ, in which we can all fully trust.  It is an honor to share this truth with them...and with you.


Thank you for your gracious support.


The Daystar Staff


Health Policy

Daystar Counseling Ministries asks that if your children have had flu-like symptoms or a fever, please keep them home until they are fever free - without any medication - for at least 24 hours.  Please call the 298-5353 if you have any questions or concerns.


Hopetown Path of Remembrance

Dear Hopetown Friends, Family, and Past and Present Staff,

For years, campers and parents alike have asked how their child can leave his or her mark on Camp Hopetown.  That idea began to come to fruition this summer with a few that had words such as "be", "rock", and "refuge".   These are a personal reminder of the growth and commitments that campers made this summer.  We have decided, however, that we'd also like to have a much more visible way for past and present campers and staff to leave their mark, or name, at Hopetown.  We're continuing our summer camp theme by installing a permanent stone walkway down the steep hill toward the lake.

We have currently raised $103,000 toward our goal of $140,000 for this summer. If you would like to leave your child's or your own (if you are a previous camper or staff member) mark on Hopetown AND help us finish out our summer fundraising, you can donate $250 for a commemorative stone.  Your child's name and time at Hopetown will, then, be engraved into a stone to be remembered by you and your well as many other's who will walk their own path at Hopetown.

If you are interested, please reply by September 30th.  Let us know how you would like your stone engraved:  name, years at Hopetown, if you were an intern that can be placed on it, as well.  Your camper will, in turn, receive a postcard telling them of your gift to remember their time at camp.  

You are also welcome to donate any amount in honor of a staff member or intern from the summer and they will receive a card letting them know of your kind gift.

We are grateful for you and your part in making Hopetown all that it is!


September Thank You Letter

Dear Daystar Supporter,

For many years, Melissa has referred to the staff of Daystar as a "scraggly group."  We come from different places...different family backgrounds...different denominations...and different training experiences as counselors.  But, we have three primary things in common:

1)We all believe that Jesus is not only the Son of God, but the source of ultimate hope and healing for the children and families who come to Daystar.

2)We all feel called to this counseling ministry in a little yellow house.

3)We are all walking alongside kids and families on feet of clay.  We fail.  We fail often.  And we are well aware of it.  But we join with the families of Daystar in knowing that Jesus provides our hope and that he offers that hope in spite of and even, sometimes, because of our failure.  We are honored to be a part of what he is doing inside the yellow house.  And, even though our members change from time to time, we remain committed to the Daystar and the hope he does provide.

So, here's an update on the scraggly group at Daystar this fall:

Melissa Trevathan, M.R.E., Executive Director and Founder
Sissy Goff, M.Ed., LPC-MHSP, Director of Child and Adolescent Counseling
David Thomas, M.S.S.W., Director of Men and Boys' Counseling
Jeremy Shapiro, M.A.P.C.
Julia Anderson, M.Ed.
David Denton, M.A., LPC-MHSP
Heather Flener, M.F.T.
Heather James, M.Ed.

Our Counseling Interns:
Brian Anderson
Chelsea Lesniewski
Tamara Price

Pace Verner, Director of Development
Kathleen Goff, Assistant Director of Development
Mary Berndt, Office Manager
Pat McCurdy, Administrative Assistant
Lynne Fleet, Assistant Office Manager and Administrative Assistant
Jonah, the Black Lab
Lucy, the Havanese
Blueberry, the Old English Sheepdog and the newest member of the Daystar Staff

We are grateful to be sharing this clay-footed journey with you.  Thank you for sharing hope with us and the Daystar families. 


The Daystar Staff


August Thank You Letter

Dear Daystar Supporter,

August is here.  No more piles of tennis shoes and flip flops filling the cubbies at Hopetown.  No more children swinging on the rope swing.  No laughter floating down from the upstairs girls' sleeping porch.  No strains of "How Great Thou Art" ringing through the house.  It is quiet.  Except for the whispers of words that have been spoken.  Encouragement that has been given.  Stories that have been told.  And hope that has been shared.  We wanted to share just one more story of that hope with you, from a mom of a first year camper at the 2nd-4th grade camp.

"When I first got to camp, my daughter grabbed me and started taking me down the walkway to the basketball swing.  On her way she grabbed my hand and started telling me about writing her sins on rocks.  She was talking a mile a if she had been holding this information inside and it was erupting out!!  She tells me that afterwards they came down to the dock and threw their rocks into the lake.  She then asks me if I knew that Jesus has the power to forgive and then FORGET.... as far as from the east is to the west.  I say "yes" and was about to remind her that I have taught her this truth before, however, she quickly interrupts me with more of her story.... never really hearing me at all!  She then tells me about how amazing it was and then stops on the path and looks at me.  I realize that this is when I should speak...and I ask,"How did that make you feel?"  She looks at me and says with the biggest grin I've ever seen...."Mom, it made me feel like a BRAND NEW GIRL!!  I don't have to hold all those sins ANYMORE!!"

We had a lot of brand new girls...and boys...and counselors this summer.  Thanks to nineteen staff
members who gave up their summer to love on 178 2nd through 12th graders.  Thanks to board members who prayed and sent notes and packages to a weary staff.  Thanks to you, for supporting and covering us in prayers for safety and for God's gracious movement in the lives of kids.  And, ultimately, thanks to Him...who is able to do exceedingly more than we could ever ask.  We are more than grateful.

Warmly (and a little tired-ly),
The Daystar Staff


A Hopetown Wrinkle in Time

What a Wrinkle in Time we have been blessed with this summer. To think that we have completed six camps and seen two-hundred kids experience the Hope that comes from the cross, we can't help but look back in wonder... in wonder that God has provided safety, movement in each child's heart, and carried out His plan in such magnificence. 

The first night of 7th-8th grade camp we watched the made-for-TV movie, A Wrinkle in Time. For those of you who haven't read it, it is a story of good and evil and the fact that even an awkward, self-conscious pre-teen and her little brother can make a difference. We talked at camp about lots of different themes, but one was how we are called to have a sense of Wonder at the works of God. 

Melissa taught one night on 1 Kings 19 and how Elijah stood on the mountain waiting for God to pass by and that first there was a mighty wind, then an earthquake, and a fire...but it was in the gentle breeze that He came. We talked about how so often we talk about this verse in terms of how God came in the gentle breeze, but this week we talked about the Wonder, Terror, and Amazement that Elijah must have experienced standing on that mountain feeling the mighty wind, Earthquake and watching the fire blaze around him. 

After the morning that we talked about 1 Kings, we went on the lake and tube'd, played on our new double banana, fished, skied, and went to dinner on the lake. On our way back to Hopetown from dinner, I heard little voices of wonder all around me saying "look at that rainbow" "Have you ever seen a triple rainbow?" "Wow"...

That is my favorite part of Camp Hopetown. That it is not us who creates the experience or wonder for the kids, but God. He has consistently shown us His wonder this summer...through rainbows, safe-keeping, lightning shows, rocks, small and tall children, and so on. 

Thank you all so much for being a part of showing us His wonder by praying, cleaning, building, and giving money, banana boats, boats, bikes, life jackets, and food... We are so grateful, to all of you and many others, that we have currently raised $94,740!!! We do still have $45,260 to get us through the summer months. You may ask how we still have this much to go... it, however, costs $35,000 monthly over and above counselor fees to run the office...along with clean-up and follow-up of camp costs. 

Thank you all so much for your support this summer! We truly are in wonder of your willingness to give in so many ways!

Thank you,
Kathleen Goff & Brian Anderson




boys.jpgThis week at Hopetown, the 5-6th graders spirits were stirred as we learned about the book of Haggai. Melissa taught on how God says in Haggai that as our spirits are stirred that we, in turn, stir other peoples spirits. Then he doesn't want us to just sit around and feel the stirring, he says "Get to work". And as we get to work, he says "I am with you".
I think that there is no greater picture of spirits being stirred and getting to work than our summer interns hearts and dedication. One intern, Caroline McDonald,  spoke this week about how her spirit was stirred when she was a 5th grader coming to Hopetown. She talked about how Daystar had such an impact on her life in the midst of hard times, and how she felt so called to give back to the place that had given so much to her. Then God said to Caroline "Okay now, get to work"...and she has, along with the other 13 interns. They truly  have worked very hard...making meals, cleaning, teaching kids to ski, helping with worship, doing yard work, and so on. And in the midst of the tiredness, especially after 5 camps, God says to them..."I am with you".
We are SO thankful that not only does God say that He is with us, but as the body of Christ, so do all of you! You all have said that in SO many ways this summer and we are VERY grateful!
We are so excited that we have currently raised $91,015 so far this summer!! As you all know by now, our fundraising goal is $140,000...which means we still have another $48,985 to go. I will email you a budget within the next week of our summer camp income and expenses broken down.  It will show you the cost of maintaing Hopetown as well as keeping things running back in Nashville through June, July and August.  We thought this might give ya'll a better idea of how much we have coming in from camp fees, and why we still have more to raise.
If any of you know anyone who has any adult size, non-mountain bikes, lying around and would like to donate them for the 7-8th graders first Hopetown Bike Ride...we would be thrilled! Or in the past, we had some people give specifically to purchase a new bike because sometimes we can get a better deal being a non-profit.
Thank you all SO much for the MANY ways that you have been with us throughout the summer! We cannot believe we only have one more camp!! As the end of camp draws near, please pray this coming week for safety, energy, God's movement, and love for one another.
With Gratitude,
Brian Anderson & Kathleen Goff 
This week at Hopetown, the 5-6th graders spirits were stirred as we learned about the book of Haggai. Melissa taught on how God says in Haggai that as our spirits are stirred that we, in turn, stir other peoples spirits. Then he doesn't want us to just sit around and feel the stirring, he says "Get to work". And as we get to work, he says "I am with you".
I think that there is no greater picture of spirits being stirred and getting to work than our summer interns hearts and dedication. One intern, Caroline McDonald,  spoke this week about how her spirit was stirred when she was a 5th grader coming to Hopetown. She talked about how Daystar had such an impact on her life in the midst of hard times, and how she felt so called to give back to the place that had given so much to her. Then God said to Caroline "Okay now, get to work"...and she has, along with the other 13 interns. They truly  have worked very hard...making meals, cleaning, teaching kids to ski, helping with worship, doing yard work, and so on. And in the midst of the tiredness, especially after 5 camps, God says to them..."I am with you".
We are SO thankful that not only does God say that He is with us, but as the body of Christ, so do all of you! You all have said that in SO many ways this summer and we are VERY grateful!
We are so excited that we have currently raised $91,015 so far this summer!! As you all know by now, our fundraising goal is $140,000...which means we still have another $48,985 to go. I will email you a budget within the next week of our summer camp income and expenses broken down.  It will show you the cost of maintaing Hopetown as well as keeping things running back in Nashville through June, July and August.  We thought this might give ya'll a better idea of how much we have coming in from camp fees, and why we still have more to raise.
If any of you know anyone who has any adult size, non-mountain bikes, lying around and would like to donate them for the 7-8th graders first Hopetown Bike Ride...we would be thrilled! Or in the past, we had some people give specifically to purchase a new bike because sometimes we can get a better deal being a non-profit.
Thank you all SO much for the MANY ways that you have been with us throughout the summer! We cannot believe we only have one more camp!! As the end of camp draws near, please pray this coming week for safety, energy, God's movement, and love for one another.
With Gratitude,
Brian Anderson & Kathleen Goff


Isaiah 4:5-6...2-4th Grade Hopetown Style!

With the 2nd-4th graders this year, we talked about Isaiah 4:5-6 and Jesus as our shade, shelter, refuge, and/or hiding place. We also included, as a picture of Christ's enjoyment and delight in us, Jesus as our swing. The basketball rope swing was a favorite gathering place of the 2nd-4th graders and a sweet picture of Jesus' desire to spend time with us. The swing could not be more appropriate for the 2nd-4th graders who swiftly swung right through their time at Camp Hopetown.

This week we have taked a lot about how when God came to the Israelites in the desert, He said that He was their fire by night and cloud by day. We have swiftly discussed what exactly it meant that Jesus was a cloud and fire. We believe that he meets us where we are, whether desert or swing, and comes to protect us by cloud during the day, and guide us by fire at night.

We are SO thankful for the many ways you all are a picture of the body of Christ to us by protecting and leading us through the summer. Whether it be praying for safety, helping problem solve when boats/vans/bananna's break down, cleaning, and/or giving financially, you each individually serve as our fire by night and cloud by day. Thank you!!

We are very hopeful to have raised $88,330 so far this summer! It is such an exciting thing to get to update ya'll weekly and watch together as our numbers increase!! We, however, do have another $51,670 to go this summer. We had a Daystar mom ask last summer what exactly this money will accomplish. Just for ya'll to know and be on board when people ask, this money will keep the doors open and people bustling at the Daystar House and Hopetown throughout the rest of July and August. 

Thank you, again, so much for your being a part of God's provision for us as a shade, shelter, refuge, hiding place, swing, fire, and cloud!!!! You all have quite a bit of impact around here!!


Kathleen Goff & Brian Anderson
"Then the Lord will create over all Mr. Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain." Isaiah 4:5-6





9-10th Grade Camp

Hopetown Ho Ho Ho's


For you all in Nashville, it may be a warm summer day...but here at Hopetown it's Christmas time. 

All summer we have been talking about rocks, but this week we've specifically talked about boulders with our 9th-10th grade campers. Melissa talked this camp about a mountain biking trip that she, Sissy, and Pace went on a few years ago. She reminisced on how when she would see a big rock or boulder, she would try so hard not to hit it that she right into it and got all tripped up. 

We talked about how the bible uses metaphors like the one above. We are called to follow the path, rather than focusing on the boulders, and consequently embark on the adventure of learning to trust the Lord and see the bigger picture. As friends, we are able help one another when they hit the boulders and remind each other to go to the rock that is higher than you and I (and our boulder).


We are so thankful for all of you who have embarked on this journey with us! As you all know, we often hit small and large boulders at Hopetown....but they are more in the form of boats and vans breaking down, bike tires going flat, more scholarship applications than ever before because of the economy, and so on. We are so thankful for all of you who help to remind us to focus on the path and that there is someone bigger than you and I. 

You all have helped remind us of His greatness in many ways. One way, specifically, is that many of you have helped us raise $86,600!! We are so thankful for where we are, but must also look forward and know that we have another $53,400 to go in order to keep the doors open at Daystar and Hopetown throughout the summer. If any of you know anyone who may be interested in (1) underwriting the 4Winns boat to be fixed for $230, (2) scholarship-ing one of the four scholarship'd kids at this camp for $650, (3) donating bikes, or (4) underwriting the rental of our replacement rental van due to a microburst/wind damage to the first rental for $599... please feel free to respond to this email or call Kathleen's cell phone at 214-738-5996 if you have any questions. 

Thank you all so much for your prayers and blessings upon these kids and this place. We are truly so grateful for all of you!

Kathleen Goff & Brian Anderson
"From the ends of the earth I call to you, 
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
Psalm 61:2-3



Camp Hopetown 11-12th Grade

Jeremiah 29:11-14
Seek God and His plan will be revealed. 
Encourage with the hope of what God can do.

The below letter was written by Laura Allen, an eleventh grade girl, who was told (with the rest of the group) that she was to write a note as if everyone else in the room was discouraged and she was the only one who had hope...

"Wherever you are, God can find you, and you can find God. If you need a sense of hope & security, know that there is none greater than the hope the Lord offers. Our spirits are made alive in Him. Our hearts are made full in Him. Our minds are opened in Him. His realness and the truth in His words are astounding. And I believe there is no greater adventure than the adventure of seeking the Realness of God. And I believe there is no greater treasure than that which is found in His truth. If you seek that, you may very well be a different person each day - as your spirit is made alive in Him. Let His face shine upon you. Let His words of wisdom and truth guide you and bring you home. Join with Him in an adventure of unimaginable excitement and sincere fulfillment and contentment."

We are so thankful for all of you for being a part of this adventure with us. We are SO grateful and encouraged at Hopetown because we have been very blessed in the last week and our summer contributions are now up to $74,910 out of $140,000. This week we have a young man who is a senior in high school and his Dad has lost his job and, therefore, is on a full scholarship for camp. If you all know of anyone interested in helping with this, please let us know. Also, if any of you have road or hybrid bikes that you would want to donate or know of someone who might, we have worn down a few of ours over the years and are needing some replacements. 

Thank you all!!
Kathleen and Brian



First Camp of 2009

Camp Hopetown is officially in full swing!

Today is day three, and we've been blessed with a most laid back and enjoyable group to get us into the swing of things! ?We started camp with Star Trek. You might ask, why? The Star Trek in theaters is about how Captain Kirk and Spock came to be...what struggles they went through, what their families were like, how their environments shaped them, the paths they essence: their stories. Melissa then taught on Joshua 4:19-20, where God said to scoop stones up from the riverbed and put them on the bank of the Jordan in remembrance of His drying the waters to move them across it. Being a forgetful people, He encourages us also to remember our stories: the ones that make us who we are. We have therefore gone back to our younger days to see how we became Kylie, Carter, Lauren, and Taylor...and how God worked in our stories. One of the girls today talked about how it is not through the huge stones, but through the little ones that make up the pathway before her, that she has become who she is. She told a story from when she was little about how her mom would come into her room after she'd fallen asleep and invite her to climb in her bed and watch ice skating when her dad was out of town. Such sweet memories were for her, the stones she wanted to place in remembrance.

On a practical note...we wanted to catch ya'll up on our current state of affairs at Daystar (that make this amazing place possible): ?

*We have currently raised $62,290 out of our $140,000 summer goal! We are SO thankful for the many of you who have made this possible. We, however, have a little farther to go. If you all know of anyone we should send summer info to that might be interested in supporting us, please let us know. ?

Thank You,
Kathleen & Brian
"My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is yours...It is precisely through these stories in all their particularity, as I have long believed and often said, that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally. If this is true it means that to lose track of our stories is to be profoundly impoverished not only humanly but also spiritually."?
Frederick Buechner
Telling Secrets




Daystar's Dearest Lifeguard

Dear Daystar Friends,

If you've been to the Daystar house or Camp Hopetown in the past twelve years, you have been greeted, licked, and probably sat upon by a wonderful, warm, shaggy sheepdog named Molasses.  On any given day, you could find Molasses sitting on the couch in the waiting room with her paw on someone's shoulder or jumping into the lake to save a stray child at camp. She spent twelve years as a lifeguard to us all, but especially to Melissa.  It is with heavy hearts that we wanted to let you know that Molasses' sweet life came to a close yesterday. Her hips finally got the best of her and the pain was just more than her brave heart could bear.  She was surrounded by Melissa and friends from the Daystar staff, and now has a beautiful little spot in the backyard of the Daystar house.  We know, however, that Molasses is not there...that she is already in Heaven herding Noel, Patty and Puddy and reigning as the lifeguard supreme over all God's creatures. Thank you for your love for her and Melissa over the years.  

We will be starting a memorial for Camp Hopetown kids in Molasses' honor.  If you are interested in giving, please email or call Kathleen.


The Daystar Staff


Hopetown Crew

Thank you to all of you who helped make Daystar's First Annual Pancake Breakfast such a success!! 

The Daystar House was overflowing the morning of Saturday May 2nd with pancakes, chocolate chip pancakes, Daystar supporters, Daystar Campers/Leaders/Chef's, and sailboats.  

We so enjoyed a morning of community with our Hopetown Crew. We shared in learning about the current needs of Daystar and how to reach our goal of $140,000 for Camp Hopetown to take place.

We are so grateful for all of your support and are excited as Camp Hopetown is just around the corner!! 


Newest additions to our library of staff authors

Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys

Stephen James and David Thomas

"God has entrusted a unique and powerful gift to David Thomas to understand the complex language of a boy's heart and to help interpret it for those of us who love and lead boys.  This is an important book about a very important subject." - Steven Curtis Chapman and Mary Beth Chapman

"David Thomas is a godsend! I cannot express how valuable he has been to the life of my son.  His compassiona nd love for children is overwhelming.  I know that this book will impact parents and children like no other. This is a must-read for every parent." - Sara Evans, recording artist


Growing Up Without Getting Lost: Discovering Your identity in Christ

Melissa Trevathan and Sissy Goff

For girls 15-19

"What a valuable resource for high school girls! We have known Melissa over the years as a youth leader, mentor, and friend, and Sissy as a gifted counselor and mentor to many teens in our community. Now, they are authors who have produced a work that will help girls all over the country discover who God is calling them to be."
-Michael W. and Debbie Smith, Author, Songwriters, and Recording Artist, Parents of 5


Mirrors & Maps: A Girl's Guide to Becoming a Teen

Melissa Trevathan and Sissy Goff

For girls 11-14

“There’s nothing like setting out on a journey that’s clearly mapped in front of you. Mirrors & Maps does just that! I love the way it not only prepares young girls for the road ahead but also allows them to get to know themselves better along the way. I only wish this book had been around for my journey. Dream big!” - Melinda Doolittle, American Idol Finalist and Recording Artist


Camp Hopetown is Quickly Approaching

Whether we are playing on the lake, cooking together, or having worship, the time is always spent with a purpose. The hearts of the kids are softened through relationship. Their faith is strengthened during our wosrship time and Melissa’s teaching each morning and evening. And, the strengthening comes as each child, regardless of age, sees that he or she has the ability to make a profound difference in the lives of others.

As we share, laugh, play, and worship together we experience hope... the hope of what things can be now and will one day become as we all learn to love and live as God has called us to in the midst of the darkness.