- Finding New
by Kayla Lemon
One sunny afternoon
in Arizona, John Alvarez's world came to a screeching halt. While the
car accident did not claim his life, it claimed his life as he knew it.
As a result of the accident, Mr. Alvarez forgot how to do many of the
everyday skills we all know. He struggled with remembering names and
putting sentences together. After 18 months of rehab, he and his family
made the move from Arizona, where the sounds and the noise became
overwhelming, to the calm and quiet Great Plains of South Dakota. But
these remain simply details, ones not important to the happenings in Mr.
Alvarez's life today.
Soon after moving to South Dakota, a need for an outlet inspired My
Fishing Pond, Inc, a non-profit organization that acts as a
rehabilitation mechanism for brain injury survivors, handicapped
children, and the elderly in nursing homes. Mr. Alvarez and his son
spent countless hours fishing at Wolf Creek and soon the idea developed.
Mr. Alvarez, his son, and countless volunteers built a pond and placed
hundreds of fish into the pond. When those visiting the pond come, they
can fish with all the necessary gear and it costs them nothing.
In its short history, My Fishing Pond has helped over hundreds of
people since 2002. Construction on the pond began in 1998 and slowly the
pond was born. Once built, the first group of children came to fish.
Mr. Alvarez's son, Trevor, worked at the Children's Care Hospital in
Sioux Falls and brought a group of children in. Since that day,
countless lives have been helped through My Fishing Pond. After a day of
fishing, those fishing also get a chance to sit down to eat a meal
prepared by the hosts.
As with any non-profit organization, My Fishing Pond faces
struggles as well-namely financial struggles. The organization always
looks to add things to the pond. The Mitchell Christian sophomore class
spent a day in May of 2008 helping My Fishing Pond by cleaning and
helping prepare for the summer season. My Fishing Pond also has to pay a
considerable amount for insurance as well, and most of the money comes
from donors. After a time of fishing, My Fishing Pond also provides a
full meal for their participants, much of it comes from financial
donations or food donations. Essentially, My Pond hangs on the donations
However, even with these struggles, the possibilities seem endless.
Through the gracious giving of supporters, My Fishing Pond continues to
touch lives. In early May, Mr. Alvarez and the supporters of My Fishing
Pond will gear up for a full summer. Near the end of May and throughout
June, July, and August, the fishing pond will hold hundreds of visitors
all trying to catch "the big one." The need for volunteers throughout
the year always remains, so Mr. Alvarez is grateful for everyone who
comes to work for an afternoon. Financial donations come as major
blessings to My Fishing Pond as they always want to make My Fishing Pond
Even though Mr. Alvarez's life changed in a single moment, his
life has remained a blessing to the countless volunteers and visitors of
My Fishing Pond. His contagious passion and zest for life spreads and
the smiles from those visiting about as contagious. While the history of
My Fishing Pond seems somewhat important, the major importance rests on