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BY BRITTANY MATTIE SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING TUESDAY FEB 19, 2019

Rev. Dr. Roger Kunkel began Dial Hope by waking everyday at 5am to record a 2-3 minute uplifting telephone message. People began to call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Dial Hope took off as a global telephone and Internet ministry providing daily faith-based, non-denominational dispatches. Today a growing nonprofit foundation with a board of directors, Dial Hope recently welcomed a NASA astronaut and artist as its keynote speaker to its Annual Luncheon at Bird Key Yacht Club. Only 561 people have been to space, 60 are women, and one of them is Nicole Stott from Clearwater. “Nicole’s inspirational message about humanity is a perfect fit for Dial Hope,” explains board member Ann Babcock.

She is renowned for creatively combining the awe and wonder of her spaceflight and deep-sea experiences. Her work stimulates thought-provoking appreciation of our role as Earth's crewmates by raising awareness of all the efforts going on in space amongst 16 international countries—all working in harmony to improve life on the blue and green orb for future generations. As the first person to paint a watercolor in space—having spent three months on the International Space Station and Space Shuttle—she mentions her time spent orbiting the globe ironically brought her “back down to Earth”, realizing the interconnectivity of the universe and significance of it all. “It’s a perspective thing,” Stott says. “Instead of feeling surrounded by the planet, I was surrounding the planet”—at 17,500 miles per hour—giving her a whole new vantage point, literally as well as philosophically. “The one thing we all have in common is this planet we share,” she says. “We have to get along to take care of it and take care of each other.”

Also an aquanaut, Stott lived underwater for a three-week mission on the Aquarius undersea habitat, submerged 60-feet underwater off the coast of Key Largo in a laboratory the size of a school bus, witnessing Goliath groupers and Eagle rays through yet another wondrous window, this time a porthole. Stott believes that the international model of peaceful and successful cooperation experienced in both these extreme environments holds the key for all of humanity and mankind. “I will never run out of inspiration,” she says.

Her greatest mission today is to share this message to current and future generations, sometimes as part of a team of artists, astronauts and health experts at the Space for Art Foundation in St. Petersburg, connecting children around the world with the healing power of art. "Art is a wonderful universal tool to proactively communicate these complex things in life,” she says. And now Dial Hope aims to create a children’s forum, which Stott hopes to help launch in the near future. 

“Dial Hope is wherever you are, whenever you are in need,” Board Chair Candy Swick says, then quips, “Sounds like we need to get Dial Hope on the Space Station.”

Photo of Nicole Stott presenting at Dial Hope Foundation's Luncheon courtesy of Jacqueline Marine Photography.

Dial Hope

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