Ophelia’s Place Blog

A Word from Our Fabulous ‘Revolutionizing the Runway’ Co-chair

In the world of fashion, the runway is the highway to beauty; where the clothes walk the runway and the people disappear.  In the world of Ophelia’s Place, the runway is the highway to beauty also, but the people walk the runway and the clothes come along for the ride. Revolutionizing the runway. Revolutionizing your words. Revolutionizing your visions. Revolutionizing the world.  It can start with one small voice; one small idea. One person who believes in making a difference and changing the world.  A world where beauty is not defined by the size of your body, your gender, your age, or ethnicity.  A world where one voice has the courage to stand up for their beliefs and start a revolution.

Our 3rd annual “Revolutionizing the Runway” is that small voice. What is amazing about that is that one small voice leads to another and another and in the end it can make a difference.

Thank you to Joy Nash, our host, for her insight, her words, her humor and for sharing her knowledge to make a better world. 

Thank you to Darryl Roberts for teaching men, women and children to love themselves and those around them for who they are rather than the size of their bodies. Also, for being such a good sport and walking our runway of difference.

Thanks again to the amazing Ann Marie Stonecypher (AMS Models), who believes that beauty is from the neck up and practices what she preaches.  Thank you for dedicating your time and breaking all the rules by creating your own and we love you dearly for that.

Thanks to the enormous group of volunteers from makeup, hair, bakers and helpers.  We are indebted to you for your generosity and devotion of time.  To the models, who every year walk our runway for a wonderful cause.

And as always, to our Ophelia’s Place men and women, who fight through their anxiety, struggle through their fears, use their voices and put aside any stereotypical thoughts they may have. And for the courage they find to walk our runway.  You are my true heroes.  I look at the growth of the veterans who have walked this before.  I look at the newbies who on sheer faith didn’t just talk the talk but walked the walked.

I am so proud to be a part of such and organization and to know so many people that make this happen every year.  Thank you for being a part of our “Revolutionizing the Runway” but most of all I hope you now are able to revolutionize yourself.

Bless you all,

Linda Osborne,  Co-chairperson


Learning to Speak
January 15, 2010, 3:41 pm
Filed under: General

A friend of mine shared an exercise she had done on New Year’s Eve.  She had written down words that represented the “best” of 2009 and words of “anticipation” for 2010.  I thought it was an excellent idea, so I tried it.  It was tough at first. Trying to figure out the best – allowing the best to go beyond what our culture and my “must look perfect” thinking believes– redefining for myself the word best to be positive, beneficial, the most growth, and also to include the hardest stuff I’ve ever done and learned from moments…

So I started to write…

 And then the anticipation for 2010

  As I looked over the lists, I was struck by the last word in each list. In 2009, the word tears and in 2010 the word words. It was incredibly telling for me. For you see, while I am able to communicate and be fun and carry on fairly intelligent conversations, my innermost being, my soul remains quiet without seemingly being capable of  words. At times, I feel as if I am mute on this emotional level of expression.  This past year has been filled with many tears. Tears of frustration, tears of feeling stuck, tears of grief, tears of being lost, tears of having no voice. But amazingly my tears have been heard. They have been heard by my family, my friends, in therapy and some days by me.  I am an incredibly fortunate girl. 

When I look back to several years ago, my hope was to just breathe out loud, to have an audible sigh escape; for that sigh to be a witness to my presence in this world.  It is amazing for me to realize my breathing out loud has allowed me to come to this past year of tears and to my willingness to believe in a process of recovery.

 So perhaps you can see my astonishment of having words on my list for 2010. I choose to believe this is my soul saying that words are coming, words are forming and these words will be shared.  I am excited, scared and terribly thankful for allowing the tears to speak until my being was willing to talk.

So what are your words?

Hope Grows in the Small Steps
December 1, 2009, 11:21 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

My best friend from high school was recently in town for Thanksgiving and so she stopped by the café to see what it is I have been exclaiming about for the last few weeks. (okay, maybe its been a little longer than that!) We got our mocha and chai, curled up in front of the fireplace, and talked for a few hours about the craziness that all this has become a reality.

It has been quite a journey and I marvel at how God has brought so many pieces of my life together and guided me to this place. When I was in high school and first started coming to support groups at Ophelia’s Place I honestly never dreamed I could be free from my eating disorder. It consumed me entirely and I lost sight of what in my life I really loved. Treatment, groups, and therapy helped immensely but then “recovery” became the primary focus of all I was doing and I still wasn’t really living fully the way I longed to… I had been given this glimpse of hope that things could be better and different but I didn’t know how to make that leap.

All of the sudden, sitting there on the purple couch with a friend who has been with me through it all, I realized this is it! This is my life! This is what I love! This is me!! And it wasn’t so much a leap as a series of little steps. Some of the steps have brought me to discover brand new, exciting things about who I am, what my talents are, what I love and am passionate about, while other steps have taken me back to who I used to be before an eating disorder invaded my world. The little girl who loved to create in the kitchen, pretend she was hosting a cooking show, serve company with the favorite dishes and fancy water glasses…

It has always been about more than food and pretty dishes. It is sharing a part of myself with people I love, celebrating good food and conversation, trusting the creativity, and knowing we have a place to share all of this…I have re-discovered this simple beauty.  – Sarah

A Variance, Thank You’s, and The Gap!!
September 7, 2009, 10:08 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


We did it! Café at 407 is soon to be a reality! We received our variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals along with our change of usage from the Village Planning Board last week. THANK YOU EVERYONE for your letters of support and prayers, we couldn’t have done it without you. And thank you to the Village of Liverpool for your dedication and service to this community…oh and of course for granting our variance and permit!

So now what? Well we’ve got lots to do that’s for sure from raising more money (um..click here for sponsorships) to building things to planning the menu and determining the hours. I don’t know how we will get it all done but what I do know is that café at 407 is a God send and it will all work out. What do I mean? I recently receive an email from a young woman in Kentucky. She shared of her struggle when she was younger and her frustration over the lack of resources. She wanted to know if we were interested in branching out; she said “Ophelia’s Place is a God send”.

This was a part of my response “Thank you so much for taking the time to email and share a part of your story. This entire journey for us (especially the vision for OP) has been God breathed. I had no idea what I was doing (still don’t most days) I just knew I needed to do something. My new found naïve faith gave me the confidence to take the risk. Most days I thank God for that…I hear so many stories of such great struggle and I get so frustrated at the lack of support and services. It shouldn’t be this complicated right? So what if each one of us stepped in the gap where there was a need…do you think we could fill the holes? I’ve been asked to “open” other Ophelia’s Places, however truth be told I have my hands full with this one but I am more than happy to share any or all of what has been created here. ”

As sure as winter in Syracuse, God did breathe this vision… Sometimes more often than not, I forget that and I want to stomp my feet (I learned that from my granddaughter) over His “send” and my inability to balance this non-profits budget! (You should know that faith is a line item in our budget, hope is listed under assets and believe is an expense item.) Most days I do thank God and the reality is that people do step in the gaps. From the Village boards to our volunteers, donors, prayer warriors, treatment providers, the young woman from Kentucky who reminded me of what this is all about, and the men and women who are willing to share a piece of their struggle.

What it all comes down to… is community…community is a God send. I discover over and over again the need for “neighborhoodness”. We all need a place “where everyone knows your name”. It doesn’t need to be complicated right? God breathes life and vision into all of us. Maybe that’s how we “branch out”…by being a part of community and sharing what we know and giving to others…maybe then our hands won’t get so full.

Café at 407 might stand in the gap but I believe it’s the people who walk through the doors that fill it.

Mary Ellen

The Difference You Have Made
September 3, 2009, 11:37 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

O.P.Tournament02On September 19, 2002, Ophelia’s Place held its 1st golf tournament. As I look back I realize at that time Ophelia’s Place was still a vision. I was working fulltime for my brother (Jim Diliberto at customlogousa.com) while trying to make OP a reality. We didn’t have a place yet…we didn’t have a phone, copy paper, staff, funding, a computer, any type of office supplies (well except for the ones I procured from my job. Truth be told Custom Logo had kind of become OP headquarters…but I don’t think my brother knew that…or did he?) So we did what so many other non-profits do…we held a golf tournament. I know, I know everyone told me “don’t do it…they’re overdone…the area is saturated with tournaments, no one will show up”…etc. But guess what happened? We sold out! Yep, we had 144 golfers that teed off at 4:00 on a beautiful Thursday afternoon to play 9 holes of golf. And guess what else? Less than 6 months after that event Ophelia’s Place opened its doors to the community. The dream had become a reality. Each one of those sponsors and golfers 8 years ago made a difference and you’re still making a difference today. Your support allows us to meet the needs of those who walk through our doors. In the last 8 years, we’ve supported and educated thousands. Recently we’ve broadened our mission to empower individuals, families and communities to redefine beauty and health through initiatives that increase self-esteem, improve body image and introduce alternatives to dangerous desires for perfection. We’re no longer just responding to the need we’re moving towards a solution. Yes… this is where I bring it back around. You are part of that solution. How you ask? By showing up, buying some raffle tickets, sponsoring a hole, donating an item, or registering a foursome or two. It’s a great time, the format is captain and crew, the weather is beautiful, the burgers are perfectly grilled, the beer is ice cold, the mulligans are plentiful, the prizes are customized, (thanks to Kathleen at customlogousa.com) the jokes are bad, (thanks to Mark and Larry our co-chairs) , the chocolate is de-lish…(thanks to Linda) and the cause…well let’s just say the cause is “teeing up” for the “green”…to help “drive” our organization.

As we move into 2010, Ophelia’s Place continues to search for creative ways to fund this little non-profit. The need is as great as ever and funding well… not so much. I’m hopeful we will see another sell out this year and I’m grateful to each of you for believing, for making a difference, and for being part of the solution.
I have my peeps (aka golf committee) ready to register you today.

I’ll take a Latte with a side of Community!
June 16, 2009, 1:25 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

When I think of the words safe, friendly, inviting and community I think of Ophelia’s Place and for me that has become synonymous with the village of Liverpool. I moved to Liverpool in 2006 because of this very reason and in these past few years it has become home in every way. I have utilized the services offered by Ophelia’s Place since 2004 both at their old location, on 2nd street, and now at their current location, 407 Tulip St.

Words cannot begin to tell the difference they have made in my life. The support group alone has played a huge role in my recovery from an eating disorder–it inspired me to pursue life with a renewed passion and energy, to give back and embrace the world around me, and to redefine my ideas of beauty, success, value and health.

I am so excited about the opportunity for Ophelia’s Place to open a cafe within the village of Liverpool.  It is my hope the cafe will offer the community the same things I found through Ophelia’s Place. 

Future Cafe Manager

Let the little children come……
March 13, 2009, 10:55 am
Filed under: Uncategorized



I’m reminded of the story Jesus tells when he says let the little children come to me…do not hinder them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. I’ve spent the past 5 wondrous days in the company of my little granddaughter Anna. 


What I love is that Anna is unhindered.   Being in her presence “stills” me……not easily but I’m working at it.  I want to capture that childlike wonder I see in her.  Unencumbered with life’s worries…just the ability to be, to explore, to experience, to laugh, to celebrate, to cry, to smile, to rest, to play, to trust, to believe, to dream, to imagine, to love unconditionally and to giggle uncontrollably. 


When did I become “hindered”?  I honestly don’t know, I don’t believe it happened overnight……no I think my body, mind and spirit conformed over time.  But it didn’t look hindered, no it looked more like success, beauty, wealth, health, determination, drive, religion, control and success (I know I said that already but it’s worth repeating). 


So here I am in the Arizona desert (hmmm…symbolic?) learning a life of “unhinderedness” through the eyes of an 8 month old.  No doubt this journey for me will be longer than 40 days……but I’m not thinking about the next 40 days…nope…I’m just anticipating the adventure today will bring when Anna awakes. 


One thing I know for sure is that she provides a window into heaven when I’m willing to bring my life into focus.

– mary ellen