FiFi’s Forest was created to provide a place for all people with diverse abilities and strengths, to embrace the creative, educational, and healing properties found in nature and empowered by community.  We provide stories through podcasts about the forest, the people who live here and those who visit.  Along with the podcast we also post photographs and a blog.

The podcast follows us as we meet the members of our forest community.  We invite a new member to walk the trails or spend time in the forest and then join us for a podcast.  We invite people everywhere to listen and follow our journey as we meet our new community and introduce them to Fifi.

The forest provides the perfect background to promote personal insight and experience the freedom that often the busy city strips away.  As we like to say, FiFi’s Forest is a place where you can, Let Nature Guide You.

The idea for FiFi’s Forest came shortly after we moved here in 2013.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let me first begin with the most important part of our story, Fifi.

Fifi is our daughter and she just happens to have been born with Down syndrome.  She was also born with several severe heart conditions that have been maintained through a series of open heart surgeries.  Today, she is a healthy and happy 4 1/2-year-old and she is thriving in her forest.  But, 3 years ago things were a little different.  Okay, a lot different.  Here is what I remember.

It was dark and raining heavy even though it was only 2pm on a summer day.  The storm was especially vicious and the traffic light I was stopped at was swaying above my head and in view through my sunroof.  I was happy for the rain because I was sobbing silently in my car and wanting desperately for the light to change so I could get home and finish crying in peace.  So when the rain began to fall, so did my tears and there was little I could do to stop it.

Everything about that moment felt awkward and every part of my body wanted to escape.  When I finally made it home I ran through the door and into my husbands arms.  I could no longer do this.  I need out.  We need to leave.  We needed to leave the city and we needed to do it now!

So, we took a giant leap of faith, for our daughter, our marriage and our sanity.  We left our home in the city and moved to a forest in Central Michigan.  After a few days here, we realized this place is just as amazing as we think our daughter is.  It was only fitting we named it FiFi’s Forest.

This forest has provided my family with a place for healing, growth, education and an endless supply of creative empowerment.  For us, the forest is void of specialists and mainstream therapy schedules.  We need no accommodations, the forest itself is accommodating.  But one very important factor wasn’t present.  The same one that brought us here to begin with.  Our faith.  And for us, our faith is in people and their ability to accomplish great things through grassroot movements and the empowerment of their communities and members.  We needed this for Fifi, we needed this for us.  So how do you start a community?  Like anything else, you just begin.

My hypothesis?  Nature will provide the platform and the people will bring the energy.  Together we will create something.

Listen in to find out what we create.  Or better yet, join us and become a community member of Fifi’s forest and help us to continue to reach our goals of providing this wonderful platform for creative community expression.

We don’t have it all yet, but we have a vision …and we hope you will join us.

Karyn and Bob Walters