Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hollywood, Firewood, Apaches and Honor. A discussion with Jay Tavare.

A few days ago, I sat down for a discussion with Actor, Writer, Producer and Director Jay Tavare and I must say, Redheads, he is a very smart, very perceptive man.

Now, a lot of people know who Jay Tavare is.  Some don't. If not, go to

And no, he was NOT in The Last of the Mohicans. But I still let him speak to me. (Kidding, Jay, KIDDING!)

Hey, wait a minute..isn't that...?

(Regular readers will appreciate that I snuck in a Magua reference, yet again.)

But, let's change tacks here and focus on a warm heart.

This post re-visits the conversation I had with Jay Tavare about his charity work, including suicide prevention with the Apache Nation and the Warming Hearts Firewood Fund, which is such a tangible, simple way to improve the lives of Dine' Elders and families who need one of the most basic necessities-heat.

But do you know what Adopt-A-Native-Elder is? Go to  Is this group not awesome!?

I asked Jay about his involvement with Adopt-A-Native-Elder (ANE). As it was in his article in the Huffington Post ( I could hear the great passion in his voice that Jay has for helping people. Not just "his" people, but people.  When someone so recognizable turns that influence away from himself and toward those who are hurting, he becomes much less of a persona-he's simply a fine and honourable man.

He told me he was hesitant to go to the first ANE Rug Show that he'd been invited to, which surprised me. And yet?  He's now the celebrity spokesperson for ANE. How cool is that? For years, he's mobilized people to come and work at the ANE Rug Show in Park City, Utah (Nov 8th-10th, 2013!) and has helped build the event into a huge success. (
He's raised thousands of dollars and has brought light and attention to an extremely worthy cause that benefits all involved. Ask him about his very special Spirit Volunteers and you're going to get an ear full of love! 

Jay's very unique and practical Warming Hearts Firewood Fund is under the auspices of ANE and grew out of a simple need.

Simple, yes.
Easy to solve?

Then again...yes it is.

 Hollywood actor Jay Tavare has a great love for the Elders and our Program. His support over the years led to the establishment of this program for firewood donations. Firewood is a critical winter need for many of our Elders. This fund collects donations that will be disbursed to Elders in need of this resource.

A sum of 100$ will provide the firewood needed for one family for one month. I said 'a sum'. Now, this is where YOU come in.

Many Dine' Elders need, need, NEED firewood. Imagine you're 82 and arthritic and worn out from tending your sheep and livestock. You come in from a long, cold day and you're hungry. You have no electricity. And you never have had any.
So you go to your little woodpile.
And there's nothing left.
So you go outside and see that maybe you don't have any outside, either.
And you're in trouble, because it's going down to 15 degrees tonight.

What can we do?
Well, seriously, how much was that most recent copy of Vanity Fair? People? Scientific American? (You can borrow mine...)
Or for the big guns, that triple espresso you sucked back on the way to the gym? Or the app that tells you what time it is on the moon.

The beauty of Warming Hearts, is that you can donate ANY AMOUNT.
5$ 10$ 1000$
Let's do our math. 20 people x 5$ = 1 month of fire wood.
20 people x 20$= 4 months of firewood.

Hey, here's a deal!!! Whoever donates 200$ to Warming Hearts gets a phone call from me and I'll sing Suo Gan over the phone. A cappella. In Welsh. People!
In Welsh!
That's like, tricky!

Think I'm kidding?
I am not.
And yes, I can sing it.

But enough about moi. (Seriously, I will sing that entire piece. For 200$.)

 Hey, I just thought of something...Jay might sing it for 10,000$!! Hey Jay? Jay?

Umm....Mr Tavare, sir?

Here's the link for Warming Hearts, have at it, people!

Another program that Jay talked about, and he had me choking up as he spoke, is the Honor Your Life program through the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico. I didn't mention it at the time, but I have 4 children, 3 of whom are in the age range of the children he mentioned who killed themselves.

"Honor your life, stop death in its tracks" is the theme of the program. He spoke of going to New Mexico and said "There was not a day my eyes were dry. There's not a single family that hasn't been affected by tragedy." 
He also said "I do not go to preach, but to go and share my own experiences. I do not do these things because I want the credit. Hopefully I can inspire them."

He discussed the growing gap between Elders, who have the time and the stories that they need to pass down, and youth who are dealing with a lack of identity as they function in a world that lives at a the speed of a text. Hope and change are coming, which is fantastic! 

The article is fascinating and extremely well written. 

At the beginning of our conversation I told Jay that I wasn't as impressed with his Hollywood career as I was with what he did with it. I realized, in hindsight, that I may have come across as entirely disrespectful of the man's job and accomplishments on a professional level, and for that, Jay, I humbly apologize.

(The "R" in Jennifer is for RUDE.)

I've read through his Huffington Post articles, and some of the discussions on his Facebook pages, and I've seen a bit of the intensity with which he approaches serving those who are weary of this world. 

It is one thing to be famous, but it is another thing entirely to take the power of that fame and fire it toward those the world has ignored and passed by, and bring to them a measure of joy.

And yes, firewood.
Well done.

Thank you, Jay, for taking the time to talk to me, for working so hard to help so many and for giving us the ability to help them as well.

I'll end with a quote from Jay's Huffington Post article on suicide prevention...

As the Apache say "G'u Z'u D'alsh". 

"Let all good things happen".  

As I edit this, it's roughly 6:30 am California time. I was thinking the post was too long to include the Jay's involvement in The Apache Freedom Run. But the more I thought about it, I decided that I couldn't NOT include it. 

I'm a writer. I know how to break a heart with words. But those words are fiction. Jay's words at the beginning of his article just about do me in. And I've read this article many times. This happened. This is FACT, people.

All kinds of people re-enact Civil War battles. Many pretend to be someone from another time, another place. 

But how many pretend to be the prey? The hunted? How many of us could run a marathon with the wind of our ancestors at our backs and pound our feet and body for 26 miles?

He could have easily told the media about the run, asked for some money, waved a few times and gone home. Face it, he's famous. He can leave his involvement at making a call and talking to anyone about what's on his mind. 

But instead? He trained in a 'little race' in Los Angeles. 

And then he went and put his feet to work.

G'u Z'u D'alsh, Jay.


Hey!! Now that you've stared at

Feel free to buy some firewood.


  1. Sounds like some very worthwhile efforts for the elders and for the Apache. Glad Jay is using his clout to help others in such a meaningful way! Great interview today!

    1. Thank you, Heather. I'm impressed with his efforts, he works very hard and gives a lot to those who need it. Nice, eh?

  2. "When someone so recognizable turns that influence away from himself and toward those who are hurting, he becomes much less of a persona-he's simply a fine and honourable man."--LOVE that, I'm tweeting, and its so true. I had no idea that Jay Tavare did all that! WOW, he has my respect for sure. And my donation. I'd love to help. And I LOVE that picture of Jay with Magua! lol

    1. Hey Gwen!! Yes, he does ALOT!!!
      I'm very impressed with his heart.

      You liked that photo, eh? I found it to be integral to the article. Uh huh. I did.

  3. OK YHR,

    You convince me. There's no way I can afford to donate $10,000.00 but I did donate $200.00. How serious are you about singing me this Welsh song?


    1. As soon as I get the pianist, and we rehearse a time or two, I'll all in.

      Are you?

    2. I thought it would be acapella? Can't wait to hear it.

      I don't think I ever heard Suo Gan so I having nothing to go on.

    3. Wait a minute, YOU DID?!?!?!?!

      You rock, Lori!!

      I'll track down a piano, a pianist and ummm, my email is, email your deets and we'll see how this rolls.

    4. I'll get rid of my chest cold, go over the sheet music and oh my word...

    5. Sent you the info. Check your mail.

    6. I got it, thanks. AHHHHHHH!!!

  4. "It is one thing to be famous, but it is another thing entirely to take the power of that fame and fire it toward those the world has ignored and passed by, and bring to them a measure of joy." Well done, Jay and Jennifer!

    1. Thanks, I simply told the story, he did all the hard stuff. Quite amazing, eh?

  5. Jennifer, what a wonderful post. I love seeing one person live out his/her passion. Thanks for sharing about Jay Tavare and all that he does to help those in need.

    And though this line has already been posted in above comments, I loved it. :)

    "It is one thing to be famous, but it is another thing entirely to take the power of that fame and fire it toward those the world has ignored and passed by, and bring to them a measure of joy."

    Thanks for this, Jennifer. Beautiful post.

    1. Thank you, Jeanne. It was an honour to highlight such important work.

  6. Very, very cool post. So awesome to learn more about an actor who's using his platform for good. Thanks so much for sharing, Jennifer!

    1. You're welcome, Melissa. And yes, we can see how platform can transform those who need and those who give.

  7. Wonderful, Jennifer. Several years ago because of a post of Jay's, probably Huffington, I learned about ANE. I've purchased three rugs from elders, and plan to continue as often as I can afford it. They are beautiful creations, and like being able to help support in this way, and encourage the elders to continue their tradition.

    1. Hi Lori, how AWESOME that you've been part of ANE! I would LOVE one of their rugs, LOVE one!! Maybe when I'm pubbed, eh?

  8. Amazing, inspiring post and pics, Jennifer and Jay! Jay is truly giving back in ways that will pay forward and leave a lasting legacy. Wow. Thanks so much for this.

    1. Thank you for visiting, and for your encouragement!!

  9. Very impressive post, and a very impressive man!

    1. Thanks, big brother. And Andrew, it takes one impressive man to know another, eh?

  10. Thank You Jennifer for this article you make Jay out to be who he really is a person with a warm heart, a big heart for People. He truly is an inspiration for many people. Awesome article!!!

    1. Thank you, Mary! Sometimes it just takes one man to lead a hundred more, then imagine all the good that crowd can do?

  11. What a wonderful post...thank you so much, Jay and Jennifer, for this inspiration to all of us!

  12. Woohoo! Great interview and piece. Very inspiring. :)

  13. Move it on over, Magua! (Just for a Jay. I mean, a day.)

    Love reading about people who are using their influence in a positive way - Jay seems like a wonderful role model for kids and young adults in a day and age when our stars and professional front men and women are losing their luster (or is that lustre?).

    Thank you, Jay, for playing a lead role in making futures for the young AND the elderly a better place.

    And thank you, Jennifer, for taking the time to share with us the things you're learning along your road to publication.


    1. Move Magua? Hey now, Jay's great, but Magua had that fabulous skill with French. ;)
      Yes, Jay sure is doing a great job as a role model, isn't he?

  14. Thank you Jennifer for this article about Jay, it was funny, and elocuent written, and the most important you portraited the real Jay not as an actor but a person that comes down to a level to help others specially the elders and the youth. I like that he turns his face to help those in need and uses his acting credit to move people towards helping in his causes in a very positive way.I have promoted Warming Hearts here in Sweden, that is how far Jay has reached with his causes.Be well my friend and thank you one more time

  15. You are very welcome!! This has been quite an experience! He's a good man and uses his fame to help so many. Thank you for promoting Warming Hearts!

  16. OK, you got me. You've worked hard here to cover report on needed help for drastic situations involving great people. Keep it up, blessings!