A Nudge in the Right Direction
I have had the privilege to meet and work with many people who sincerely care about what will outlast them on this earth long after they are gone. While some were scientists, millionaire philanthropists, and brilliant photojournalists, they were few in number compared to the everyday person with a thirsty curiosity who asks,“What can I do to help the less fortunate?” In my experience, there is no more important question to ask.
Naturally, everyone is less fortunate than someone else, but we are looking at those in destitution whose human spirit withers every day trying to deal with basic survival. The most vulnerable of these are children. Unable to support themselves, born into a desperate situation and know no other life or that a better one is even possible. They number in the billions around the world and any help afforded may seem like a popcorn belch in a strong wind. What good is it to reach out to a mere dozen or two?
Well, if you are among those dozen or two, it makes all the difference between seeing another day or perhaps not. However, in a world where most families live from paycheck to paycheck, extra funds may not be available to help the children, lest they themselves become the newly impoverished. Many NGOs focus on material donations and overlook the power of a simple solution at their fingertips.
The answer will utterly amaze you for two reasons: first, it is so affordable anyone can participate in making a powerful impact and second, is that it is so simple most people have overlooked it completely. I have shared this idea with caring people who have asked how to help our children at Changes for New Hope in Ancash. The idea not only benefits our kids but their own as well. You see, there are two ways to touch a life, intrinsically and extrinsically. The inside and the outside.
Most only think of the outside, the obvious needs. This would include shoes, clothing, personal hygiene supplies and school materials, which of course is also needed. But what is even more important than material support is emotional support, the intrinsic encouragement. Money can not buy hope. Money can not encourage a child to continue their education because it is the best way out of destitution. Money does not bring a smile to a child’s face as she glows with the understanding that someone from far away cared enough to tell her that tomorrow the sun will rise for her, with maybe a little picture drawn on the back of a postcard.
My friends, this is one of the most powerful and often neglected ideas that can change the piece of the world that you care to reach out to. What is in your heart is far more urgently needed to build the future for children than what is in your pocket. I have seen the immediate effects with my own eyes. If you recall words of encouragement from a past teacher or coach that turned everything around for you, then you can fathom the profound effect that a few choice words of compassion and love would have on a child who had never heard such words before.
Heroes are counted by their hearts, not by their hands raised. Meaning (ever so gently) that humanitarians are recognized by their compassion in action not what they say they will do one day…
Would you like to be a hero? Are you serious about wanting to leave behind a better world, starting with a small but powerful touch? Below, I will leave my mailing address so you can send a postcard or letter to our various groups of children that we visit and who would love to receive your message of hope, love and encouragement (English or Spanish fine). Another option is to leave a comment below, and I will be sure to deliver that message as well.
In future weeks, I will be sharing photos and responses from the children. And now my friends, you see how simple it is to make the world a better place.
When I introduced myself to you a few weeks ago, I promised you that these articles will be something that you will feel, not just read. I hope you go through your day with the same smiles and warm hearts that those who you touch, wherever they are, will feel because of you.
I want to leave you with the words of an incredible man named Cesar Chavez from a 1984 speech he made to a community group in Los Angeles California. He also knew the importance of hope, love, and compassion in action…
“Once a social movement has begun, it can not be reversed. You can not un-educate a person that has learned to read. You can not humiliate a person who now feels pride. People can not be oppressed when they are no longer afraid.”
Until next week, Live large my friends, Live deliberately…
Changes for New Hope
Take a look at our updates at www.changesfornewhope.org