I first got involved when my then wife volunteered to cut hair for kids in the program before they started the school year. She and another stylist turned 27 mops into stylish do’s to send the kids to school looking good. through this group i adopted several families at Christmas time. They gave me a list of wanted items, clothing sizes and preferences. So list in hand i ventured into Walmart, a place i was woefully unfamiliar with. i found myself completely lost, and no idea what to get so i begged the help of several young mother’s “what is a Hanna Montana?” i asked. The ladies took my list and filled my cart. i added a gift card to make sure they had a good Christmas dinner and was done. One thing i really liked about this program is the mother’s or father’s came in and wrapped the gifts putting their name on the card.
While dropping off my bounty i talked with a social worker about doing some talks and in short order was invited to a board meeting. They did their due diligence complete with background checks and set up my schedule to speak at the seven group homes.
it was i who got the education hearing the stories from the participants. I knew my effect would be limited but decided if i could change one life it was all worthwhile. About my fourth stop on this tour a lady came up to me after the meeting. She was very shy, shoulders rolled down, and looking at the ground as she meekly asked if she could talk to me. She told me of her idea of a product, an emergency supply kit in a sealed can. I saw her prototype and bought a case of the cans to give to friends. For her privacy let’s call her Miss K
We talked for the remainder of that year, i gave her marketing ideas but mostly just someone who believed in her a feeling she soon took on. About a year later as i was cruising the Pacific i got an email thanking me for my guidance and telling me she was now financially independent, such good news. A few years passed and about a year ago i got another email. Miss K was now a multi- millionaire. We kept in touch and when she saw i was coming to town invited me to dinner, “you’re buying” was my response.
We talked and agreed that we should do a joint talk at Housing Hope, let’s find another “you” i told her. So we met for a meal, she bought hahaha and made plans. We visited her first group home and met with the lady who was her councilor, they have kept friends. We gave our presentation to a small group, some single mothers and one single guy. There were two ladies who’s eyes lit up and i could see the energy starting, i talked to both about their dreams after the meeting. i got an email for one last night too. The joy i get from seeing the spark of hope ignited is amazing.
All my research and experience tells me that the only thing holding people back is their beliefs. Those who find themselves down and out are bombarded with negative thoughts, told they will never amount to much so often they believe it. The most devastating belief is that their situation can only be changed from an external force, that they have no choice. This is a common trap of our welfare system, believing that recipients got there due to some external force and cannot leave until that force lets you. The social safety net, like most nets is a trap. The safety net is needed, no doubt but the way out is needed as well.
I also emphasised action, good thoughts without action are useless. Deifine in detail what you want, make a plan, take some action now and everyday. Think outside the box because your box is only full of “i cann’ts”. The ideas flowed around the room and the eyes brightened.
Once the beliefs change and the passion ignites all is possible. Miss K told the group all she needed was to believe in herself. Once that changed she lit on fire, she became passionate about changing her life.
We both emphasized how important information is. Miss K spent hours on the net and reading books to learn what successful people did. She turned her small business profits into investments and they grew. She stayed in a humble house until this was accomplished living fugally. She just bought her dream farm and has great plans for her future. She also took one of my lessons to heart, one must give back. Miss K received a citation from the State Governor “Volunteer of the Year”.
So with a happy heart, bug hug and a tear in my eye i left Miss K after the meeting. Such a great day!!