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Giving Thanks, Celebrating Big

4 Dec

A word from Liz, our Representative Coordinator and Promotions Director:

Our new holiday announcements came out recently!

During the Thanksgiving break this year, it was impossible for us here at Be A Number to think about not having such an inspiring mission to call our own. In just a year, we have seen nearly 800 children receive our shirts, all due to an idea that started in the wee hours of the morning merely 12 months ago.

At the Thanksgiving Day dinner table, it was obvious to me what I was most thankful for: the opportunity to be involved with such a well-grounded, motivational company. To have the opportunity to devote a few hours a day to helping children that I may never have met, to meeting people from around the world who are world changers in their own right, is an honor for which I am eternally grateful.

Our set-up was perfect for greeting Be A Number newcomers :)

Just yesterday, we celebrated the official 1st birthday of Be A Number, and the time spent doing so will be a memory I will always treasure. After traveling to Kevin‘s hometown, we set up a humble table stand at a local shop which sells our shirts.

We greeted those who stopped in to wish us luck and other customers who wandered in by coincidence and had the opportunity to share with them what we are all about. Watching them then turn to another new customer in order to share our mission in a hushed tone was among the most gratifying sights I have yet experienced. Afterword, while walking downtown, enjoying the thousands of twinkling lights and cheery faces of holiday shoppers, hot chocolate in hand, we passed several people who recognized Be A Number and seemed excited to share it.

As the holiday season draws near, my enthusiasm for Be A Number only continues to grow. We are gearing up for a holiday shirt drop in Detroit, Michigan (details soon!), and we couldn’t be more excited. The Season of Giving seems the perfect time to spread a little extra hope, and remind children all over the world that no matter where they find themselves this time of year, it is always possible to dream and it is always possible to smile.

Happy holidays, everyone :)

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Kids Helping Kids

29 Sep

Recently, we added a new line of shirts to Be A Number: youth sizes. Not only have we gotten many requests for children’s sizes, but it incorporates a whole new aspect of our mission. Now, not only are we as adults helping children around the world to feel a special connection to someone they have never met, but we are allowing kids to help their peers feel that connection.

We all remember a time in our childhood when we realized something wasn’t quite fair about the world. Whether it was being denied dessert for not finishing our vegetables at dinnertime, or that time when the oldest sibling was allowed to stay up late while we went to bed, we’ve all be there. Other times, we realized not only were our personal worlds unfair, but that some kids had it much worse than we did.

Kids are among the most passionate of people on this earth, and they have the energy and drive that adults comment on every day. “I wish I had that kind of energy” is a common statement at parks, beaches, or even living rooms. So why not let them help us? While they are so full of enthusiasm, they easily set their minds to a task and complete it, often surpassing our expectations of the result. They become excited to know that they have helped others, and revel in their own personal satisfaction at knowing they have made an impact on the world, however small it may seem to us.

For the children who have emptied their small piggy banks and donated all $8 in coins they have to the Red Cross, we have great respect. Others set up lemonade stands and give their rolls of quarters in profits to the Humane Society. Each year, elementary schools around the country band together to help families that may not enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner without a little extra help.

It is only natural, then, that we give kids in our communities an opportunity to help other kids. To us, children’s sizes are not just a response to customer demand, but they are a way to recognize the kids who help other kids, and their parents who have instilled in them such compassion.

If you haven’t yet,  check out this video of the first Be A Number video. You can see a child helping another to put on his new shirt!

Fans and Football

4 Sep

Here in Michigan, leaves are beginning to turn into beautiful reds and yellows, local school districts are getting ready to begin classes, and college students have enjoyed welcome weeks and their first football games of the season. Fall is a unique time of year across America, and millions look forward to hearing marching bands start their school’s fight song while watching dozens of players rush onto the field, excited and nervous for the first play of the game.

Kevin Hershock, our young founder, has enjoyed his playing time for years, but lately he’s been recognized for more than just his presence on the field. Tony Nicolette, a writer for D2football.com, recently wrote a great player profile of Kevin and Be A Number, highlighting both time on and off the field.  Nicolette’s interview with Kevin asks a question many people seem to have, how to balance everything from football to running a business and finishing college. The article even touches on upcoming news about the future of Be A Number.  To read the full article, click here.

Until next time, rest assured that we’re working hard and have big news coming up!

Go Hillsdale Chargers!

Breaking Borders

9 Jul

Today is a big day for us here at Be A Numberour founder, his mom, and 400 shirts are headed to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic this morning. They’ll be working alongside members of Willow Creek church to build houses in the Santo Domingo area, and will be passing out shirts in their “down time.”

Kevin's mom is ready for the Dominican! Here she is on the plane just before take-off!

Our shirt drops began in March 2010, and since then, we have had the opportunity to hand-deliver shirts to elementary students in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, children disabled from Pallister-Killian Syndrome, and now we’re crossing international borders to help children in the Dominican.

It’s incredible what an idea in the middle of the night not quite a year ago has led to. The friendships forged and the connections made have been humbling to all of us, but nothing compares to the children we’re lucky enough to meet and spend time with. They have been a constant source of motivation, inspiration, and most importantly, dreams. They constantly show us what it truly means to dream. As they explore the world around them and encounter all new experiences each day, the children we work for have shared their ideas and goals with us, and we couldn’t be more proud of each of them.

So, as we wait anxiously for updates and photos from the Dominican, those of us back here in the States will be working hard to keep spreading the word about our worldwide (!!) movement to give children hope and help them keep dreaming while they teach us to do the same.

Want to help spread the word? Share a link to the blog, Facebook page, and Twitter, or even the website with friends and family :)

Also, follow our new LinkedIn account!

Big Changes

30 Jun

There has been a lot of activity here lately! Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working hard on a new look for the website, and we’re proud to announce that it’s finally ready! So what will you find?  Here’s just a taste:

  • New photos under the Places & Faces tab show where we’ve been and where we’re headed next!
  • Are you a number? Find out where your matching shirt has gone or will be going by entering your number in the search box on the top right
  • Find out more information about the places we’ve gone by clicking on the location on the Places & Faces tab–and check out the photo galleries at the bottom of each location page.
  • Check out the Get Involved tab for ways to join our movement or apply to be a campus representative!
  • The new Shop page makes it easier than ever to become another (or another number!)
  • Read the summary about what we do on the About Us page for an inside look at Be A Number.

Click around, check it out, and enjoy!

Soon, we’ll be announcing some exciting new changes to more than just the website, so stay tuned! Here’s a little hint: if you haven’t gotten a shirt yet, now’s the time–there are only a limited number of these styles left!

The blog, Facebook fan page and Twitter are becoming more and more popular, so join in if you have an account! Connect with our founder, Kevin Hershock, on his blog, FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn too!

What will we be up to next? Only time will tell! We can’t wait to keep growing and connecting people from all over the world!

“We count numbers, we count on people, but what really counts is when we use our numbers to take into account, our people.” – Chip Conley
Be someone to count on. Be A Number.

Working hard, or hardly working?

15 Jun

Yesterday was full of planning, organizing, and designing for us. Sometime between the dozens of phone calls, emails, and social networking updates, we were able to accomplish a lot. We are so very lucky to be doing something we love: helping people while having fun along the way. Sometimes, it hardly seems like work at all.

We’ve been brainstorming for a while now about a couple different videos we’ll be putting together soon. No, I can’t tell you the details (that takes all the fun out of unveiling them!), but I can tell you that as we wandered barefoot around Kevin’s backyard shooting our “example video” and used his dog, Dolly, as a stand-in actress, there were plenty of laughs to go around.  The neighbors were mowing the lawn next door and I couldn’t help but wonder what they must have been thinking as we laughed and filmed, sometimes at the same time. As it turns out, we should not look into quitting our day jobs to start an acting career–we had trouble remembering our lines, some of which were only a sentence long, and many clips ended in giggles.

We love to have fun during photo shoots!

While we certainly have plenty of fun, but we can’t wait to share all our hard work with all of you. As we constantly find new, exciting ways to help children all over the United States, and soon in other countries as well, we love nothing more than being able to share the news. Keep checking in for news and updates, there will be plenty coming soon!

In the meantime, whether you work behind a desk, from home, or travel for business, try to find a way to liven up the daily monotony of work. Whether it means posting a funny picture on the wall or sharing a good laugh with someone at work, we encourage you to enjoy what you do and incorporate giving into whatever you do. At the end of the day, it will be the most fulfilling part of your job.

No matter how many emails we have to send, how many phone calls we make, or how many times we send documents back to the drawing board for re-editing, all the time spent is worth it with just one smile from a child with whom we have been lucky enough to share our message of hope.

Many thanks to all of you who have helped to make this possible by showing your support!

Until next time, make today count. Be A Number.

Inspiration

2 Jun

Inspiration comes in many forms, a beautiful view, a close friend, or a even a good book, but often it is what we don’t see that has the most impact on us.

Recently, we had an opportunity to speak with middle school children at a school in Flint, Michigan about making a positive impact in their own worlds and how they could take small steps to make all the difference in their own lives and their community. The school was fairly typical, with kids’ artwork tacked to the hallway walls and posters next to the chalkboards with a few encouraging phrases. The kids were very attentive, and even came up with some business ideas of their own that would help those around them. Their response to the Be A Number movement was one of enthusiasm and wonder–they had so many questions and loved asking Kevin about playing football and where he gets his ideas. We were so impressed with how respectful and interested all the students were.

However, on the drive into and out of the area surrounding the school, we noticed many things that made us think about what many children don’t have. Thousands of families in the Flint area don’t know where their next meal will come from, shops were boarded up, and homes and businesses had bars on the windows to prevent robbery. What didn’t we see? A place for children to laugh and play and forget about the troubles of the world, a place for them to turn to when times were getting rough, a place to keep them off the streets.

As the rain spattered the windows of the pick-up truck we were driving, I couldn’t help but think about the kids without a roof over their heads, without a mother or father, and without a hot meal. These mental images are the driving force behind our deep desire to help as many children as possible. The children we reach will finally have material proof that we haven’t forgotten about them, though the world often overlooks them. The children in our own surrounding cities can be helped, and we are determined to reach as many as possible.

So as you go about your busy days, take a second to notice things that you usually wouldn’t, but also take the time to notice what you can’t see. It’s truly amazing how motivating it can be.