Tag Archives: Children

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!

How We Work

15 Jul

It’s no secret that we’re young and full of ideas here at Be A Number, so we often get the question “how do you work so hard when you’re so young?”

Sure, we work hard, but why can’t we have fun at the same time? When we’re not working on our own projects to further Be A Number, we work together to brainstorm, design, and create new programs and publications to reach the masses. Over the years, after completing all the homework, writing all the papers, and studying for all the tests that came with school, we all seemed to come to the same conclusion: if you don’t like what you’re working on, or if you”re not having fun with it, it’s going to take longer to finish and you’ll be bitter about it.

So what can make work fun? Take a couple tips from us: keep the music turned up, laugh (a lot), and explore! We’ve been known to play everything from country to the billboard top 40 playlist, but no matter what it is, we keep it loud so that it doesn’t feel like we’re working in an elevator. Representative Coordinator and Promotions Director Liz has been known to Rickroll people from time to time via email to lighten the mood, and Kevin likes to surprise everyone with the camera on his phone, snapping pictures of us making weird faces or slipping on ice in the winter. We prefer to drive to shirt drops or presentations instead of flying, and road trips are perfect for spur-of-the-moment adventures. If you catch us on the road, you’d probably see us dancing in our seats to the music we’re playing or laughing at our latest wrong turn (we can’t seem to find anyone who’s good with directions!).

We found this beautiful horse when we took a wrong turn down a dirt road in South Dakota

Arguably the best demonstration of a good road trip came on April Fool’s Day 2010 when Kevin and Liz were en route home after the shirt drop in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. They spent hours calling friends and family beginning in the early morning hours with pranks ranging from a broken-down, smoking car to confusing engagement stories. When both phones were almost dead, they turned to a heated argument over which 90s boy band was better: NSYNC or the Backstreet Boys.

In between jokes, impromptu adventures, and loud music, a lot happens: we think of brand new concepts for the future of Be A Number, organize speaking engagements, coordinate with groups who want to spread the Be A Number movement to their followers, and send dozens of emails every day. “What if we…” and “I can’t believe how much we just got done” are some of our most frequently said phrases and we make new to-do lists all the time. See, the way we think is: we work for kids around the world. If we’re going to work for them, we can’t work like we’re in Office Space II.

Try it sometime: find a way to have some fun at work. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish and how many new ideas you’ll think of.

A New Kind of Freedom

6 Jul

As the 4th of July weekend came and went, we celebrated our nation’s birthday with good friends and family, watching fireworks and enjoying some time at the local beaches. Across the United States, families packed up a cooler, sparklers, and the kids and headed to the local fireworks displays. In our 234 year history, Americans have seen war,  peace, and everything in between, but all under a beautiful shroud of freedom. After conquering our own forms of oppression and  inequality, both generations ago and more recently, it would seem we here in America are at the top of our game.

However, even now, some parts of our own country see an oppression that isn’t publicized often: hopelessness. Especially after the recent economic problems, more and more families are forced to choose between food and medicine, education and a small salary, or shelter and clothing.  A quick drive into the nearest inner city neighborhoods makes this point disturbingly clear.

Where does that leave our children? If it takes a village to raise a child, should we not at least give them a little hope? We think so. With every shirt we give to a child, we leave them with a special message: no matter what challenges life hands them, they are to work hard, never give up, and always remember that we care about them. Each shirt we give to a child is a match of a shirt that someone else purchased. To these children, the shirt represents hope for a better tomorrow because they have proof that they are not alone and will never be forgotten. As they continue to change our lives, we will continue to change the world.

While driving to New Jersey to visit the PKS Kids, this seemed like the light at the end of the tunnel

Think about it this way: if one child receives a shirt and clutches it dearly during the hard times, knowing that someone is rooting for them, even though the two have never met, and that child goes on to be the first person in his family to graduate high school, he is automatically given a better chance at a happier life. Next, he goes on to college and becomes a doctor, eventually saving dozens of lives during his career.  Multiply this impact hundreds of times over, and the world will be much different. Just a little hope goes a long way, and it could be the key to a new kind of freedom, the freedom of hope, and thus, the freedom of dreams.

As you go about your busy day, think about this quote we came across from Mitch Albom:

“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

Giving hope gives us purpose, what drives you?

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.

The Littlest Lessons

28 Jun

We’ve just returned from the latest shirt drop, which took place in Mount Laurel, New Jersey at a conference on Pallister-Killian Syndrome (PKS). The children we visited there were such beautiful, happy children, even though they experience many day-to-day challenges.

Founder Kevin Hershock posed for pictures with children and their families.

PKS can go undiagnosed, which makes it difficult for many parents to give their children the help they need. The conference was aimed at raising awareness for the condition among medical professionals and community members, and we couldn’t have been more excited to be a part of it. Kevin spoke to the parents and children about living a complete life, regardless of the ability to amass wealth or accomplish record-breaking feats.

Satisfaction in life, he said, comes with finding a way to help others, to build a legacy full of pride, and to have an impact on the world that your great-great-grandchildren will be proud of. Although the children face so many difficulties, they too can have a positive impact on the world. Through organizations like PKS Kids, these children are making others aware of their situations, which inevitably will help form an irreplaceable bond among families affected by the syndrome.

Though a PKS diagnosis may seem sad or even hopeless to many, it was striking how joyful the families were. Even the atmosphere of the conference was positive and inviting. While most conferences feature business casual attire, at least, and often drones of monotonous lectures and statistics, this was much different. Children laughed and played together as they enjoyed a good meal, while the adults chatted and compared stories about their children. Attendees were dressed in everyday outfits, and didn’t worry themselves with the politics of overly-formal introductions.

A touching family moment gives just a taste of the positive outlook the families affected by PKS had.

We had the opportunity to meet an incredible former fashion photographer, Rick Guidotti, whose photos have appeared everywhere from Elle Magazine to Revlon ads. As we enjoyed a delicious dinner, Rick told us about his newly found passion: photographing a new type of beauty.  Beauty that can be found not just in what is considered in the modeling world to be beautiful, but in the every day person. He has dedicated the last 12 years to taking photos of people with genetic disorders all over the world, and was excited to meet and photograph the PKS kids.

His excitement was contagious, and impressed upon us an important lesson: the smallest differences in our DNA or the tiny chromosomes that makes us who we are do not dictate our happiness or beauty. Instead, they are a way for us to learn about and appreciate entirely new aspects of the world. Even the smallest of the children at the conference exuded a passion for life and a feeling not of condemnation, but of potential. They had potential to change lives through spreading awareness of PKS, and they most certainly changed our lives through the opportunity to meet and talk with them.

Blissful Innocence

22 Jun

After spending a few moments taking a mental break from editing, designing, and coordinating various new aspects of Be A Number, being a kid again was the greatest luxury imaginable. Through the window, it was easy to see a group of young children playing tag or holding lap races in the pool. Ah, to be able to run and squeal with excitement.

Kevin joined in on the fun the kids had at our latest photo shoot.


Recently, we had the chance to explain the Be A Number movement to a group of children in elementary school. It was amazing how quickly they picked up the important business model we’re spreading, but also how quickly they jumped on board with the idea.  Not only did they immediately understand our goal, to give a shirt and a dash of hope to as many children as we can, but they understood that the shirt the child receives is not just a shirt, it’s a promise. By giving these shirts to children around the world, we promise them that they will never be forgotten and they will always have a special place in our hearts just for them.

All too often, those of us in the “adult world” seem to forget just how easily children can pick up on new ideas and grasp the importance of them–sometimes even better than adults. Rather than looking at the world as a place that isn’t fair, a fact that most adults seem to believe just can’t be changed, children still enjoy the exhilaration of dreaming.

Perhaps we have a lesson to learn from them, then. The world can be a better place, if we allow ourselves to dream, to reach the limits of our potential, and constantly push the line between possible and impossible just a little farther back. Maybe we should take a moment to sit in the old refrigerator box and pretend it’s a rocket ship, or run through the grass with our arms outstretched, or even allow ourselves to be splashed by the side of the pool, even if we’re clad in clothes rather than swimming gear. Maybe then, we will be able to make this world a place where the phrase “life isn’t fair” will begin to be a thing of the past.

So start dreaming, keep believing in a better world, and keep helping out in your communities. While you’re at it, we’ll be doing the same. The world will be better for it, and as our founder, Kevin, likes to say, “let’s accomplish this together.”