Tag Archives: community

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!

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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?

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.”

Driving Forces

18 Jun

Lately, many people have been asking what keeps us motivated to help as many children as we can, especially when we encounter set-backs or challenges in doing so.

Kindergarten children who were among the first to receive Be A Number shirts

Sometimes, it can be difficult to come up with a tangible answer. My immediate reaction has always been to attempt to explain the look on the children’s faces at Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, South Dakota when we handed the first 250 to elementary children there.

I quickly realized that explaining such an experience was nearly impossible. Words always seem so inadequate in describing their smiles that reached each ear or the way their step seemed to have an extra bounce during recess that day.

“Live simply. Laugh often. Love generously.”

On the surface, these fragmented sentences appear sparse, at most, in their significance. However, these phrases,  displayed prominently on the wall, are a sort of reminder that not everything has to be complicated. By enjoying the smallest moments, we can reach thousands, even millions of people. The snapshot above represents just that: in the moment that photo was taken, we were laughing with children who were content to give us “bunny ears” and sit on the floor with us. We left them with the promise that we would never forget them, and they have truly gained their own place in our hearts.

ur Founder and President speaks to children at the school in Pine Ridge, SD

Our message has been spreading farther each day, and we’ve had an incredible response from the public to our mission. Recently, a blogger in Michigan wrote an entry in her blog about Be A Number and spread the word through her Twitter account. Within moments, other users re-tweeted the blog entry and we received an email from a young man in Arkansas expressing his affinity for Be A Number.

Combining the experiences we’ve enjoyed while passing out shirts to children here in the United States (and soon abroad!) and the amazing response we’ve received from people just like you, it becomes more difficult to imagine being unmotivated. Our goal is not to live lavishly ourselves, but to help others live more comfortably themselves.

How do we find motivation? We simply look at the world surrounding us and to the people we admire most. With any luck, we’ll be able to inspire others to change the world in their own way, starting with one number.