Tag Archives: life

Memories That Last A Lifetime

20 Jan

The holidays are over, friends and family from miles away have all returned home, and we have a little time to rest. What better time, then, to reflect on all the things that make those people as special as they are to us? This season was among the most meaningful for us at Be a Number. After all the holiday parties, after the friends and the family were gone, and even before they arrived, we had a chance to share the joy of the Season of Giving with children in downtown Detroit, Michigan.

On December 24, 2010, we handed out 100 shirts to children at I Am My Brother’s Keeper Ministries, a ministry that had just suffered the sudden death of its leader, Pastor Henry Convington. His inspirational story is beautifully depicted in the book Have A Little Faith by Mitch Albom, and it is a story which absolutely inspired us to visit the ministry. This year, we learned the true meaning of the holiday season: to love, to give, and to cherish.

We saw the love the Pastor Covington had for those who only passed through the ministry, and also for more permanent members. We saw the love he had for the building itself, which has suffered many expensive damages over the years. Most of all, however, we saw the love he had for the children in the area. He set up family nights for children and their families to play games, enjoy a meal, and congregate. He made many sacrifices to help them, and took many under his wing.

We gave one hundred children a Be A Number t-shirt through the organization, but more importantly, we gave them our constant support and our hope for them to succeed in whatever vocation or goals they set for themselves. We gave them a few words that they can carry with them through good times and bad: keep working, never give up, and dreams really can (and do!) come true.

Finally, we learned to cherish. While each child we have seen over the course of the shirt drops has left an impression on us, with this particular one, we saw what it is like for us to make an impression on the children. We conducted the shirt drop within about two weeks of spending the night there, but only some of us were able to return. The kids, without missing a beat, immediately asked where the others were. Without hesitation, we called Matt, and put the kids on the phone with him so they could hear his voice and tell them what they had been up to since they saw him.

The smiles on their faces were some of the biggest we’ve seen. This was proof for them that we cherish the memories we have of them and we will always care for them. Matt instantly recognized their names and asked enthusiastic questions and was excited to hear from them. Just this simple phone call gave them the sound knowledge that they would never be forgotten. Not only do we cherish and truly care about the kids, they can cherish the message we shared because they had real, powerful proof that we would always remember them.

Below is the video of the shirt drop, we know you’ll enjoy watching it :)

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.