Tag Archives: nature

Nature’s Humility

28 Jul

Beautiful skies were just a small part of Mananagua's charm

The cruel irony of life often strikes when we least expect it. Mother Nature seems to have no regard for our plans, and whether we like it or not rain will come as quickly as sunshine and storms as easily as clear skies. Unpredictable in her beauty as equally as her wrath, Mother Nature will be a force to be reckoned with for the rest of time.

While in the Dominican Republic, sun was abundant and provided a brilliant contrast to rusted corrugated tin  roofs and dusty streets around the Mananagua area, which was the location of our biggest shirt drop yet. An artist’s dream, the scenery was beautiful in its own right, and the smiles of children and adults alike added a shining light to the sun’s rays that only pure happiness can.

After passing out 400 shirts to children in the Dominican, our team returned home tired after a long day of connecting flights, but forever changed. The families that welcomed them into their homes to learn about life in the Dominican demonstrated patience on all levels as Kevin and others did their best to use enough broken Spanish to speak with them. Incomparable friendships and bonds were formed among the people of Mananagua and our team, who helped construct homes and pass out Be A Number shirts to the children.

Kevin's mom pauses for a picture with an adorable little boy

It’s hard to describe, then, the sinking feeling that comes with hearing news that within days of our departure from the Dominican, flooding claimed its power over the town. While those we met were unharmed as far as we could tell, homes were flooded, thousands were evacuated, and water swelled waist-high. Particularly heartbreaking was watching video and images with children in Be A Number shirts in the background.  Though the experience in the Dominican had been such a positive one and our team returned with more confidence in our cause, nature was a step behind us with a reminder that we can never take things for granted and can never stop working for a better world.

Our thoughts and hearts go out to all our friends in the Dominican, as well as those we don’t know, who are working to keep their families safe and healthy, all the while finding shelter and putting their lives back together. We will do our best to update all of you on their progress as new information becomes available, but take a moment to think of them each day, and consider reaching out to them in your own way.

The Simple Things

9 Jun

Today, the yellow sun shines brightly through the leaves of the trees, birds chirp happily from their nests, and butterfly wings flutter blissfully across deep blue skies. Today, the simplest things go unnoticed far too often. In a world of “high speed” this and “faster than ever” that, sometimes it seems the greatest luxury is to simply stop. To marvel at the wonders of how the world works is a pastime that has become far too rare.

It is an interesting paradox between inner and outer beauty in a world where the latest diet fads or who’s topping the Forbes income list is the focus of what seems to be the majority of youth when considering their futures. But what about the kids who are truly fighters–the ones who face each day with as much optimism as they can gather– who have faced a constant struggle and still find a way to smile?

Recently, we received news that we would be able to accompany several families with children with Pallister-Killian Syndrome (PKS) to New Jersey to learn more about what they face every day. PKS can present with deformities and mental delays, but the children it affects still find time to smile. Their beauty shines through in their ability to laugh and to overcome their daily struggles.

We are so excited to meet and talk to the children and their families at the conference, and, of course, hand them a Be A Number shirt of their own. We want to show them that they are so special to all of us and that they can change the world as well–with a simple smile and love for others.