Tag Archives: positivity

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 :)

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.