February 21, 2018

Our Causes

Here is an updated list of causes and people that I support.

Maggie Doyne

While traveling in Nepal after high school, Maggie Doyne came across hundreds of orphaned children living on the streets and not in school. Most had been abused and were victims of child labor. When she returned to the U.S., she couldn’t get the image of these children out of her head and decided to do something.

With the support of her hometown of Mendham, New Jersey, and the local Nepalese community, Maggie established the Blink Now Foundation and built the Kopila Valley Children’s Home. The home provides orphaned Nepalese children with education, health care and a loving place to grow up.

Today, there are 30 children living in the home, 80 enrolled in school, and a village outreach program to improve schools in remote areas has been created. Maggie strongly believes that “if every child in the world is provided with their most basic needs and rights — a safe home, medical care, an education and love, they will grow to be leaders and end cycles of poverty and violence in our world.”

Braam Malherbe

South African Braam Malherbe is a conservationist, environmental activist, youth developer, motivational speaker, TV presenter, extreme adventurer and author of the best seller “The Great Run.”

To secure a future for children, he is driven to protect the environment and create awareness for others to do the same. Mr. Malherbe places great emphasis on embracing change as a tool to reach one’s full potential, and a key component to personal growth that challenges mediocrity.

In 2006, against medical and sporting specialists’ advice, Mr. Malherbe and running partner David Grier, ran the Great Wall of China (4,218km) in 98 days! Because of his strength and motivation, he raised R500 000 for Operation Smile.

In 2008, Mr. Malherbe’s doctors proclaimed he would never run again because of a serious knee surgery; but he and his running partner, Mr. Grier, overcame the odds and headed yet another campaign, “Smile around South Africa.”

The two men ran around the entire coastline from Namibia to Mozambique (3,278km). He raised in excess of R2 million for Operation Smile, enough to provide approximately 500 life-changing surgeries for children in need.

As a motivational speaker, Mr. Malherbe shares his world-record adventures and spreads his message that “nothing is impossible.” Visit his website. www.braammalherbe.com

Kennedy Odede & Jessica Posner

Kennedy is an internationally recognized human rights activist. Kennedy was born and raised in the Kibera Slum, the largest slum in Africa. As the oldest of eight children, he assumed responsibility for his family at the age of ten.

Jessica is the Co-Founder of Shining Hope for Communities, a non-profit that combats extreme poverty and gender inequality in Kibera. Africa’s largest slum.

In Kibera, he became a certified HIV/AIDS counselor, was a community health worker, and ran several slum-wide AIDS education campaigns.

In 2004, he founded SHOFCO, one of the largest community based organizations in Kibera founded and run by residents of the slum. Kennedy is now the co-founder and CEO of Shining Hope for Communities, a non-profit that works in Kibera to combat gender inequality and extreme poverty.

Kennedy has received widespread recognition for his work. He is a 2010 Echoing Green Fellow, won the 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition, and recently wrote an Op-Ed that appeared in the New York Times. He is a senior fellow with Humanity in Action and a junior at Wesleyan University.

Kennedy is 26-years-old, speaks six languages, and brings his extensive experience in grass-roots organizing as well as passion for social justice and poverty alleviation to his work with Shining Hope for Communities. To learn more, visit www.shininghopeforcommunities.org.

Shining Hope runs the Kibera School for Girls — the slum’s first free school for girls, as well as a community health clinic, clean toilet initiative, youth and community education, and economic development initiatives.

Jessica is a nationally recognized social entrepreneur and activist. She won the 2010 Do Something Award and was named “America’s top-world changer 25 and under” live on VH1. Jessica also received the prestigious Echoing Green Fellowship.

Shining Hope has been featured on CNN, in Fast Company Magazine, and The New York Times. Shining Hope won the 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition and has been recognized for excellence by Newman’s Own Foundation.

Jessica graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with honors from Wesleyan University. She is 24-years-old and fluent in Swahili.

Seth Shaffer, Harmony Through Education

“Education is the key to opening the doors of life.”

Seth Shaffer learned this lesson first-hand when he spent time as a volunteer teacher in India in 2006. He spent five months in India, giving half of his time to work with mentally and physically challenged Indian children and the rest teaching English to Tibetan refugees.

Seth quickly learned from his experience in Dharmasala that special needs children in rural, impoverished areas of developing nations lack the resources to provide education for children with special needs.

With this realization, and because these children “touched his heart,” led Seth to create Harmony Through Education (Harmony).

In 2008, Harmony opened the doors to its first school for special needs children in Dharamsala. Currently, the school serves 19 children and their families and has a waiting list of more than 50.

The Harmony School enables the children to participate as contributing members of their communities, develop self-esteem and employable skills, and are a source of pride for their families. Seth’s long-terms goals are to create more self-sustaining schools internationally for special needs children who otherwise would not have access to an education.

Shortly after creating Harmony, Seth enrolled in a Doctor of Clinical Psychology program in Washington, D.C. Seth is currently in the fourth year of his program and earned a Masters Degree in clinical psychology.

Seth is focusing in the areas of developmental psychology, trauma, and issues of diversity. This training will enable him to have the necessary skills and expertise to work with physically and mentally challenged children all over the world.

To learn more about Harmony, please visit www.harmonythrougheducation.org.

Cody Hodges w/Rachel’s Challenge

Cody Hodges grew up in Texas, and attended Texas Tech University on a full football scholarship.

He was the starting quarterback in 2005, and led the nation in passing. He was recorded the 5th most passing yards in a single game in college football history.

When Cody heard Darrell Scott share his daughter’s story (Rachel’s Challenge), it immediately changed his life. After playing in the NFL, he began speaking full-time for Rachel’s Challenge. He has been married to his wife, Christy, for two years, and they love sharing Rachel’s story together.

Rachel Scott was the first victim of the Columbine school shooting in 1999. Rachel wrote an essay called “My Ethics, My Codes of Life” that challenged her reader to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion. The presentation is the story of her life and the impact one person can have.

“I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same.”

- Rachel Scott


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