ohhh Oprah, you always have the most inspirational guests.
i'm watching her show right now (yes, at 2 am) and i am in awe of her guests today. they are all people who are actively making a difference in the world simply by following their true calling -- a deep-rooted desire to help others.
one woman, Genevieve Piturro, started the Pajama Project after she realized children in shelters sleep in their street clothes. fast forward five years later, she has collected and donated over 85,000 pairs of pajamas!!
thanks to Oprah and her generous audience, they gathered 32,046 pairs of pajamas for Genevieve's program as well as raised $20,000 for the Pajama Project!!
the next guest, John Wood left his eight-year-long career at microsoft (which earned him millions) after an eye-opening trip to Nepal. John saw 75-80 kids crammed into a small, one room school with dirt floors. after john saw the school's "library" only contained 20 books, most being backpacker cast-offs that were inappropriate for children, he vowed to make a difference. "One of the teachers said to me, 'Many people have told us they will come back, but nobody ever does.'" so John started Room to Read, a literacy organization that helps children in Nepal and Vietnam by donating books and building libraries and schools.
"I was feeling the pull," he says. "I thought, 'It's been a great eight years, but I'm making wealthy shareholders wealthier. Meanwhile, there are 800 million people in the developing world lacking basic literacy. … What kind of a man am I if I don't go face this challenge directly or devote my life to this? … [People thought] 'Oh, you're having a mid-life crisis, and i thought wouldn't it be a crisis if i didn't follow my heart and make a difference?" John said.
John hopes to achieve his goal of building 20,000 new libraries by the year 2020!!
the final guest, Barbara Franklin began clipping (and hoarding) coupons in order to collect food for local poverty-stricken families. with the help of local church members, Barbara was able to start collecting coupons in large quantities, saving her hundreds at the grocery store.
"[Once] my bill was $187, but when I finished [using coupons], I paid $3.02," she said.
Barbara's program started by helping 10 families, then grew to help 100 families and then 1,000. Now, Barbara runs a food pantry (and a program named Action Against Hunger) that feeds 1,500 families a month!!
In addition to running a food bank, Barbara also runs after-care center for children, a Section 8 program and a senior drop-off food program as well!! Barbara was one of the semifinalists of Volvo's Volvo for Life Awards, earning her recognition for her continual service to her community.
one thing the women had in common... a supportive spouse!! which makes me thankful i have such a supportive boyfriend (as well as an uber-supportive mother, grandmother and family).
something to keep in mind: if you want to SEE a difference, MAKE a difference. (you can quote me on that!!)
other great mantras to keep while starting your personal crusade to help others (which by the way, is a FANTASTIC new years resolution):
"The purpose of life is not to be happy - but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all." ~Leo Rosten
"Being good is commendable, but only when it is combined with doing good is it useful." ~Author Unknown
"It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little - do what you can." ~Sydney Smith
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." ~Winston Churchill
"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal." ~Albert Pike
"Find a need and fill it." ~Ruth Stafford Peale
"If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart." ~Arabian Proverb
"The vicious count their years; virtuous, their acts." ~Samuel Johnson
"Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.... You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
"The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker." ~Helen Keller
"There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self." ~Aldous Huxley, Time Must Have a Stop
and my new favorite:
"If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito." ~Betty Reese
now go out and help people by volunteering, donating or by committing to one random act of kindness per day... i garauntee you'll feel as uplifted as those who are receiving your generousity.