Reason #109: why I love Thanksgiving week... There seems to be more good news flooding my feed... And this superhero story, my friends, is no exception. Plus it pairs perfectly with that extra slice of pumpkin pie.
This fall we (The Greater Purpose Project) teamed up with the Valley of the Sun YMCA, to support the You’re Loved (organization) in accomplishing its Love Your Neighbor Project. The mastermind of this project is Fisher, McPhearson, the 9-year-old founder of You're Loved... Fisher’s greater purpose is equal parts profound and simple - making everyone from all walks of life feel loved - especially our homeless neighbors. BTW Fisher started his organization when he was 7 years old! (#GOALS).
(In case you're new to our story; the mission of GPP’s School Heroes Program is to empower youth through service projects. We help kids discover their superpowers (AKA talents, skills and differences) that make them unique and special. Then we give our young leaders the tools they need to utilize their superpowers to serve their communities (in a student-lead service project that benefits a local or global cause.)
The Y’s superheroes hosted an item drive for our homeless neighbors, so we threw them a Superhero Assembly starring them!
After the YMCA kids completed their GPP Superhero Training, we introduced them to a real-life SUPERHERO, 9-year-old Fisher McPhearson, the founder of the You’re Loved (organization).
As Fisher made his way to our interview set, the kids cheered and clapped for him like he was Tony Stark. (It was AWESOME.) After I asked the young superhero some questions, the press pool of elementary school correspondents took over.
“What made you want to help homeless people?”
“How do you get all of the things you give to the homeless?”
“If you’re giving all of these things to the homeless, do you ever run out of your own food to eat?”
“What is your favorite color?”
“Are you famous?”
One of the super cool things about The Greater Purpose Project is that we introduce kids to real-life superheroes (like Fisher) whom they can look up to and emulate.
And… It’s working…After our interview, the kids made their way to the craft tables where they made “You’re Loved” cards for our homeless neighbors. They spent thirty minutes drawing, coloring and creating love-filled messages to share with strangers. A little boy named Alex came up to me and said, “I want to give the homeless people my crystal rock.”
He opened his small palm and handed me a heavy rock with a hollowed-out center full of glittering sparkles.
I was in awe of his kindness and told him that he didn’t need to give his special rock away. But he was persistent. “They need it more than me.”
During another interview, some older girls told me they wanted to help Fisher hand out their cards to the homeless during his “Love Your Neighbor” event happening on Black Friday this year.
Now for my plug…If you or any of your coworkers, friends or family want to recharge your superpowers by sharing them with others - please join us for the Love Your Neighbor Event - presented by You're Loved.
We will roll up our sleeves, and pack lunches with love notes in the morning at Illuminate Community Church (Scottsdale) and then head to Phoenix to hand out the lunches to our neighbors.
RSVP HERE: https://www.youreloved5.com/volunteer-experiences
If you’re not able to make it, stay tuned for The Greater Purpose Project’s - coverage of the event. I cannot wait to share this episode of GPPTV with you!
*** A heaping helping of gratitude to The Valley of the Sun YMCA, You’re Loved, and all of GPP’s volunteers, supporters, and contributors. Thank you for supporting our mission!***
While it may be hard to imagine anything upstaging the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin bread (my Nana's recipe) and the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears football game taking center stage today; GPP's Top Ten List of Gratitude may outshine your Aunt Betty's green bean casserole... (Shhh it will be our little secret!) Please feel free to pass #GPP's list around the table and save room for a second helping; there's always plenty of gratitude to go around! What tops your gratitude list?
10.) Harvey Parry's gold medals
I can't keep track of Harvey's gold medals; (by the time he was seven years old, he had eight)! This super star contracted meningitis as a baby leaving him without the use of his lower legs but as you can see this isn't slowing him down one bit. Every time, I see Harvey's smile I am reminded that nothing is impossible!
9.) Chocolate bar, the book
When I grow up I want to be like Dylan Siegel, the author of Chocolate Bar, the book. Did I mention he's not even 10- years old? Dylan and Jonah (pictured above) may not be wearing capes but they are real life super heroes! At 6- years- old, Dylan knew his best friend, Jonah was sick with a rare liver disease (GSD, Type 1 b) and wanted to do something to help. His parents suggested hosting a bake sale or a lemonade stand but Dylan had a sweet tooth for writing so he put his creativity to work and wrote Chocolate Bar, The Book. Wait for it... Wait for it... The book has raised more than ONE MILLION DOLLARS, which is #sochocolatebar (AKA Dylan's terminology for TOTALLY AWESOME)! All money raised goes directly to Jonah’s research fund at the University of Florida where his doctor, GSD expert Dr. David Weinstein, is actively seeking a cure that will have applications for other liver-related diseases as well. Got a craving for a story sweeter than chocolate? Buy the book at http://chocolatebarbook.com/.
8.) Daring doris' hard hat
This 101- year- old Great Grandma holds the World Record for being the oldest abseiler (AKA scaling buildings like Spiderman). She's coined the nickname 'Daring Doris' for scaling buildings like Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower in the United Kingdom, which is taller than an American football field is long. Doris Long's secret to staying young is quite simple: "helping others." Every time this centurion makes a daring descent she raises thousands of dollars for Rowans Hospice in Waterlooville.
7.) the superman shirt aDel Termos' son wore at his daddy's funeral
Words fail me but this picture says it all. It's only fitting that Adel Termos' son be sporting a superman shirt at his daddy's funeral. Adel Termos (the man whose picture his daughter his holding) threw himself on top of a suicide bomber and saved the life of his little girl and hundreds of others in a crowded marketplace in Beirut, just one day before the #Paris attacks.
6.) Ben's bells
"Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny."
Every time I hear that quote by C.S. Lewis; the face of Jeannette Maré (pictured to the right with her baby boy, Ben) pops into my head. Jeannette endured the greatest tragedy any mother can imagine when Ben, her two and half year old son died, unexpectedly. This mother of two transformed her grief into the most colorfull message of kindness, which is the centerpiece of her non-profit, Ben's Bells Project. Thousands of Ben's Bells can be heard ringing in trees across the U.S. offering a message of hope, love and kindness. To find a Ben's Bells art studio near you and for more info about this movement visit Ben's Bells.
5.) The Capes these superhero parents are wearing
As a parent you wake up each day unaware of the kind of super hero feats you will need to pull off that day to help your child succeed. While you may not be aware of the cape that is hanging in your closet; your love, dedication and selfless sacrifice are evident in your super hero kids I meet during our Greater Purpose Project School Heroes Tour! It was my honor and privilege to kick off the school year with the parents, leaders and mentors of Gilbert Public Schools VNET (Volunteer Network). I was honored to give the keynote "How to Inspire a Super Hero Campus" along side Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. When I asked Dr. Kishimoto about her own mother, she told me she was her "Super hero." I'm willing to bet if I asked Maria, Dr. Kishimoto's daughter about her mom she would tell me the same thing!
4.) The Mighty Ducks movie
"Quack, quack, quack!" U.S. Women's Hockey Player, Olympic Silver Medalist, Lyndsey Fry credits the Disney's Mighty Ducks for encouraging her to follow her dream of being a female competitor in a male dominated sport. Lyndsey, an Arizona native grew up playing on all boys teams. Correction: She grew up being the Captain of the all boys' teams she competed on. Lyndsey recently graduated from Harvard University and is a rock star, role model to children everywhere. GPP is honored to have Lyndsey headline The Greater Purpose Project, School Heroes Tour! For more info about GPP's School Heroes Tour click here.
3.) Robbie Gould's Cleats
If you're a football player in the NFL, kids are going to look up to you. Whether you choose to be a role model is also "up to you." Chicago Bears Kicker, Robbie Gould holds the NFL title for being the "most accurate kicker" in the league but that is only the headline to his story. The founder of The Goulden Touch Foundation, Robbie and his team are committed to helping the underserved and those in need- especially when it comes to children. It was my honor to kick off the first ever Greater Purpose Project School Heroes Assembly with Robbie at San Marcos Elementary School in Chandler, Arizona.
2.) Bob Votruba's KindNess bus
One guy Bob, his dog Bogart, a bus and a bike touring the U.S. to promote kindness... You better believe there's a story there! I'm not saying I support the notion of "cloning human beings" but if I had to recommend a human to be cloned; the founder of One Millions Acts of Kindness, Bob Votruba would top the list! Bob sold all of his personal belongings and transformed a bus into his home to make his goal of "kindness" reach schools in the lower 48 states. His inspirational journey has also included a couple invitations to the White House to address our nation's leaders. For more information please visit www.OneMillionActsofKindness.com.
1.) Patrick Taylor's wheelchair
I will never forget that brisk November morning when Patrick Taylor wheeled into my life. At the time I was a reporter at the CBS affiliate, KOLD-NEWS 13 in Tucson performing my morning 6 am live shot when I met Pat. The station was collecting food for the local food bank and Pat rolled up with a donation in his lap. The retired firefighter and Multiple Sclerosis Warrior was on a 15 mile ride in his wheelchair training for the Paralympics. I knew that I wanted to tell this man's story, but I had no idea he would be the inspiration behind my "Greater Purpose" in life. My dear friend, Pat lives on in my heart everyday and his life's motto "Never Say Die," is the legacy of The Greater Purpose Project. We are hosting the first annual Greater Purpose Project, Patrick Taylor Memorial Wheel, Walk, Run event in Tucson, 2016, I hope to see you all there!
If you’re a parent, chances are Spiderman, Captain America and the Incredible Hulk are hanging out in your laundry pile right now coated in Kit Kat residue after this weekend's Halloween festivities! I'm willing to bet my Reese's Peanut Butter Cups that in addition to the costumes these superheroes are also invading your children's wardrobe (T-shirts, pajamas, underwear, not to mention the Lego Batman you almost tripped over while packing the PB and J inside your child’s Avengers’ lunchbox.)
Being a huge superhero fan myself (I was a Ninja Turtle for Halloween three years ago) I admire the positive message these mythical crime fighters are sending our youth. However, the reality is you don't need to be from Gotham City to qualify as a superhero! The #GPP is introducing a new league of Superheroes and while they may not shoot spider webs from their fingernails or leap tall buildings in a single bound their abilities to overcome adversity and inspire others are just as powerful.
THESE SUPERHEROES ARE... YOUR CHILDREN!
As a broadcast journalist working at news affiliates across the U.S. I have a Santa Claus list of kids' names who are curing diseases with chocolate bars, cutting their hair to fight cancer and creating lunch bags to feed the homeless.
As the proud Auntie Lala of three nephews and one niece who has doubled as a Super Nanny to an alphabet's worth of children; I've witnessed kids' super powers first hand. I'm always blown away with what they'll come up with next, which is reason #349 the GPP School Super Heroes Tour is taking flight!
Reason #459 is that kids growing up in today's world are hungry for positive role models. I'm sure you know what's trending on TV and or social media and I would bet more Reese's Peanut Butter Cups it may not be the first thing you would pick out for your kids to tune into.
THe #GPP School Superheroes Tour
This 'get out of your chair, wave your hands in the air' interactive assembly inspires students of all ages to discover their inner Superhero while exploring how their talents and differences (super powers) can help others! U.S. Women's Hockey Player and Olympic Silver Medalist, Lyndsey Fry is leading the pack of Olympic athletes, Paralympians, professional athletes and other celebrity role models who are part of the program!
GPP's assembly reinforces the importance of education while giving students/teachers the tools they need to start their own ‘Greater Purpose Projects’. GPP’s other goal is to introduce kids to Super Hero Youth. These are kindergarten through college age individuals who are overcoming extreme obstacles (e.g. paralyzed, cognitive impairment, loss of limbs, battling an illness, orphaned, former homeless etc.)
This is only the beginning of our #Superhero series! Do you know someone who should be wearing a cape every day of the week for their #Superhero feats?! We want to hear about them!
Somedays we need more than just a positive quote on a coffee mug to get us through the day... We need connection, conversation, laughter and LOVE. As a journalist I am on a passionate pursuit of sharing the stories that get me out of bed... Stories about real-life superheroes (just like you.) May this blog fuel your super powers, imagination and greater purpose. Tune in for inspirational, uplifting, fist pumping and sometimes LOL content. Please join in the convo!