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Blog: Thursday, January 9th, 2020

Getting Inspiration for 2020

We are often inspired by those that came before us.  Here are the stories we should remember, the people movers that are unshakeable in belief and purpose, and give us hope to be a little better tomorrow than what we are today. So start 2020 with these inspiring stories…

Mumbai, India: Afroz Shah wanted to walk the beach where he used to play as a child, except that he couldn’t find it. It was there—but the beach was a carpet full of plastic garbage, almost a block deep in parts. He noticed how it was also killing marine animals…birds, turtles, and seals. So Afroz decided to do something—pick it up.  He invited others into his personal journey, and started a beach pickup program every weekend with volunteers.  It took 4 years of weekends to clean up the beach, but they did it! After that, he started going to the source of the plastic garbage, teaching villages how to recycle properly, each person taking an active role in cleaning up our part of the planet. Sometimes complicated issues can be solved by simple actions—pick it up. Don’t litter.  Recycle responsibly.

Espanola, New Mexico: Roger Montoya watched his parents, friends & siblings struggle with addictions during his life.  In his part of the world, one third of the population lived below the poverty line, and it also had the highest drug overdose rates in America. Amidst all this sadness, he discovered solace in the Arts. He went from gymnastics to dance to painting.  And he loved it. He realized that other kids struggled like him, but he had to give them an opportunity to heal, by connecting to the Arts.  He started with an empty classroom and it grew so much that he eventually converted a former casino into a Community Center.  They teach gymnastics,  circus arts, singing, violin, guitar, flamenco, ballet and hip hop.  Painting classes are given five times a week. Free tutoring is available. Vegetarian meals are provided free to anyone who comes through the door. Kids can come after school to exercise or paint, get help with their homework, and eat a meal before mom gets home from work. The ultimate goal? Building resilient human beings who can think creatively and critically.

Paradise, California:  Woody Faircloth watched his TV set in Colorado as the forest fires in Northern California destroyed the entire town of Paradise, California. He drove 1800 km to Paradise to see what he could do; what he saw were people, emotionally broken, sleeping in their cars and tents in parking lots.  He set up a GoFundMe page to invite people to donate funds or RV’s to repair and donate to families who had lost everything. So far he has helped donate 65 RV’s to the Fire survivors. Out of the apocalypse, he found a way to give hope back.

Deer Lake, Newfoundland & Labrador: On any given day, this small town is the alternate landing sight for Westjet. That’s what happened two weeks ago when 75 Westjet passengers ended up on the other side of Newfoundland, in Deer Lake instead of St. Johns. That’s like flying into Vancouver and ending up on Kelowna, on Christmas Day.  Except that Westjet doesn’t have a help desk in Deer Lake in the winter months, let alone Christmas day. All the restaurants in Deer Lake were closed for Christmas day.  One of the locals got wind of the problem, and the call went out on Facebook that passengers were stranded at the Holiday Inn on Christmas day. Within 45 minutes, residents from around town stopped their own Christmas celebrations and started delivering turkey, rabbit stew, sandwiches and cookies to the Holiday Inn.  When they were all fed, Deer Lake locals lined up to drive them back to the airport, as there weren’t enough taxis in town to take them all. Newfoundlanders are like that…just friendly and willing to help a stranger in need.

Mt. Lehman, Abbotsford BC: Our school PAC ran a Christmas Store in December, made up of donated items from our school community.  Kids were able to purchase items for their parents & siblings for Christmas for a flat $1/item. Along with a huge bin full of non-perishable items collected, we were also able to donate $450 to our local Abbotsford Food Bank!

Here’s to an inspiring 2020!