Friday, July 2, 2010

My niece is going to change the world!

My ten-year-old niece, Makila is going to change the world. In early June, I spent a couple of days with her trying to make a difference in the world. I am awed by her compassion and drive to help those less fortunate. When most kids her age are worried about the newest technology craze and the coolest new band, Makila is thinking of ways to help kids in need. Don't get me wrong, she is still a typical preteen interested in the newest trends and the latest heartthrobs (She is totally team Jacob!) - but with a heart of gold and a desire to make a difference.
On June 10th, I took her to
Bright Hope International for their Experience tour. Bright Hope is the organization that I volunteered for earlier this year to promote their Run For Hungry Children. The Experience tour allows you to see the work that they do and the help that they provide for people around the world living on less that $1 a day. It is an amazing organization and the tour really opened our eyes. I was not the only one impressed with Makila that night. One of the gentlemen giving the tour spoke with us a little bit and was also struck by Makila's desire to help others. He even included her in his closing prayer for the night and asked me to keep him updated on her progress.

That night, we made the mistake of waiting until after the tour to go to dinner. On our way to the restaurant, we talked about the tour and how the people that Bright Hope helps are lucky to get one meal a day. And here we were hungrily awaiting our third meal that day. Once at dinner we discussed our plans to do more. Makila wants to have a lemonade/ hot dog stand several times throughout the summer and give the proceeds to Bright Hope to feed more children. She even began designing the poster for her stand - picking out pictures from the brochure to add to the poster.

(Property of Makila - Please do not copy)
The next day, we got up early and drove out to Aurora to take part in a program called, Feed My Starving Children - another amazing organization working to feed the extreme poor. This program puts together meal packs containing enough nutrients in one meal so that people only getting one meal a day can survive. What Makila and I got to do was work with a group of volunteers to assemble, seal and pack those meals. It's really a very precise and well run program and I highly encourage everyone to go at least once to do it. Makila and I are already talking about our next trip and who we can bring along.
Makila had two jobs while we were there. She started out weighing the filled bags.

She then switched in the middle and was one of two girls filling the bags. I am so proud of the hard work that she put in that day - without complaining. She really worked hard! After we were through, we met as a group and found out that we packed 84 boxes that will feed 50 children for a whole year. Amazing! I can't wait to see what other kind-hearted things Makila will surely accomplish. You can be sure that I'll keep you posted.
Hope to see you all at her lemonade/ hot dog stand this summer!

Giving kids clothes and food is one thing but it's much more important to teach them that other people besides themselves are important, and that the best thing they can do with their lives is to use them in the service of other people.
~ Dolores Huerta