More Than a Runny Nose
Influence. We each have it, we are each affected by it. By definition it means “the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others”. We can be influenced from everything from music to alcohol to people; some can be detrimental and some can change our lives and perspectives for the better.In LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute), we have a saying: “Hugs may be free, but here they are ten bucks.” In our world, a “Hug” is represented by a little pin that costs $10, and that $10 goes towards our projects that we partner with internationally in the developing world. A Hug is literally the gift that keeps on giving. This amount may not seem like much according to our standards and $10 won’t get you very far in our world, but change has to start somewhere. A life that is changed is never the same, and every voice that is added to it gives it power and influence.Danielle is 25, and is a singer/songwriter from a middle-class suburban family in Red Deer, Alberta. She is a life that was changed. One day in the college she was attending, she was listening to Vaden, our CEO, speak about the exploitation of children in Southeast Asia for sexual slavery. His stories rocked her world: they made her angry, they made her cry, and they broke her heart. But Danielle realized that spent emotions won’t bring about change in the world – her life will. From the outside looking in, you might wonder what someone like her could do or why she would even care about something that really does not appear to affect her life in any way. However, Danielle saw it differently: she saw it as an opportunity to allow her life to impact the lives of those children from so far away.Danielle worked part time at the Second Cup in her city, and she got an idea: why not use her talents and influence to inspire change?The goal was $10,000, as that was what was needed to build a house for twenty kids. Could she really do it in one day? She showed up that morning, set up everything with some friends, sat down, and began to play. As people came in, she would point to the info sheet she put out, with the pile of Hugs that were available for purchase. One day, one girl, one Hug at a time, inspiring others to join her; and at the end of the day…there was $13,000! Three months later, in Northern Thailand, 25 people joined Hero Holiday and helped to put that money into a home for children saved from sexual slavery and exploitation.
“It was one of the most exciting and rewarding things I have ever done. Just to know that I was a part of helping this project. When I heard what LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) was doing to help, I was moved to tears. I first bought a hug for myself, and everything began to snowball from there. When we set up to play and began to tell people the truth about what was happening in the world around them, they were moved as well, and wanted to be a part of making a difference.I think passion is everything. When people felt the group of us excited, they wanted to be a part of the change. It’s very contagious…people want to get on board of something that is making a difference. I want to do it again!”Emotions are a start, but they are not the solution. Anger will end in frustration, tears will end in a runny nose, and indifference will end in perpetuating the problem. Our lives in action, one step at a time is what changes things. For those of you who are living your passion, whatever it may be, thank you. For those of you looking for something to add your voice and passion to, why not consider becoming a member of the Hero Network in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute). It can start with a HUG, and end with global change. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.”…As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” ~ Nelson Mandela