CLICK HERE to join me on Kiva and receive a free $25 loan to help an Entrepreneur working their way out of poverty!
"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."
In the worst of time, there is the possibility of seeing hope…
We can say "I can be a rainbow in the cloud for someone yet to be."
That may be our calling.
I've learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.
~ Dr. Maya Angelou
**I did not create this image. I don't know who the Copyright belongs to.
If you can read the tiny writing on the spoon, or this belongs to you, please let me know so I can give you credit!!
We are sad to announce that we were not able to get enough backing to support Vijay in getting his Visa to come to Canada in September. HOWEVER, we are not giving up and still looking for support with this process for a future date. If you can help, please contact us. Specifically if you are connected or know someone within Rotary. Thanks so much for your ongoing support!!! WE WILL MAKE THIS HAPPEN.
Giving has always been a part of my world – it's as much part of my DNA as Entrepreneurship. I think giving can and should be integrated into everyone's lives.
I've explored many avenues to this including: delivering meals to seniors; working at fundraising events; traveling to Tibet and India to spend time at orphanages; serving on boards for Rotaract, Rotary International and the Himalayan Orphanage Project; hosting my own fundraising event (Evening for Entrepreneurs); and starting a not-for-profit organization, Leadership as Rx'd, with a team of friends.
This is what giving looks like for me but it can look whichever way you choose. Recently, while I was away on a trip, a stranger anonymously bought me breakfast at a restaurant. It brightened up my day and reminded me that giving really can be that simple.
The key is in the integration.
Giving triggers an act of creating positive feelings – joy, love, peace, beauty – within ourselves. Too often we give, and give, and give and don't replenish our tanks. Mother Theresa once said, "give until it hurts." As one of my mentors recently pointed out to me, that doesn't mean until you're hands are bleeding, it just means until it doesn't feel good anymore. Giving is about feeling good. Make sure your receptors are in good shape too.
"Give with ease and grace and be receptive to allow flow – where giving and receiving are one."
~ loosely quoted from the Moses Code.~
This is the message that I'm spreading through my event Evening for Entrepreneurs II – coming to Calgary in Fall 2011. I would love to see you there!
Doris Olafsen (Executive VP of Opportunity International) e-mailed me this story and I couldn't resist sharing – SO beautiful! It embodies the meaning of generosity in a single photo.
In the developing world, there are rules for children attending school. For starters, you need to have shoes. Sounds simple, but it isn’t.
Back-story- These two little brothers SHARE shoes…one goes to school in the morning with both shoes and then they trade and the other attends in the afternoon.
Creative, generous and determined. Opportunity International clients embody this.
Solutions! When mom and or dad have access to microfinance, they now have options. All their children can attend schoolat the same time. Their diet is better, they have improved living conditions, access to medical care and they are helping others in their community—the ripple effect. Opportunity clients are “saving, insuring and planning for their future and the future of their children” with hope and dignity.
Inspired? I am, because just like you, I am a donor, committed to not just giving my resources, but sharing stories like these with others, so they can catch the vision for what is possible. Thank you in advance for your generosity in helping dreams come true.
If you're interested in supporting Opportunity International I will be organizing an event in the fall and I'm looking for volunteers and sponsors – please e-mail email@example.com.
[progpress title="Raising $ to Bring Vijay to Canada" goal="3000" current="1030"]
Please support Leadership as Rx'd in bringing this talented athlete from his orphanage in India to Calgary to get his Level 1 certification in CrossFit so that can continue to be a positive leader in fitness to his peers back home. This project will not be possible without your support! Every little bit helps!
(Funds will be used for Project Vijay including travel costs at the discretion of Leadership as Rx'd. If you would like to direct your funds, please make a specific note when donating or email firstname.lastname@example.org).
As we were corresponding with Rashmi about the trip we had asked her what she thought we could bring for the kids. We were thinking t-shirts, skipping ropes, maybe a few balls. That's when she came back at us with a GHD.
As far as CrossFit equipment goes, aside from maybe a rower, a GHD has to be the largest and heaviest piece of equipment there is. We found out later that Rashmi didn't really expect for us to get a GHD all the way to India, little did she know how determined our little group can be! To be completely truthful though, we weren't really sure we would be able to pull it off either – but we were sure going to try! Here's the story of the GHD…
In August 2009, I traveled to an orphanage in rural Tibet where I stayed for a month as a volunteer. While I was there, I incorporated CrossFit classes as a way to help the kids learn English and to simply have some fun with them. When I got back, CrossFit Kids HQ, based in California, caught wind of the story. I wrote an article about my experience that got published in the November 2009 CrossFit Kids Journal.
CFK then invited me to take the CrossFit Kids Certification program – a weekend course in Ramona, California. They covered the $1000US Fee, CrossFit Calgary pitched in for my airfare, and off I went to California!
The certification program turned out to be a true blessing in so many ways.
First, I learned the difference between teaching adults vs. kids – it's a BIG deal! I'm not a trainer to begin with so learning how to teach movements period was helpful. But learning how to teach KIDS these same movements was incredibly valuable!
At the end of the certification, I was discussing the importance of health and fitness of kids living in poverty with Mikki Martin, one of the founders and coaches at CFK. That is when she gave me the name of Rashmi Cole. Rashmi, she told me, was running a CrossFit Kids program at an orphanage in India. I corresponded with Rashmi a few times but it wasn't until almost 6 months later that the project came up again.
Yasmin Dean, a fellow CFC member, and I were taking a Targeted Training Class together at CrossFit Calgary (CFC). Yasmin showed a genuine interest in the cause and I loved talking about it! Meanwhile, she had also been speaking with Brett Marshall, our coach at CFC, about how to incorporate charity wtih CFC.
Shortly after, the 3 of us met for coffee to talk about some ideas. Almost immediately, India came to mind and by the end of the meeting it was decided that the 3 of us we're making a trip to the CrossFit Kids affiliate at the Sri Ram Ashram… and so Leadership as Rx'd was born!
Everything just seemed to fall into place after that. The CrossFit Calgary members were on board and extremely supportive in all of our fundraising efforts. We had a Halloween competition where members worked out in their craziest costumes and a silent auction. One of the CFC members Chelsea Miller raised money by doing 500 burpees for time (completed in an impressive 40m23s), while Brett rowed 20,000m (in an equally impressive 87m33s). There is really something to be said about the community and spirit at CrossFit Calgary.
Meanwhile, we were posting details about our project on our blog and on Facebook. At the same time, Jesse O'Brien of Westlake CrossFit was looking for an opportunity to travel and give back when he came across our posts. He sent in an e-mail to inquire about joining the team for Project India. His passion and willingness to jump in and help was clear, and soon after he joined us in our efforts and had committed to joining us on our trip!
As we were corresponding with Rashmi about the trip we had asked her what she thought we could bring for the kids. We were thinking t-shirts, skipping ropes, maybe a few balls. That's when she came back at us with a GHD and med balls. As far as CrossFit equipment goes, these are likely the two most difficult and heaviest things to carry overseas – aside from maybe a rower. We found out later that Rashmi didn't really expect for us to get a GHD all the way to India, little did she know how determined our little group can be! To be completely truthful though, we weren't really sure we would be able to pull it off either – but we were sure going to try!
Just like the entire trip, this task seemed to fall into place too. First, thanks to two CFC members Kelly and Nancy, a GHD machine was donated to us by the YMCA. Brett took it to the firehall and disassembled it. It was packed into pieces with the med balls. Talk about heavy luggage! With some creative shuffling we managed to get all the luggage just under the weight allowance and off we went to India.
After about 28 hours of travel, we met Jesse in Delhi and headed up towards Hardiwar. Sitting in our van swerving through the streets of India on our way to the Sri Ram Ashram less than a year after my conversation with Mikki seemed completely surreal to me. I looked around at our team Brett, Yasmin, Jesse and was overwhelmed with awe and excitement! This is REALLY happening. We are here… with a friggin' 100kg GHD machine! WOW!!
We arrived to the Sri Ram Ashram orphanage at night. Completely exhausted but somehow filled with joy and energy. Surrounded by over 60 excited kids how could you not be? We immediately headed over to the gym – which is more of a storage room. The Ashram is blessed to have their REAL gym outside – a few bars, a rope in a tree, and a ton of wide open space. Quite honestly, if I didn't live in Canada, it would be my dream gym! We pulled out the med balls and the GHD. The kids were excited. More about the med balls than the pieces of metal that didn't really look like much of anything yet.
It was late and bedtime for most of the kids so we got settled in our rooms and drank chai while Rashmi gave us the rundown of the Ashram.
The rest of the week was a whirlwind of CrossFit classes. The Sri Ram Ashram has classes for each age group and so instruction ranged from the more complex movements and exercises to CrossFit Baseball and leap frog races. What I saw in these kids was truly incredible. Their dedication to perfect form, the effort, and the leadership that comes through these kids was unmatched to anything I've ever seen.
The week went by way too fast and before we knew it, we had one full day left. It started at 6am (with instant coffee). Once we bundled up, the team headed over to the main area for morning exercise and prayer with the kids followed by breakfast in the dining hall. The dining hall was a large room with a marble floor which we sat on to eat. The diet consisted mostly of rice, lentils, and vegetables with yogurt that came from their own cows. Once breakfast was done we got into some more CrossFit, headed out to the market for a bit, came back for more games, and then left for the Aarti ceremony.
Every evening in Haridwar, locals and tourists head down to witness the nightly aarti ceremony. Surrounded by the sound of vocal chants and bells, you watch the flaming torches that symbolize an offering of light to the gods. When the ceremony was complete, we said a prayer, and released our leaves carrying candles and marigolds to float down the flowing Ganges.
As we were leaving we walked through the market. We were stopped by two men offering us the use of their "fortune telling machine." This thing looked like a robot covered with lights and attached to it was a set of headphones from I'm sure 1986. For 10 rupees it will tell you your future with 90% accuracy. Unfortunately, it was Hindi-only so we had to pass.
We returned to the Ashram expecting some sort of surprise – Rashmi had warned us earlier. There were lawn chairs set up outside, a string of lights, and speakers. It started off with a poem read by one of the kids, and the festivities began! The kids had about an hour-long performance for us with dances by all age groups. Some even included back flips! Wow, not only are these kids smart and fit but they also have an incredible talent to dance and choreograph. By the end, and this is the part we were warned about, it was our turn to get up and dance with them, and so we did until bedtime. For the record, CrossFitters from Canada can't dance.
That night, our team stayed up until 3:30am talking – wired from all the positive energy flowing through us. This day still comes up every time we talk about India as the most fulfilling day of the trip.
The next morning the welder came and finished the GHD just in time for Brett to do one last class with the kids and teach them how to use it. Before we knew it, our ride to the train station had arrived and our stay at the Ashram had come to an end. The kids had showered us with drawings, thank you notes, and hugs and we were off with promises to return to this jewel in the jungle.
Team India returned to North America with full hearts thanks to Rahsmi Cole and all of the kids at the Sri Ram Ashram Orphanage.
Photo Credits: Rashmi Cole, Robert Lewis, Amy Lafleche
The Team will share a few Indian Tales and Adventures with the help of some video and photos.
Tea will be provided. No charge! All our welcome.