STORIES CHANGE THE WORLD
The work your non-profit is doing is changing the world.
The impact your organization is making is so much more than numbers or statistics. The impact is seen in individual lives who will never be the same - because of the work you are committed to.
These stories deserve to be shared and celebrated.
Storytelling is about connecting to other people and helping people to see what you see.
— Michael Margolis
We need more people in the world like Tom Enright.
Tom owns a lightbulb company, GoodBulb, in North Dakota. He’s been giving back to his community through proceeds from the company for years, but decided he could be of more direct use in a place where lightbulbs are desperately needed—remote villages in Uganda where there is no electricity.
Tom and I traveled to Uganda for two weeks, partnering with a local NGO and their team on the ground. We crafted this story that represented so many families there, and combined it with actual footage from our trip. I wanted this film to really capture the struggle that many families face as a result of spending so much money on kerosene, due to a lack of electricity.
I absolutely loved capturing the difference that a simple lightbulb can make for a family. It was heartbreaking to hear about so much need in these communities, yet incredible to see the excitement over these new solar powered lights.
I’m honestly not sure where to even start with all that this trip and shooting this film entailed—it was an adventure to say the least. I truly am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to travel to Uganda, meet so many incredible people that have become friends along the way, and to help share GoodBulb’s powerful story there.
I happened to be in Mozambique for a couple of weeks for my husband’s work, and I reached out to a few non-profits, one of which was Iris Ministries. They are a small, local orphanage that takes the kids who have nowhere else to turn. Over 85% of the children living there are HIV positive, many of whom have been orphaned because of the epidemic.
But more than an orphanage, it really is like a family here. It’s not a wealthy facility with tons of grant money, it's a handful of people being God’s hands and feet to children who need it most.
One of the challenges they face is providing opportunities for the kids to provide for themselves once they leave the home when they are 18-20. Mozambique doesn’t have a great job market, so it’s really essential to have a skill that you can use to provide for yourself.
The biggest blessing to me in making this video was to see the change in Mario as I filmed it. He’s had a hard life, and often has been neglected by the people who were supposed to care for him. From what I’ve heard from Richard, who is the storyteller in this film, focusing this video and giving him this attention amongst the other kids gave him a renewed sense of worth and dignity.
THAT’S what this is all about for me. When not just the film, but the actual process of making it is able to bring dignity and celebration to who a person is.
I could go on and on about all the ups and downs in making this film (like being chased off land for apparently being a white witchdoctor, or almost having my camera forced out of my hands at the public market). Stories for other days!
I'm incredibly blessed to have had this opportunity to tell Mario’s heartbreaking yet redeeming story and can’t wait to see what beautiful things are in store for his life!
Often times we struggle with questions in life surrounding our future. Which opportunity should we pursue? What choice in career do we want?
Filming this video, I had to step back and recognize how grateful I was that I have choices to make in the first place. I get to choose where I work, where I went college, and to pursue my passion. But not everyone gets to make those choices, and not so easily.
I was honored to tell this story about Martha, whose daughters both attend Hope for San Diego. Through their program, she is committed to giving her daughters opportunities she didn’t have at their age.
Martha is an incredible woman, wife, and mother. I was so grateful to get to know her and tell her story for Hope for San Diego’s fundraiser dinner.
For more information on how to serve our community in San Diego, visit Hope for San Diego's website. For more information on a Step Beyond, visit their website here.
Thousands of Haitians had no access to a nearby hospital.
Dr. Eugene Maklin, a Haitian doctor, heard story after story fr0m his patients in the local community clinics he works at daily. He heard stories of parents and children alike dying of treatable emergencies simply because they couldn't get to the hospital in time or couldn't afford a taxi to get there.
250,000 Haitians in the Plaine-Du-Nord community were living without proper access to medical care. Dr. Maklin knew this was an obstacle that could be overcome.
It was an incredible journey to watch Dr. Maklin bring the vision of the hospital into existence. While visiting Haiti in 2014, I saw the land for the hospital when it was just vacant lot donated by the government.
In 2015, when I filmed this video, the hospital was two floors of rebar and concrete walls. But as the story was told and shared, people were inspired by Dr. Maklin's passion and heart and gave to help this hospital become a reality.
Now, New Hope Hospital is a full-service hospital: delivering babies, performing surgeries, and saving lives. It's a true honor to have been a part of the journey.
A dance competition that's about more than trophies.
That's what Sandra Choi, founder of Just Dance Invitational, dreamed of as dancer herself. She wanted to give them something truly valuable to take away when the competition was over, not just something that sat on a shelf.
When dancers compete at Just Dance Invitational they are competing for cash scholarships to put towards their college tuition. They are also provided with complimentary workshops by talented instructors. Talk about valuable!
Sandra's vision is to inspire girls towards higher education and the confidence to achieve whatever they set their hearts on. I loved meeting these incredible girls and hearing their passion in how dancing makes them alive.
An education and a full stomach is not a guarantee for children in Nepal.
In this tiny but rugged country nestled between India and China, there is no free education provided by the government. At a minimum, families need to pay for exam fees, books, and a uniform. And for many families that's just too much to cover when there's several kids in the family.
The horrendous earthquake in 2015 made matters worse. Kids were left without school buildings and homes. Parents were left with no land, and thus no way to farm and create an income.
I happened to be creating a film with a pastor in Nepal only days before the earthquake hit. Through the film through the partnership of this pastor, we shared the need and connected generous families with orphans and children in need.
The outpouring of support through monthly sponsorships led us to start a non-profit, Partners For Nepal. Through the generosity of our sponsors, these kids with an excellent eduction and nutrition, but also incredible self-esteem knowing there is someone around the world who knows them by name and cares for them.
This video is a short recap from a recent trip in 2017, where our team delivered backpacks and letters from sponsors to their children.
While editing this film, I also included an excerpt from one of my favorite pastors, Francis Chan. I felt his sermon to adequately expressed my thoughts and feelings on caring for the poor.
I'm based out of San Diego, but I am passionate about telling stories around the world.
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