Friday, July 12, 2013

Yes You Can, Even if You're a Kid

Zach Bonner, age 9, and his mother and others
walking to raise money for homeless youth, 2007
You don't have to be grown up to have a compassionate heart that sees a need you can help meet. There are lots of kids who are spurred to action when they come face to face with other people's difficulties.

When Zach Bonner was seven, he was watching the news of the devastation Hurricane Charley leveled on Punta Gorda, a town not far from his own in Florida. He was compelled to act. So he and his sister Kelley went door to door, picking up donations from his neighbors who had been spared in the hurricane to share with those who had been hit. They ended up with 27 truckloads of emergency supplies, food, and water.

Zach started a non-profit called Little Red Wagon Foundation and turned his attention to homelessness and walked with his mom and sister from Tampa to Tallahassee, raising $25,000 for homeless kids. Other walks for homeless kids have been from Atlanta, Georgia to Washington DC in 2009 -- a 59 day walk -- and a six-month long Walk Across America (Tampa to Los Angeles), 2.478 miles!

Now 15, his most recent project involved him spending a week in a plexiglass box set up near a Florida mall. More than 6,000 cans of food were donated for Metropolitan Ministries (an outreach to the poor and homeless) and Frances House, which serves the HIV/AIDS community as a result of his efforts.

Zach's story is told in the movie, The Little Red Wagon, the incredible story of one child with a passion to help others. Here's the trailer:

Then there's Ryan Hreljec, who was sitting in his first grade classroom in Ontario when his teacher told
Ryan Hreljec, 2006, at one of his
wells in Uganda
the children about the need for water in Uganda. For $70 a well could be dug to provide for a community. Ryan earnestly pursued his goal of raising $70 by taking on extra chores (and pestering his parents!), and out of that experience Ryan's Well Foundation was born. Ryan recently graduated from college. To date, his foundation has provided 749 wells and 992 latrines for the people of Uganda. And in the process he met Jimmy, a Ugandan boy who started out as his penpal and was eventually adopted by Ryan's parents!

These are just two kids who have made a difference in the world. They started young and to this day continue to pursue their passion to help others.

Maybe you're young -- too young, you think -- to do something bigger than yourself. If it is a passion, there's a good chance God has placed it in your heart. Trust him, and go for it!

Or maybe a child has come to you with an idea that seems preposterous, impossible! Don't shut him or her down. It might, indeed, be preposterous or a passing fancy. But it just might be what that child was designed for. Just maybe God is raising that child up to do something BIG and is saying to him or her, "Yes, you can!"

Stand back, friend, and see what God will do!

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