As a granddaughter to a survivor of the Armenian genocide, I am personally affected by the Good Will of people who help those in need.
My grandfather was orphaned and living in Romania when he was gifted an anonymous scholarship to a school in Venice. From there, he was able to make his way to America, fought in WWII, returned to the States and began a company to support his new family.
The full story of Rags to Riches does not involve one person. It involves trust, faith, ingenuity, hard work, smart work, and accepting and returning help from others.
His good works began small, but as he grew in blessings, he was able to give back in more significant ways. He commissioned a fresh water system for his home country where villagers previously had to walk miles for fresh water. He shipped dozens of used copy machines from the states to businesses in Armenia who were unable to afford necessary equipment to keep up.
My grandfather's life taught me the importance of giving back. I've intentionally made it a habit to seek ways to help others as he did. But not just by donating money. Philanthropy starts small, with gestures as simple as lending a listening ear to someone who needs to be heard, holding the door open for a stranger, buying the next in line's coffee, or simply smiling at a passerby.
I am pleased to support and share the following charities who I believe embody the same principles:
- Armenian Relief Society - Helps support social, educational, health, and welfare efforts of the Armenian people throughout the world. Armenia was my Grandpop's homeland. It's where his story began. And although losing his home, parents, community, and security before he was even born was a tragic beginning, he shaped his life to a beautiful outcome, which in turn, helped shape my Dad's life, and my life, and every other life who's been inspired to live a meaningful life after hearing his story. The Armenian Relief Society is one my family feels very connected to, as there are still many Armenian families struggling for food, safety, and a home - things we so often take for granted.
- Variety The Children's Charity - Provides life-changing equipment, services, and experiences to children who have special needs and gifts. I first met "Aunty B" in Australia. She's a legendary woman, respected by many, who was given an award by the Queen of England for her life-long generosity to this charity. Talk about a shining role model - this woman's it.
- Sow Good Now - Teaches children philanthropy through sports. My Mom's friend spent her life savings to begin this charity against all odds. They've grown to an impressive outreach with professional athletes teaching kids what matters most when it comes to sports, healthy habits, overcoming life's obstacles, self discipline, and the amazing feeling of helping the next one in line when/while you reach your goals.
- Jacob’s Place - One of the greatest inspirations for families with autistic children - a true story, "The Spark" by Kristine Barnett explains how a mother saves the extraordinary mind of her son who was almost lost to autism. As a 3 year old, Jacob was incorrectly labeled as hopeless. He now has an IQ higher than Einstein's, a photographic memory, and taught himself calculus in two weeks. His family began 'Jacob's Place' to give hope and support to other families with autistic children. What legends.
- Free Wheelchair Mission - Do you want to know what true gratitude looks like? It looks like a mother's face as her handicapped child is given a wheelchair that she was unable to afford. Next time you spend $80 like it's nothing, think about this - an $80 donation gave someone's son the freedom of mobility.