The modern world is so busy, fearful and emphasizing material wealth it is difficult for people to experience the tremendous joy of helping others...especially strangers. - Greg Acuna, founder of Planet Earthlings
How can we meet our desire to find purpose and happiness? Individuals in search for deeper purpose are also finding that the search does not lie in filling the quest for wealth, status or security. Many of our grantees agree that while you have to look within, it’s impossible to find true purpose without looking out. True fulfillment is not complete unless you uplift others along your path. When we manage to find our own purpose and happiness by uplifiting those around us, we discover the most transformational exchanges of human energy.
Jean Paul Laurent discovered that wealth accumulation and happiness do not tie together when he went back to his home in Haiti. “I noticed the children, surrounded by distressing conditions, were still able to smile... but these smiles were deteriorating from a lack of proper dental care. I didn’t think it was right for pure joy to be ruined by poor oral health.” Jean Paul quickly found his higher calling by sharing what he already knows, dental hygiene. As a dental hygienist he came up with the idea for Unspoken Smiles because, “behind each smiles there is a story to be told,” as he explains it.
According to the World Dental Federation, tooth decay is the most widespread chronic disease worldwide and the most preventable. The Unspoken Smiles Foundation has already helped over 4,000 children with an aim to help another 12,000 more by 2018 by teaching oral hygiene to children in low-income, under-served communities and through the Unspoken Smiles Fellowship, which trains unemployed women to be dental assistants so they can provide basic dental cleanings within their own communities. Jean Paul discovered the magic of giving back and how it can save a smile so it can tell it’s story and promotes a world that is ready to listen.
Greg Acuna, like Jean Paul, understands the magic of giving back and how it uplifts entire communities. “Since I was a little boy I dreamed we could create a world where everyone is taken care of and violence is never an option. I'm motivated by the strong feeling that we humans are basically the same and deep down we find our greatest joy connecting and helping each other.” Greg’s contribution to the planet is Planet Earthlings, a series of empowering games with the end goal of creating a gamified educational virtual world based on cooperation and collaboration with the central goal of empowering young people to change the real world.
So why does giving back and uplifting others feel so good? Science has proven that the mind does not actually detect the difference between giving and receiving. Meaning that both the person receiving and the person giving experience the same level of happiness and fulfillment. And while we can not control who gives to us, we can certainly control how and when give others. And this discovery right here, might just be the fastest route to spiritual fulfillment and finding your purpose.
Today we honor 14 amazing grants that we have given in the past 14 days. Our grants empower everyday heroes into finding their purpose through uplifting the world around them. Where do you fit in?
Gillian Squirrell founded Street Coach to create workshops, trainings and coaching for people to go out and help community members suffering from homelessness. “Street Coach cannot magic up affordable housing, health care or employment, but it can work with people in a dignified way that offers to witness what is experienced, support aspirations and assist personal development and change.”
Funded by Maria Elena, Sergio and Ursula; IIPSIS is a non-profit organization in Queretaro, México. Since globally, men are most likely to be related to killing, both as perpetrators and victims, they organize retreats, workshops and recreational activities to inspire young men to develop a sense of commitment to the peace-building process in their communities.
Matt Wildenauer, Ean Koerner and Matthew Peterson founded The Wildflower Project in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They plant wildflower gardens in underutilized or vacant spaces to restore pollinator habitats while bringing natural beauty back to urban communities.
Arianna Espinosa Oliver and Maria Leonor Hernandez are the founders of Tres Cocos, a non-profit that seeks to support socio-economic development and institutional capacity-building in the Caribbean region in Colombia.
Charité Chrétienne pour Personnes en Détresse, a non-profit organization, founded by Pastor Yawo Agbeko Tsevi, started Recycling Human Waste To Improve Sanitation And Produce Food to improve access to clean water and safe sanitation.
Nathan Georgette, Majahonkhe Shabangu, Roy Zhang, and Dario Sava co- founded Sawubona Health which runs the project Helping People Fight HIV And TB With Simple Text Messages. Based out of South Africa, they work with clinics to encourage the use of text messages to encourage HIV positive patients to stick with their treatment throughout their lifetime.
Lightning Bolt Collective founders Katie Loncke, Max Airborne and Hasmik Geghamyan train small business workers and owners in Oakland CA, to bring safety to the community buy training them in how to deal with interactions with ICE, de-escalation and alternatives to calling the police, basic medic training, advocacy for gender-neutral restrooms, and advancing Disability Justice.
Milteri Tucker Concepcion, teaches youth and adults Afro Puerto Rican Bomba and Caribbean Diaspora Dance and Drum Workshops that connect participants to their cultural roots and fosters positive communication in at risk, low income South Bronx communities
The objective of Help A Refugee founded by Jalal Abuhamdiya in USA, is to help Syrian refugees feel at home upon arrival to the USA, so they do not feel as lonely and afraid of living in a country that has a different culture and language thank theirs.
Ikuba John Ona’s current project involves using innovative educational training videos to teach agribusiness skills and practical farm internships so senior university students can graduate with livlihood skills that will reduce Nigeria’s huge unemployment rate.
Hank Stapleton started Mobile Free Store For Homeless Veterans in Ohio, to deliver basic supplies such as hygiene products, clothing, camp fuel, water and more to veterans experiencing homelessness
The Northeast Florida Guide to Farms, Local Food, and Sustainability eBook was developed by Kimberly Ferguson, to connect people in Northeast Florida to their food and help them understand the significant role that food systems play in their health.