These are the themes I’ve heard over and over in 2009:
People on the internet are only on there to be negative.
We are in a recession/depression. Nobody has any money.
People are too busy watching TV - they are numbed out and don’t care about anything.
I’m sure this could be true but I am happy to say that I have no proof of it.
I’m here to say - THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
A few weeks ago my nephew told me that he had to raise $3,000 for a school trip to Rwanda. His high school is headed there to help tutor English-speaking orphans who are victims of the effects of the genocide there years ago. He is not some world-traveling kid who does this sort of thing. This is out of the goodness of his heart and his genuine interest and understanding of what it takes in a global community to make things right.
My nephew mentioned that he still had about $1200 to raise and time was running out. I wish I was rich enough to just hand him over a check…but I hoped I could help by trying to utilize all of the people that I know. I’m lucky to be blessed with hundreds of friends all over the country as well as fans of my comedy and The Chelsea Lately show. Between my Facebook and Twitter followers, I was hoping that if everyone gave even $1 - we could raise this money.
I wasn’t sure at first what kind of a dent I would make. I certainly didn’t expect to be able to raise all $1200 of the bucks.
One day someone wrote me, “It’s better to send the $ to the orphans than have a North American boy go there.” It got me down. But then I realized that 1 negative comment is nothing to pay attention to. This kid wasn’t right. I truly believe that something magical happens when you see people from 1st world nations come to your world to help for no reason other than they believe it’s the right thing to do. That goes so much further than just money.
Anyway - I kept re-tweeting my request and updating my Facebook. I was very self-conscious about it because I didn’t want to bother anyone. But I know that constant reminders are helpful and not everyone saw each thing I posted.
On New Years Eve day - friends starting re-tweeting and spreading the word. I called it a virtual “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I kept refreshing the paypal account set up for the trip and $ was just pouring in - $5, $10, $20. Small amounts that added up in less than a week to $1200.
I can’t thank you enough - everyone who donated. Especially the people who told me that they are broke, unemployed but want to do something. I think we saw that it’s all about doing a small amount and passing the word on.
I was humbled and honored and my faith in humanity restored by what I saw. None of you know my nephew and you had the humanity and compassion to want to help. There is nothing more perfectly wonderfully human than that.
Thanks for inspiring me and helping someone to help others.