Guest blog by Cynthia Kersey
The idea comes to you like a lightning bolt.
A-ha, that’s it!
It’s the perfect gift.
It is thoughtful and personal and it will bring great joy to the other person.
You can imagine their face when they open it; the big smile, the surprised and delighted eyes and perhaps a tear or two.
You just can’t wait to give it.
Have you ever given that perfect gift? Have you ever experienced the sheer bliss and excitement that comes with it? Your delight is unrelated to any acknowledgment or accolades you might receive in return. It comes from deep inside you – from your desire to bring joy to others.
My perfect gift was birthed when I took a huge leap of faith and unabashedly followed my calling. I had been speaking, teaching and coaching people on how to be unstoppable for over a decade while a deeper passion had been evolving. I had been involved in many philanthropic endeavors throughout the past years that brought me sheer joy. But over the last couple of years, something captured my heart like never before.
In my travels to undeveloped countries, I witnessed children and their families barely surviving and living without hope of a better future. I also saw a few communities where the children actually had a school to go to, but they were nothing more than shacks made of sticks, dung and dirt floors. These children literally ran to these huts in pure delight for the opportunity to learn and have hope for a better future. The fact that 120 million children, 30% of whom live in Africa, will never step foot into a classroom was something that haunted me.
Feeling called to do something to support these children and their communities, I started to do research and found that there is no magic bullet to eliminate poverty.
But if there was something close to magic, it would be universal primary education.
Education has a larger impact than any other form of help or aid we can give. Studies show that for every year of education a child receives, HIV rates go down, early pregnancy rates decrease and earning potential increases. Just by learning to read and write 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty.
In 2008, I decided to turn my birthday into a fund-raiser and invited everyone I knew to a party to help me with this mission. That evening was truly magical for all who attended and we raised $80,000 that helped fund two schools in Uganda
That night I got hooked! I thought if I could raise the money to build two schools in one night, what could I do if I really put my mind to it? It was now a full-blown passion of mine.
The following two years, I shared this mission with virtually everyone I encountered and have raised enough money to build 11 schools in Africa and educate a few thousand children.
While I was deeply grateful for what we had been able to do so far, I was compelled to do more. I felt I simply could no longer participate in this amazing work on a part-time basis. Now keep in mind, I was single with no financial support coming from any other sources but my own business. My live coaching courses and speaking engagements were my primary source of income and if I weren’t doing both, I wasn’t bringing in enough money to support myself. While the idea of leaving the security of my business petrified me, I called my associates and said it would no longer be business as usual and that I was now focusing 100% of my energy on my mission.
Leaving my business behind, I came up with my first project. I would leverage the relationships I already had and invite leaders in the personal development, business, and internet marketing world to do something that’s never been done before: I got 30 bestselling authors and experts donating products that they were currently selling for hundreds (even thousands) of dollars each – for free – for a small donation to educate a child!
That’s how GiveALittleGetALot.com was born. I wanted it to be a campaign that tangibly rewarded the giver and the receiver.
If you have ever had fear or anxiety about what it would take to follow your passion, I hope that my story will encourage you to take your first steps. You don’t need to know how it will all work out, you only need to have faith that when you are committed, you will be supported. As you connect with a Divine calling that is bigger than yourself, miracles await you.
My wish is for you to experience the joy of giving the perfect gift this holiday season. One way to take your first steps is to go to www.GiveALittleGetALot.com and register. You will have an opportunity to not only give yourself the gift of educational tools that can change your life, but you’ll receive the gift of knowing that you’ve transformed the life of a child forever.