News-Press Causes Column

CAUSE & EFFECT: Pushing the Tube Up the Mountain Together

CAUSE & EFFECT: Pushing the Tube Up the Mountain Together

If people watching were an official sport, I am fairly certain I could be a contender for the Olympic team or championship game.

Wherever I go I look for opportunities to observe people and their behaviors.  I often say I am listening, but many times I am watching to see what I can learn about others.

Most recently my people watching training took me out of state to a land full of mountains and snow.

One of my favorite people watching moments in these wintery conditions is taking in a couple hours of snow-tubing.  This entails tubers of all ages pushing an inflated rubber tube up a snowy hill to the top and then riding it full speed to the bottom.

Pushing the tube up the mountain is nothing short of a monumental task. Your feet slip, it’s cold, and a tube big enough to ride is just awkward to maneuver.

Kids are the best to watch because the tube is about twice their size, but they are relentless in getting that chariot up the slope because they know the joy of the exhilarating ride to the bottom.

In an afternoon of tubing, the riders will repeat this ritual over and over. But I have noticed some people are more willing to push the tube up the hill than others.

It seems to be some sort of return on investment proposition based on the satisfaction of the ride down.  In my casual observations tenacity is increased when others are there to help or share in the journey.  Groups tubing together will help fellow travelers when the tube gets too cumbersome, and in some cases they will work together to get one tube up the hill and then ride down together.

In every case, the journey is never easy.

A few weeks ago when I was feeling a bit discouraged about a tough journey of my own and was worried about keeping our Southwest Florida Community Foundation team engaged and energized a colleague shared a story she sometimes conveys to her team.

This woman is a trailblazer who I admire and she has successfully launched several community projects that many thought impossible, so I knew she had some sage advice.

Interestingly it also involved a snow laden scenario.  Not of pushing a tube up a hill, but instead a snowball.  She says she often thinks of her projects and community movements as snowballs that are being pushed up a mountain.  At the beginning many people will gather around to help push but when things get tough some fall away.  She keeps her team and volunteers motivated by painting the picture of what will happen once they reach the top of the mountain.

Whatever size snowball they have could roll to the summit; the minute they push it over the other side of the mountain it will gain momentum.  It will pick up speed, size and people who want to be involved.   But none of that happens without finding a way to get to the top with the people who are willing to go with you.

Over the last few months I have read, watched and been inspired by the profiles of the News Press People of the Year nominees and recipients.  These are fellow residents who have accomplished amazing things over the past year.  As my friend shared her story I realized that everyone featured had pushed their own proverbial snowballs up some pretty steep mountains.

Overcoming health issues, human trafficking, business challenges, being under the microscope of the public eye, or finding their way as a next generation leader.  Each story has both its snowball up the mountain and down the mountain moment (You can still find the stories by clicking here).

At the Southwest Florida Community Foundation we also have the great honor and privilege of supporting nonprofit organizations of all sizes and missions in our region.  I see these teams working hard to tackle issues facing the environment, poverty, education, animals, the arts, health and safety, and community development.  They work hard but they need the support of our region.   Just like the tubers who ride in groups, the journey up hill is always better when taken together.

So what snowball or tube are you trying to push up the hill?  Or who could you help up the mountain?  Whichever it is, remember the ride down is worth it and as a semi-pro people (and their causes) watcher, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created over 400 philanthropic funds.  Thanks to them, last year the Foundation invested $5 million in grants and programs to the community.  With assets of $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $67 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan.  Based in Fort Myers, the Foundation has satellite offices located in Sanibel Island, LaBelle (Hendry County), and downtown Fort Myers.  For more information, visit www.FloridaCommunity.com or call 239-274-5900.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southwest Florida Community Foundation grants more than $550,000 to local nonprofits

Southwest Florida Community Foundation grants more than $550,000 to local nonprofits

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has awarded $557,036.00 to both established and new programs that are designed to increase the quality of life in sustainable and equitable ways for Southwest Floridians.

Eighteen local nonprofits were granted money from the community foundation’s available Field of Interest funds, as well as individual and corporate donations resulting from foundation’s Compassionate Shark Tank audience.

The nonprofits include: Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association – Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, Audubon of the Western Everglades, CROW – Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc., Family Initiative Incorporated, Glades Education Foundation, Inc., Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Inc., Gulf Coast Symphony, Gulfshore Opera, Hendry County School District, Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships, I Will Mentorship Foundation, JFCS of Southwest Florida, Lee County Alliance for the Arts, New Mission Systems International, Sanibel Sea School, the School District of Lee County and The Heights Center.

Some examples of the regional funding include Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association – Florida Gulf Coast Chapter’s REACHing Southwest Florida (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health). This program provides training for caregivers of people with Alzheimers to reduce burden and depression, improve ability to provide self-care, provide social support, and help caregivers learn how to manage difficult behaviors in care recipients.

The Hendry School District’s Clewiston Industrial Mechanics Program will focus on providing training and a link to employment in the area of industrial and farm mechanics. A huge demand for this high skill high wage trade exists within the community. Providing this training will help bridge an unemployment gap as well as provide a qualified workforce locally trained.

The Heights Center’s Teach.Learn.Connect (T.L.C.) program will allow parents to receive training for three hours each week on such topics as: forming positive relationships, building self-esteem, positive discipline, conflict resolution, communication, the power of encouragement, fostering responsibility and resiliency, routines and structure, interactive literacy, math and more. Training will be presented by certified professionals and will incorporate time for parents and children to work together as new skills are practiced.

The first award from the new Fund for the Environment of Southwest Florida was granted to Audubon of Western Everglades’ Protection of Vital Wetlands and Habitats in Southwest Florida which works to preserve as much Southwest Florida wetland acreage via “smart growth” where it does the least environmental damage while still providing benefit to the local economy.  Building in environmentally sensitive areas jeopardizes not only the broad natural vistas many of us enjoy but also wetlands, which are critical for clean drinking water supplies as well as for the health of creeks, rivers, estuaries, beaches and wildlife habitat.

“Awarding this funding is just the start of our partnership with this regional mix of nonprofits,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Foundation.  “We will stay connected with them all year in a learning community where we share information and build our partnerships with the nonprofit and its leadership.”

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. Last year, it partnered with individuals, families and corporations that have created more than 400 philanthropic funds over the last 40 years. Thanks to them, the Foundation’s invested $5 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of more than $93 million, it has provided more than $67 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Community Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. Based in Fort Myers, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation has satellite offices located on Sanibel Island, in LaBelle (Hendry County) and downtown Fort Myers. 

 

For more information about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com.

Some Records Are Made to be Broken

Some Records Are Made to be Broken

I recently heard a story in which a man was trying to break a Guinness World Record by rowing the distance in a boat made out of a huge, human-sized pumpkin grown originally to win the record for the world’s largest pumpkin competition.  When his prized pumpkin came up short, he found another record to beat.  I had never heard of a pumpkin boat much less a record for the longest miles rowed in a gourd.

When he set out on his adventure he knew from the folks at Guinness that he needed to travel 8 miles to break the record.  The voyage went off without a hitch and when the 8-mile finish line was in sight he received an urgent text informing him that the old record had been broken the week before with an astonishing 15 mile journey.

So the great pumpkin traveled on and 13 hours later made it to the 25.6-mile mark, crushing the previous record.

I am sure that to the pumpkin growing captain breaking the record was of utmost importance but the rest of us were probably not losing sleep over it.

Records and milestones provide people and organizations unique opportunities to celebrate accomplishments and milestones.  Some are personal bests while others impact entire communities.

In this edition of Florida Weekly you will find the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s annual report to the community. And I am pleased to report that our generous donors have reached a record of their own in 2016:  A record breaking $5 million year of investing in our region.

This is only possible through powerful partnerships with donors, funding partners and a visionary board of trustees.  But it’s not only about the dollars, the investment also represents a diverse funding stream addressing a variety of community opportunities including the environment, social justice issues, economic development, the arts and health, safety and animals, and more.

More resources to support these important causes is a record worthy of being broken every year.

Our goal in 2107 is to create more record breaking moments of change.  I hope we have the tenacity and drive of the pumpkin paddler to not only hit the mark but move way beyond it for the good of our region.

Please read our annual report here in Florida Weekly, and go online at www.floridacommunity.com/annual-report to view the hundreds of partners and supporters of the Foundation’s work.  If you want to get involved and become a change-maker, or simply be part of a record with us, please let me know at [email protected].

 

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. Last year, the Foundation partnered with individuals, families and corporations who have created over 400 philanthropic funds.  Thanks to them, we’ve invested $5 million in grants and programs to the community.  With assets of $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $67 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan.  Based in Fort Myers, the Foundation has satellite offices located in Sanibel Island, LaBelle (Hendry County), and downtown Fort Myers.  For more information, visit www.FloridaCommunity.com or call 239-274-5900.

 

 

 

 

 

Community Foundation to showcase Wide Open Spaces exhibit

Community Foundation to showcase Wide Open Spaces exhibit

New exhibit features Florida outdoors by two local artists

Coming off the successful “Faces of Philanthropy” exhibit celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2016, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation will launch a new art display at its Community Hub in November.

Beginning Nov. 4, “Wide Open Spaces” will feature the Florida outdoors through the eyes of local artists Martin Gembecki and Brad Phares.

Buckingham resident Gembecki is a North Fort Myers High School and Ringling School of Art and Design graduate in the field of illustration. After graduation, he worked for local ad agencies before becoming a firefighter, yet remained self-employed as an artist. While fishing with friends, he would photograph local wildlife and produce pieces of art based on the Matlacha, Pine Island Sound areas.

“My love of Florida cowboys and their culture began with the help of Latt Armeda,” Gembecki said. “Latt and his family invited me to visit their ranch in Alva to photograph and help work their cows.”

This invitation led to Gembecki to be able to pursue painting what he captured in acrylic, and today he is living his dream of being a Florida cowboy artist.

Phares is an eighth generation rancher, artist, poet, writer and attorney from Okeechobee. After graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in agriculture and later from St. Thomas University School of Law with a Juris Doctor, he chose to focus on his art rather than pursuing a career as an attorney.

“I’ve channeled my childhood experiences working on my family’s ranch with my multi-faceted background into oil paintings and writings to provide a perspective on ranch life unlike any other,” Phares said. “I want to enlighten others as to the invaluable benefits that Florida ranches provide to our State’s ecosystem and economy.”

The majority of Phares’ work captures and represents a realist view of ranch life in America today rather than an overly romanticized version that so many people in urban areas hold. He has exhibited throughout the southeastern U.S., and his paintings are collected by private corporations and public institutions as well as the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

The exhibit is open to the public and will run through mid-January during regular Community Foundation business hours: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some photos are located in meeting rooms so those interested in seeing the exhibit are asked to call before arriving to make sure all areas are accessible. The Community Hub is located at 8771 College Parkway, Building 2, Suite 201 in Fort Myers.

As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, fosters collective leadership, inspires social innovation and connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations to address the evolving community needs in our region. With assets of more than $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided $67 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. The Foundation serves as the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan.

For more information about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com.

 

Version 2 Phares - image 2 Martin Gembecki  Gembecki - Fish HouseGembecki - stragglers

Glades County Regional Training Center Will Stimulate the Economy

Glades County Regional Training Center Will Stimulate the Economy

by Paul Carlisle, Glades County Manager

The Glades County Regional Training Center located in Moore Haven Florida has just signed leases for two training classes. The grant that the training center received from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation was paramount in getting this underway. The funding was used to install the phone and internet that is crucial for operating the facility. The first certification class will provide CDL training, testing and licensing for commercial truck drivers. There is a significant shortage of drivers that deliver most all of the things we purchase at stores and restaurants. Our ability to provide this training will improve the workforce in our community and provide much needed service to our employers.

The Glades County School Board funded a portion of the purchase of the classroom furnishings and they will be holding classes for those wishing to obtain citizenship. This is the first step in obtaining meaningful employment in the region. These classes begin in early September.

The partnership with the Community Foundation has provided more than funding but also great resources for networking with agencies that provide similar training and education opportunities. As we move forward we are looking to partner with these agencies to allow a broad spectrum of training that complements each facility.

Good Wheels has obtained funding to provide transportation from the Training Center to Florida South Western in LaBelle and Itech in Immokalee. This provides students with options to receive training and standard college degree courses by having the college and the two training centers connected. Additionally Okeechobee County Economic Development is also going to provide transportation to the Training Center for those that want to take the CDL training course. This Training Center is truly a regional facility.

Having just started with classes we are already expanding the Training Center. With funding from the State of Florida we will be adding two new classrooms. These are designed for heavy diesel mechanic certifications and welding certifications. Our research shows that these are areas where there is a significant shortage of available workers to fill these positions. These new classrooms will need the use of the systems that were funded by the Foundation and that opens up such great possibilities for the future of the region.

The goal of the Center is to provide the skilled workforce to attract businesses to the region. This will provide more job opportunities and stimulate the economy in the region. It can create a more diverse economy that is much more sustainable. We also know that as the current workforce begins to retire those workers will need to be replaced with the next generation of workers. So part of the succession planning for companies will be to support this center to allow them to have the needed workforce to continue to provide the goods and services that we all need every day.

This summer and fall, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is spotlighting the nonprofit organizations funded through the 2016 competitive grant cycle.  We have asked our 2016 grantees to send us their stories.  The Foundation is pleased to partner with these change-makers. 

About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $63 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $3.2 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, as well as provided regional community impact grants and scholarship grants.

 

Glades Education Foundation receives $15,000 grant

Glades Education Foundation receives $15,000 grant

FORT MYERS, Fla. (May 2, 2016) – The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, a FutureMakers Coalition partner along with Lumina Foundation, has awarded the Glades Education Foundation a $15,000 grant.

The grant will be used to support the Glades Education Foundation’s AVID About Success mentoring program to increase the number of students receiving mentoring and skill advancement for academic success.

AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a research-based program that brings strategies and curriculum to classrooms to prepare students, grades 6 through 12, for success in middle and high school.

According to Glades Education Foundation’s Executive Director Laura Perry, the foundation plans to establish the program in grades 7 through 9 in the initial startup year at Moore Haven Middle-Senior High School and grades 6 through 8 in West Glades School, while Pemayetv Emahakv Charter Middle School will be a planning site.

“We expect to see improved enrollment in school mentoring programs within Glades County middle and high schools resulting in improved teacher-student relationships, peer support, increased knowledge of personal achievement strategies, increased knowledge of important study and test-taking skills, and increased inquiry and communication skills,” said Perry. “We also hope to see an increase in the number of first-generation students matched with mentors.”
Perry added that the goal is to see an increase in the number of middle school student enrollment in advanced coursework such as algebra I honors, geometry honors and biology I honors as well as honors and dual enrollment classes at the high school level.

“We expect students will continue in the AVID program through 12th grade and be accepted into a college, university or career academy,” she said.
AVID students will also learn how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as well as other scholarship and financial aid applications, resulting in an increased number of FAFSA completions.

The mission of AVID is for students to be focused on post-secondary education.

Glades Education Foundation grant April 2016

About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation

As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $93 million, the it has provided more than $63 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $3.2 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, as well as provided regional community impact grants and scholarship grants.


About FutureMakers Coalition

The FutureMakers Coalition is working to increase post-secondary certification completion in Southwest Florida and promote the knowledge and skills needed for success in the workplace and in life. Formed in 2015 around existing regional collaborations, the Coalition’s goal is to transform the workforce by increasing the number of college degrees and post-secondary certifications from 27 percent to 40 percent by 2025 throughout Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties.

As one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment, the FutureMakers Coalition is a regional partnership involving education, government, business, nonprofit and citizen stakeholders, and advocates committed to creating a cradle-to-career pathway to ensure success for traditional students and adult learners. The Lumina Foundation is an independent private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation serves as the anchor organization for the Coalition. The FutureMakers Coalition’s collective effort encourages residents to join and support this community-changing initiative. It is looking for partners from all sectors to invest resources, including time, expertise, funding and more. For more information, visit www.FutureMakersCoalition.com, call 239-274-5900 or email Tessa LeSage at [email protected].

Women’s Legacy Fund’s call for grant applications

Women’s Legacy Fund’s call for grant applications

FORT MYERS, Fla. (June 29, 2015) – The Women’s Legacy Fund (WLF) of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation has opened its annual call for grant applications. This year, the WLF will be awarding $20,000 to an organization that increases access to goods and services for women and/or girls in a neighborhood in Southwest Florida.

Examples of programs that increase access to goods and services include, but are not limited to, a plan to distribute reduced cost bus passes to low-income women in the neighborhood to increase their access to goods and services; a series of neighborhood health days with free or low-cost doctors/dentists to increase access to health care; or a youth carnival at a neighborhood park to increase access to recreation.

For this grant cycle, ideas that increase access to food in neighborhoods are not eligible. Additionally, organizations must involve those that they wish to serve in the design of their program idea.

Organizations wishing to apply for the grant must meet the basic eligibility requirements:

Nonprofit organizations exempt from Federal income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and units of government are eligible. (501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) agencies are ineligible.)
Applicants must be located in and primarily serve residents of Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, Glades, and Collier counties.
Eligible organizations must be governed by a volunteer board of directors with at least five unrelated members.
Organizations must conduct business without discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, national origin or religious affiliation.

Agency leaders interested in receiving a grant through the Women’s Legacy Fund must submit a LOI (Letter of Idea) between June 29 and July 31. This letter is not a full, traditional Request for Proposal (RFP) but a one-page snapshot of the program/project idea.

LOIs will be narrowed based on alignment with the Women’s Legacy Fund priorities, and the top programs/projects will be invited to the Compassionate Shark Tank on Sept. 10. Applicants will be asked to prepare a three-minute presentation for the panel. The panel will ask questions about the organization’s LOI and presentation.

Awards will be announced in October 2015.

A fund of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Women’s Legacy Fund is a group of women who foster the immersion of women in philanthropy and develop the region’s next philanthropic leaders. In just eight years of existence, the WLF has been able to provide $100,000 in grants to benefit people and communities in Southwest Florida. Currently, the Fund has more than $400,000 in endowment that will continue to help fund local issues now and in the future.

Contributors to the WLF give a minimum of $250 each year ($100 for women under 25 years of age). The first half of contributions is pooled for the purpose of immediate annual grants, while the second half is pooled into the WLF’s endowment fund, which provides additional grants to be made both now and in years to come. Prima Donors are local women who have contributed $10,000 or more to the WLF endowment and are committed to making an impact in their community through charitable giving.

As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $88 million, the Community Foundation has provided $61.2 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $2.9 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services. It granted $782,000 in nonprofit grants including more than $551,000 in regional community impact grants and additional $450,000 in scholarship grants.

For more information about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com.

 

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The Boot That (almost) Stole Christmas

The Boot That (almost) Stole Christmas

In a flurry of holiday preparation I made a bold leap to the top of a closet to stash a box of decorations out of the way.  Somewhere mid-flight the crate I used as my launching pad gave way and I came crashing to the floor.  The moment I landed I knew my right foot would not bear an ounce of weight and I silently mumbled “Merry Christmas to me” under my breath and then yelled for help.

This year I am giving winter boot season a whole new meaning and sporting an orthopedic contraption on my foot that enables me to move freely, yet slowly along my merry holiday way.

For the first few days I was committed to keeping a great attitude, but as Christmas drew closer, my holiday cheer seemed to be fading away.   Everything I needed to accomplish was taking twice as long and my patience was wearing thin.  I began to feel as if the boot was actually draining Christmas joy from my body.

I knew I needed to make a last minute mental adjustment or instead of the Grinch who stole Christmas I would be living out my own rendition of the boot that stole Christmas.  If Dr. Seuss’s hardhearted mean-spirited Grinch could turn things around then so could I.

Fortunately, as if on cue, I met a Salvation Army Red Kettle bell ringer who helped me put things into perspective.  I was hobbling my way into a store with I am sure the grinchiest of attitudes when he stopped mid ring to ask me what happened. I reluctantly shared my story and as if I was in a momentary therapy session expressed my concern about my less than stellar attitude.

He smiled warmly and without judgment shared that he could never be down at Christmas because for decades he had been ringing the bell for the Army.  In fact just the year before he had had double knee replacement but it was not going to keep him from his holiday tradition of helping others.  Apparently he had to receive special permission to sit on a walker, rather than stand to fulfill his duties.  There was not a single hint of the Grinch in him, and he said that was one of his best years on the bell. He felt so grateful that the surgery had not held him back and it made him appreciate this year in a new and special way.

It also gave him the empathy to reach out to this Grinch as she made her way past his kettle, and gives her the attitude adjustment she desperately needed and the inspiration to pass it on to others facing much greater challenges than a bionic boot. If you are looking for ways to pay it forward this holiday season, I’d like to hear from you, [email protected]

 

Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand.   – from The Grinch That Stole Christmas