Giving Back

by Brooke Burke-Charvet

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"Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."  - Mother Teresa

I think most of us hope to raise a child who is generous of spirit. Being charitable is something that is super important to me.  I think it is something you feel organically and every so often (hopefully) something moves you to make a difference. Some people are born this way, but most children who grow up to be giving, altruistic adults do so because, as children, they were taught the value of these traits.

I try to share and involve my family in many events that I participate in, hoping my example will affect them.  I often wonder if they get it... Yesterday my 10-year-old made me very proud.

We built a lemonade stand together, my kids love to sell juice in our neighborhood to earn some spending cash.  

My daughter picked the lemons, made the juice, and partnered with a friend to work the stand.  At the day's end, she split the cash with her buddy, kept only $2.00 for herself and I found this envelope on the kitchen counter.

 She was very proud to have raised some money for her passionate cause and shared that she will continue to add to it all summer. Then she told me of a friend of hers who doesn’t accept birthday gifts.  Her gift is that she gets to choose which organization friends and family can make donations to on her behalf. 

“I love that idea, Sierra," I said.  She replied, “Me too, Mommy, that’s cool that my friend gets to choose….”

Another one of my children would NEVER agree to such a donation, but I was touched that one of my kids was open to it, and I will always make those kinds of suggestion hoping for their acceptance.  I believe that charitable efforts should be organic.

A box of Operation Smile material arrived at my house and the visual materials of children born with cleft palates and facial deformities saddened my children.  Although the before and after pics showed dramatic successful changes, it can be a painful sight to see.  I have been on board raising money and awareness with Operation Smile for a few years and I am very committed to the cause.  Being a mother of four healthy children whose smiles are infectious - it breaks my heart to see children who are born without that gift.  But the possibilities of surgery are great and teams like Operation Smile are making a vast difference.

This summer I partnered with Dreyer’s ice cream to launch their Slow Churned campaign and gather ice cream smiles from the public. You can participate at Facebook.com/DreyersIceCream or Facebook.com/EdysIceCream and it's free but you will be participating in an amazing effort to help children worldwide. 

Dreyer’s is giving $5 for every pic they receive and if we reach our goal, we will cover costs for 500 children’s surgeries this year.  Pretty amazing!!!! Read more about it here - "Dreyer's/Edy's Ice Cream Gives Children with Facial Deformities a Reason to Smile"

I launched my new jewelry line last month.  Here’s a pic of my booth at the Vegas Jewelry convention. 

My partner Chad Allison and I decided to give a portion of all sales to Operation Smile as well.  The feel-good factor adds so many good feelings to that new business and I hope it will transcend to many people as well.  My line will be in specialty boutiques in the fall, I’ll keep you posted.

There are so many ways everyone can make a difference if they feel compelled to do so. Giving with your heart, means as much as your wallet.  You can donate your time to many organizations that need more manpower. Give away your gently used items to someone in need, many shelters and churches will even pick up your good at your house.  What is old and used to you may be a treasure to another family that is without.

Today I’m downtown speaking at the International Skechers conference and sharing the success of the Bobs brand.  They just donated 1 million pairs of shoes to children in need. Here’s a shot of us loading the trucks for shipment. 

 

I love what I do, but what’s even more rewarding is teaming up with people who are committed to making a difference.

For more information about Operation Smile, please visit http://www.operationsmile.org/

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