Every Saturday, we mentor youth in South Central Los Angeles housing projects. Last week, we were also armed with 30 huge bags of toys donated by P.L.A.Y., hundreds of T-shirts donated by the LA Zoo, and several cars full of Red Eyers ready to spread the love and pass out this massive load of toys and clothes.
However, this was no ordinary toy drop. This was incredibly different. At many toy distributions, people rock up with toys, become the "heroes" for a few hours... then leave. But that's not how we roll.
These families aren't just random families in need. NO, NOT AT ALL. These happen to be the same families and children that we just so happen to mentor every Saturday.
It was an incredible feeling seeing the faces of these children running into the huge pile of toys, throwing toys all around in an attempt to make sure they pick their "most favorite, most bestest ever Transformer," Barbie or basketball.
Every week, we get to encourage and instill hope into these courageous families to continue to strive to be the best they can possibly be. So often many families get caught up in victim mentality of always looking for the next handout... and then they expect the handout... and then they depend on the handout. BUT not with these families. These families "get it!"
The families we have the honor of mentoring are continually trying to better their own situation. Whether that be kicking alcohol or a drug, keeping a job, staying away from gangs, or even just getting good grades in school. These families truly understand that it's not easy to get out of the situations that they are now in or were even born into. However, they also know the value that exists in having a better life... a "better life," not necessarily in a financial standpoint, but in the sense of pride of earning a paycheck, spending time and playing with their children, and making education a priority.
With Red Eye we get to see so many different ways of life, and on this day got to pass out a few "rewards" for all of their continued efforts of fighting the good fight and striving for something better.
What's crazy is that Red Eyers get way more back than we actually give away. We get to see the reward of changed lives. And for those few moments, we don't have to worry about our headshots, studio time or next business call. For those few moments, every Saturday, we get to just bend down and look at the children in their eyes... and tell them that they are so precious and deserve nothing less than the absolute best in life!
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