Paying it forward is something we have heard a lot about since that movie came out so many years ago with Helen Hunt. We think about it, when we get into the line at Starbucks now, as it's become somewhat of a "cool" thing to buy a latte for a stranger. For some, that is enough to make them feel fulfilled. We have done something nice for a stranger and off we go. Buying a latte for a stranger is nice, but chances are they could probably afford to buy one on their own anyway. But what about those folks who really go above and beyond to not only "Pay it Forward" but actually identify a need, create a non-profit organization and then reach out to that community they want to serve and really change someone's life? Those people, to me are the ones who not only "Pay it Forward," but they make a real difference in our world.
It's easy to get behind a cause that already exitsts, and don't get me wrong, we have to have people support those incredible causes, as they need our help. But, there is something really divine about the person who uses the good fortune they may have gotten to help a group that is unnoticed.
There are two such people that I have been blessed to know. Arianne Zucker and Shawn Christian. Now, both of these individuals are well known to anyone that watches Daytime TV. You may more easily recognize them by the characters they have played on Days of our Lives, Nicole Walker and Dr. Daniel Jonas.
They are both extremely successful actors, and well respected in their communities. They could easiely get behind someone else's cause and I know they support many. They are busy, really busy, and setting up a non-profit that really has an impact is a lot of work. However, they did!
In 2007 they set out to create Arrow-Heart Adventure Camps in Idaho, a mentoring adventure camp aimed at building character in young teens, and have since expanded their camps to the youth of Detroit and Los Angeles.
Their program introduces these kids to outdoor adventures that nurtures a strong sense of self-worth though the virtues of commitment, communication, courage, compassion, critical thinking and character, and what I think is one of the most important things they provide is the support and life skills for these kids to make positive choices when faced with critical challenges.
It has not been easy to find mentors for these kids, get donations for materials to make the camp, find locations to host the camp and now an incredible after-school program, but with their tenacity, support of a lot of great people and a community that has rallied around the need, they have done it. They could have easily stopped there, but they haven't, just this week, they announced that veteran stunt woman and black belt martial arts expert Sandra Lee Gimpel has jumped on board to help them host a self-defense course in North Hollywood's, Valley Village Park. She is going to work with the young kids of Arrow-Heart and focus on "Courage with a conscience."
They are really branching out and every day finding a way to reach more kids. I think one parent said it best, "My wife and I can definitely see a change in our son Grant. We love that he is becoming more responsible, speaking up for himself and determined to reach his goals.
Using your star power to get something done is not new, but it's still incredible every time you hear of someone who has used their good fame and fortune to reach out an help others. Shawn Christian and Arianne Zucker are touching the lives of so many that may have been forgotten. It's great to see them using the light of their star power to shine on those in need that may otherwise have been forgotten. Any I suspect that they are the type of people that would pay it forward with the latte for a stranger too!
Discover more about ARROW-HEART'S commitment to kids at http://www.arrow-heart.org