Looking back, I have to admit that some of my greatest accomplishments occurred when I was helping others move mountains. Whether it was teaching TV Production, giving my students real-world experiences in NYC, or advocating relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, helping others has always had a special place in my heart.
Sometimes I still look back at Hurricane Sandy, which displaced thousands, and it still seems to put me in a dismal place. When it happened I felt a sense of urgency to help those in need. With the help of the NC community, my friends, and my family, we were able to collect donations for victims of Hurricane Sandy in NJ and NY; my friends and I was able to secure a tractor-trailer to go to and from NY three times with a driver & supplies. I called my church and it became the place where supplies were brought to by the entire community. My family and friends in NY were on the receiving end and helped distribute to those in need.
It didn’t stop there. The monetary donations were non-stop and we had assembly lines of friends and families distributing the funds by going home to home. One of my students, Gene, who was working on the set “Revolution” had the entire set donating to our cause. I was shocked at the snowball effect the generosity of my small-town NC community had on the “Restore the Shore” effort along the East Coast.
“The Big Yellow Truck” was quite the act of compassionate helping. When the crews of news stations began to show up, that’s when I knew that my community service was way more than just a hobby. Aside from the press, I received a letter from a United States Senator! We were helping those that needed it. I will never forget this sweet lady from my church and how she said it was my job to instigate service and that I had the power to help those in need.
Her words resonated with me for quite sometime. Is this what I should be doing? Should I try to help others like I did with the hurricane relief? I am definitely a “get it done” type of person especially when I put my mind to it. Truth is, I do like to help those in need and if I could help multiple families at the same time, I do it.
Similar to me, my husband, Bobby, loves to give back in his own kind of way. For him, he is dedicated a lot of time towards helping our country’s veterans. Once a month, or whenever he can, Bobby gives free dentistry to homeless vets. Being a veteran himself, this is what gives his career a deeper purpose and meaning. I am convinced doing great acts don’t just help those in need, but truly brings more happiness to both parties involved.
This past weekend was a great reminder for me of how helping others can actually inspire. My student, Gene, from my TV production class in NC has always found his way to visit me within the last 12 years. He was always a driven student that was determined to succeed, but in some way I inspired him when he took my class. Does he owe it all to me? Absolutely not. He has a sense of self perseverance that is unstoppable, which has brought him so much success. But I have to admit that I miss his little shoulder taps and the way he used to call me “Teach”, but I guess everyone has to grow up sometime…
He has gone on to become an Assistant Director and this past weekend his commercial for NIKE with Lebron James was up for a nomination at the DGA Awards. He invited me to the DGA Q & A with Clint Eastwood and four other prominent directors. It was a stellar experience, red carpet style. Of course I dragged my kids and sweet husband and they too had a blast running around Hollywood, while mommy handed out their head shots (wink wink)! Below you can check out my tribe strutting their stuff along the Hollywood stars, because I couldn’t resist not posting this experience! Enjoy!
Gene recently directed a series of PSA’s raising awareness to safety on sets. He and a group of others have wholeheartedly executed these PSA’s and will continue to do so in honor of Sarah Jones who sadly & tragically lost her life working on a set. His hard work can be seen in the effectiveness of this moving message: Never Forget!
No matter how small or large a cause may be, it is our duty to continue to help people in our everyday lives. For Gene, it’s raising awareness about set safety. For Bobby, it’s helping out veterans. And for me, it’s helping out Sandy victims, along with telling my tribe, and any of my students, to follow their dreams and to always give back. Service is not only of use to the person in need, but it is also very fulfilling to individual performing the work. Never forget to give back.
What are the acts of kindness you are doing? I would love to hear from you!