Looking to do something transformative? Are you spontaneous? Feeling flat or unmotivated lately? This will fix it. I know it, because it changed my life years ago, and launched numerous projects like FreePurity, OrphaWorld & RebelsPatch. Maybe it will inspire you to leap forward ;).
FreePurity is a social impact brand focused on selling environmentally friendly home and lifestyle products, that promote a life FREE of harmful chemicals and contaminants. Growing list of brands (including my own) sold on FreePurity have a humanitarian relief weaved into their mission, and making a difference is in their DNA. 25% from all sales gets invested in clean water projects and other charitable contributions to help those in need in US and abroad. If you have a brand that is environmentally responsible, promoting a healthy, PURE living, reach out to me.
If you have 3 minutes to read, let me share a story of how one decision transformed my life and priorities and how you can do the same.
Corazon de Vida (CDV) is an organization founded by Hilda Pacheco-Taylor (who grew up in one of the orphanages of Tijuana) with George R Perez who runs operations, and Amar Harrag who’s responsible for the San Diego Chapter. In 2012, I was online late at night, and saw an event post, just like the one below, for a trip to El Faro Orphanage.
I sat back feeling apprehensive, assuming I’m going to cry my eyes out all day there, or worse…get flashbacks from my childhood (lost both of my parents to cancer before age 14). What I’ve experienced was not only the opposite, but it has far surpassed my greatest hopes. That trip turned out to be INCREDIBLY rewarding and inspiring.
After convincing my girlfriend and a few others to come with us, we raised $1,200 within few days because we didn’t want to go empty handed, and we embarked on what has become one of the most memorable days of our lives. Raising money is not mandatory. Many if not all who visit still go back to give these kids their attention, education, medical support, smiles, love (many created lifelong friendships), and these children, despite of their unstable situations, will surprise you with their capacity for love…it’s an indescribable experience. I tear up just thinking about it.
Mexican orphans (This is true for all orphanages that get visitors) yearn for the monthly visits from CDV, OrphaWorld or individuals like Mike Sherbakov (who goes down there with a group of volunteers to build homes). We Americans smell differently, look and talk differently, the kids are curious as you might be their first or only glimpse into another world they know nothing about, but we have 2 things in common that have no boundaries and are universal -
Love and Compassion…
For many of us, life in America, as chaotic as it seems sometimes, gets put into instant perspective, you realize how fortunate you are to be on this side of the border, when you see how little these children HAVE, but how rich they ARE in their hearts yours open up even further; they are grateful just because you showed up and watch out ;) you might get adopted by one for the day, right off the bus.
These trips create unbreakable, multi-generational bonds that foster acceptance and inspire these children as they grow, and the volunteers as they make frequent visits to strive to make an impact on the world. George R Perez can share many of these stories.
Go, experience this for yourself, you will come back inspired and humbled.
After a few trips, I’ve decided to launch #OrphaWorld on Facebook to share our photos and moments with the kids; organize smaller private trips, and to create flexibility for those who can’t spend an entire day there but want to visit. Never have any of us felt unsafe going down to Mexico if you wonder about that ;). The bus trips especially, are the safest way to travel especially if you want to take your kids with you (they might not want to come back). All you need is a current passport.
In addition to raising money and collecting supplies, my friend Bob P. and I donated and installed Residential Reverse Osmosis Water Filters, so these children could drink clean water, we’ve noticed that (to create pressure) the plastic water tanks often sat on rooftops of orphanages :-O cooking all day in the sun. We’d pack our cars full of food and supplies each time and try to visit monthly which was very time consuming…there had to be a better way to help. Creating awareness through OrphaWorld became my 2nd full time job because I finally found a way to use 20 years of my branding/marketing experience to make a TRUE impact that mattered, but everything about our initial approach since it developed organically was not scalable.
Oh Boy!…Reality check
Unfortunately this 24/7, nonstop operation was completely unsustainable long term and I had to focus most of my efforts on serving my Pixelfanatix clients, my freelance consultancy. 14–16 hr days for over 2.5 years were draining me completely and I was pulled into 2, completely different directions every day, unable to balance. Now I don’t get involved in any projects unless they align with my values and charitable goals — life gets easier when you do that.
Sometimes by chance we get pushed to reevaluate our stance, check in with our values, re-prioritize and redirect to align, I say do this every 5 years…check in with yourself ;). My recent experience at a marketing agency sealed the deal of where my heart was at. There was no going back. I had to buckle down and do something that would be meaningful and helpful.
I decided to take a step back and rethink my strategy, just like I’ve done for many of my clients. What can I do to create a sustainable business that has a charity component built into its DNA, where I could share high value, practical products that would contribute to a better quality of life for others? After a meeting with one of my closest friends, who generously offered to be my wholesale supplier / partner, my life has gained a momentum in a more fulfilling direction, utilizing what I’m best at to raise money for those in need.
FreePurity.com was launched offering access to the best and the highest quality, wholesale water purification and hydration products. My days have been spent building partnerships, sourcing products, doing research, educating and growing awareness about water purification options that are best and most cost effective. I represent brands or manufacturers that care about making a social or environmental impact, where humanitarian relief is in their DNA…I honestly couldn’t be happier!!! YAY!
Finally this is exactly what I needed to help donors and myself contribute on a sustainable level. Who doesn’t need clean water to drink?. America is one of the top 1st world countries with a pretty crappy water quality nationwide.
The concept is simple — From every sale on FreePurity I invest 25% on behalf of all donors/customers in clean water projects, humanitarian relief and installations of water purifiers in orphanages and communities in US and abroad with no access to drinkable water. The more I sell, the more I contribute.
None of this probably would’ve happened if it wasn’t for that very first trip with Corazon de Vida to El Faro orphanage, I always knew I wanted to do something with orphanages and those in need because of my personal history but this trip became my inspiration to actually act on it. Life is like physics, you must act to create what you want, thinking and talking about it will never change anything.
Of course this wouldn’t have happened or been so rewarding without the help of others. Because some have Linkedin profiles, I’ll link to them directly. Special thanks to:
Bob P. (For your generous heart, time, resources, patience and lasting friendship), Jack Sarfaty (for your time and generosity), Kevin Tom (for your support of OrphaWorld and many generous donations), Amar Harrag (for your generosity, help, time, CDV contribution and friendship), David Klowden (for your love for the orphans and being my private trip partner), Darcy Kempton (for your support, insatiable and fearless drive and friendship of course), Dan Fleyshman (for your generosity and charity), Joanna Kot (for your spirit and friendship), Jake Decoteau (for your compassion, generosity and friendship), Jeff Sammons (for your big heart, generosity and care), Jeff Anderson (for your support and care), Doc Adam Fogelman (for your donations), Francesca Messori (for your selfless gift of time, love and generosity to these children) and Greg Spooner (for your unconditional love, big heart and support). I could keep writing for a while…so many souls gave their gift of time and resources.
I also want to thank my current FreePurity buyers for your trust, support and generosity.
Now :)…back to YOU…
Go…do…be. Visit orphaned children, let it give you some perspective; go on that trip you always dreamed about going with someone but never found that someone -solo; help a friend in need as if they were you family; get out of your comfort zone by doing something unusual; conquer fear by facing it; learn something new; quit that job you hate to follow your passion (but not before you figure out how to turn your passion into a lifestyle), who can afford to be miserable when life is so short — If you’re currently not happy, deflated or dread every day of your life — DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. You really have nothing to lose except the rest of your life…whatever, just do it finally.
Life only gets better with each journey taken