The Lightning’s Community Hero Program had a busy week, recognizing three more incredible individuals.
Hero: Don Campbell. Charity: Feeding Children Everywhere. Don Campbell’s charity is appropriately and succinctly named. Feeding Children Everywhere does feed children everywhere.
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti was the impetus for Mr. Campbell and his wife Kristen to start Feeding Children Everywhere. They used their life savings to begin their charity’s mission – feeding malnourished children all over the world. They partnered with a food aid organization and, just 90 days after starting Feeding Children Everywhere, they shipped a 250,000-meal container into Haiti.
Since its inception three years ago, Feeding Children Everywhere has utilized 50,000 volunteers to pack more than seven million meals for hungry children around the world.
In January of this year, Feeding Children Everywhere launched Live Local, which emphasizes feeding hungry children in the United States. Live Local sends meals to crisis food pantries in local schools.
I confess that I take for granted my three daily meals, although I do know how grumpy and irritable I get if I miss even one meal. It’s hard to imagine an existence in which one’s hunger is rarely, if ever, satisfied. Don Campbell and Feeding Children Everywhere are making an impact in changing that reality.
Hero: Audrey Mabrey. Charities: Community Action Stops Abuse and Hands Across The Bay. In 2009, Audrey Mabrey suffered horrific abuse at the hands of her estranged husband. He beat her, then set her on fire. She suffered burns to 80 percent of her body.
Mabrey not only survived the attack, but has become an outspoken advocate for other domestic violence victims. She volunteers for these survivors when they are home alone, in court or at the hospital. She speaks at functions, creates public service announcements, and appears on national and local television, all in the hope of empowering potential victims to act before it is too late.
Not feeling safe in one’s own home is a terrifying thought. Thanks to Audrey Mabrey’s incredible strength and spirit, she is able to help those victims make a better life for themselves. A life in which they can feel safe and secure.
Hero: Jaylen Arnold. Charity: Jaylen’s Challenge. Twelve-year old Jaylen Arnold has endured much in his young life. He has Tourette Syndrome (a neurological disorder that causes vocal and motor tics), Asperger’s Syndrome (a broad spectrum Autism Disorder) and severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Jaylen began his schooling at a private school. As he describes on his website, www.jaylenschallenge.org, at the private school “everyone was mostly accepting and loving towards me”. Then “I decided I was a big boy and wanted to go to a regular school.” There, as the stress of being someplace new intensified his tics, he was mercilessly bullied. Other kids copied his tics and a teacher put a sign on him indicating he had Tourette Syndrome. The embarrassment from these incidents caused his tics to get even worse, to the point that he suffered bruising on his body. He left that school and returned to his old school, where he is neither bullied nor teased.
Jaylen started his own charity, Jaylen’s Challenge, in an attempt to stop bullying. He travels to local schools with an anti-bullying curriculum package: a video, teacher’s guide, booklets and student wristbands. He has also appeared on national television to educate audiences on the effects of bullying. He even has a documentary on the Discovery Health Network. What a remarkable Hero.