I have teased my younger sister for years about her undying love for the band Hanson. Now I should clarify that while she is 28 now, she first fell in love with them during the “Mmmbop years” when she was about 12 or 13. When she was pregnant with my niece, my brother -in-law had to be very clear about the fact that he did not want to name his child after Taylor, even if she was born on his birthday. Whenever she tells people that she and my cousin (who was introduced to their music through my sister) will be attending a concert, one of the most typical responses is, “They’re still around?”
While their sound has evolved since their early years, it was not their music that gave me a new appreciation for them (although they do a cover of “Livin’ on a Prayer” and any fan of Bon Jovi is awesome in my book). Just a few weeks ago my sister and cousin took a trip to San Fransisco to see Hanson, and while there, they walked barefoot for one mile with the band and hundreds of other concert goers. Apparently this is now a fairly normal occurrence at Hanson concerts. They ask their fans to donate one dollar and take a one mile walk with them,without shoes. They are working with a couple different organizations to provide aid to people living in poverty in Africa.
The website for their causes, takethewalk.net, sets their goals as to: “Take action with a one mile walk to support causes to fight poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa. Every mile walked will raise funds to support one of five causes facing great challenges in Africa. Whether you choose to walk a mile, or directly donate to one of these five causes, you will be making a real impact. One step at a time.” Their five causes are health care, HIV/AIDS, building schools, providing clean water, and donating shoes.
One of their partners is TOMS shoes which donates a pair of shoes for every one purchased. Another is the Free the Children organization, started by Craig Keilburger. In 1995, when he was 12 years old, Mr. Keilburger learned that in some parts of the world children were sent to work instead of to school. He traveled the world to learn about the conditions children had to work in and decided to dedicate his life to helping them.
You don’t have to be a rock star to help. We are moving toward the holiday season, a time when there is a focus on helping those in need. If you are able, consider finding a way to help others, whether local or global, financial or by sharing your time. Although there are reports that our economy is making a comeback, remember that it may take longer for families to feel relief. In stressful financial times, there are more people in need and fewer in a position to help. Most organizations get a majority of their funding through small donations from individuals.
While Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, most will visit with family and share a meal. Your support for initiatives to fight poverty can extend the warmth of your family around the globe.