When I last posted here, the idea of teamwork in terms of the work being done at the time by supporters here for Haiti was just a preliminary glimpse of what was to show itself to be possible in the weeks that followed.
We raised thousands of dollars in just 96 hours in order to bag and ship 30,000 lbs of rice to Haiti. The rice ended up going in two shipments, and in addition to the first shipment, we were able to add ten tons of medical supplies and tents.
In the midst of all that, I formed One Hundred For Haiti, a fundraising effort with a goal of finding one hundred individuals, companies, or groups willing to donate $1000 USD or more to humanitarian aid in Haiti.
So far response has been excellent. You can read more about the group and about the success we had delivering 35,000 lbs of supplies to Haiti by clicking on the logo below and exploring the One Hundred For Haiti website. People often ask me if I speak about Haiti when I am invited to present at events. I certainly can do that, but its not always part of the program.
I recently did a bit of that at the IASB showcase in New York City, an important international event in the speaking industry, and also at the local level to a group interested in being inspired by a call to social action. While I like to share Haiti stories (my presentation that day in NYC led to a $1000 donor for One Hundred For Haiti stepping forward!) its certainly not what I do on a regular basis, and especially not for groups who are looking for a comedy keynote. Haiti works as an excellent presentation subject for humanitarian events, social organizations looking for something current about which they can learn, groups looking to inspire people to action...but it doesn't work for all clients, and I know the difference.
Recent success stories in terms of my presentations have focused, like the "speaking" page talks about, on passion and purpose and solving the problem of confusion and focus and what meaning we are hoping to find in our lives and in our work.
So the question remains: why, on a site devoted to offering my skills as a speaker and presenter to keynote-needing, comedy-intrigued clients, would I post so much about Haiti humanitarian efforts, film projects about Haiti, and the reasons behind that all of that work? The answer is simple: because its real.
While we work, interact, socialize, we have to remember that social conventions are creations, and that we fall into an unfortunate trap when we forget that. The rules you follow are creations. The ways we interact are creations. This isn't to say that these things are inherently bad. Quite the contrary: we need these creations. We need structure and we need social organization in order to survive as the social creatures that we are. We'd create meaning if there was a lack of it.
My point is, that in the midst of so many ideas and directions to follow, that we often get lost ourselves. We find suddenly that we have lost meaning even as we have attempted to be a part of things that are meaningful. Maybe the motivation for our actions might not be sound, or the ideas themselves might not be ones we connect with immediately and sincerely. We get swept up in habit, in wanting to satisfy others, in wanting to do the right thing. But we forget to ask ourselves what habits we want for ourselves, whether or not we ourselves are satisfied, and what makes a thing "right" to do in the first place.
The work in Haiti isn't like that. Haiti gives us something very real to latch on to. Its an ongoing story which provides meaning, concern, inspiration, and hope. Haiti is immediate, its crystal clear, and its undeniable. Its real. And it strikes to people's core values: that people have the right to live and be healthy, to live without pain, to have children, and to care for those children. And they deserve to be able to do that in societies that are not physically crushed by disaster of any kind. Add to this example the fact that Haiti is our next door neighbor essentially, and you have a situation where people are going to want to know more, and want to help, simply because they realize on a deep level that the people they are reading about ARE THEM, themselves. This isn't illusion or creation. Its very real. And people appreciate real so very much. I have seen that over years communicating with people directly about issues that are most important to them. They want real life. Real experiences. They crave them. And they want to hear about other people who are taking part in them. This is where people find deep inspiration to think, feel, and to get involved.
If you are interested in learning more about what I do, both onstage or in Haiti, please feel free to be in touch anytime. For the moment, click the link below and learn more about how you can get involved.