Something I speak about quite frequently is the Butterfly Effect. When I was just starting Seeds of Hope, I found myself referring back to the ideal that every action, no matter how tiny, does indeed make a difference… even if it is hard to see. When tackling an issue as broad and truly severe as that of hunger, and at such a young age, there have always been times when I would question if what I was doing was ever going to be ‘enough’. One of the most important things I have learned in my years of service however, is that every effort makes an impact in one way or another. Donating some cans to a local food pantry will never end hunger. But, it may inspire someone else to donate a can, and the pattern goes on to create a ripple of awareness and compassion for the less fortunate citizens in our communities. Whether it is the flap of a butterfly’s wing or the planting of a Seed of Hope, alone we cannot do much, but together we can change the world.
Through the years, I’ve learned that other than serving, some of the best ways to reignite a spark of philanthropic inspiration can be as simple as talking to like minded citizens who care about making the world a better place.
On the last day of school, my English teacher told me about one of her former students whom she claims I’ve always reminded her of. When she explained to me that he was ‘changing the world’, I was instantly flattered and of course excited to learn more. I asked her to connect us, and I am glad she did. After talking to Dylan, I have lots of new ideas for the bright future of Seeds of Hope.
When Dylan was just nine years old, he started a non-profit organization called Lil’ MDG’s. Similar to Seeds of Hope, This is also an international development and youth empowerment program, and his work with it really did improve our society. MDG stands for Millennium Development Goals, which were goals created by the United Nations to make the world a better place. The purpose of Lil’ MDGs is to not only raise awareness of these goals, but to utilize the power of our youth to play a driving force in the path to achieving these goals.
The goals were lofty, and set to be attained in the short period from 2000-2015. Although they weren’t all reached, very large strides were definitely made towards reaching them and the impact is visible. There were eight MDG’s, and they included:
- to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;
- to achieve universal primary education;
- to promote gender equality and empower women;
- to reduce child mortality;
- to improve maternal health;
- to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases;
- to ensure environmental sustainability; and
- to develop a global partnership for development.
Dylan and the Lil’ MDG’s accomplished some pretty incredible things that brought us a lot closer to reaching the United Nation’s goals. Just to name a few, they raised $780,000 for tsunami relief and over 10 million for Gulf Coast hurricane relief, as well as funds to build a dormitory for a school in Tibet; a computer center, library, and a mobile hospital in India; school supplies for students; and a playground for a school serving AIDS orphans in Uganda.
I also was able to discuss things with Dylan like the public’s view on helping solve global and even local issues. He brought up a few points that really stuck out to me. One of the goals of Lil’ MDG’s was to educate people on the steps they can take to make a difference in the world and in their own communities. He explained to me that many people don’t know about the issues surrounding them, and those who do, often don’t know how they can help.
It was truly an honor to speak with such a determined, selfless leader like Dylan. Seeds of Hope is about not only feasibly ending the global hunger crisis, but also about empowering people of all ages to utilize their power for good… because just like a butterfly flapping it’s wings, each tiny effort adds up. This time around, I was the one being empowered and I cannot wait to see what this new palate of ideas Dylan shared with me can do for Seeds of Hope and for all of its beneficiaries.