Category Archives: Community Service

the TRANSITIONING project

 
I was so honored to be asked by @twoand10 to speak to a wonderful group of teens about Financial Fitness. It is imperative that we educate our youth at an early age so they can have the necessary financial skills as they navigate through life. Be sure to follow @twoand10 on Instagram and for the latest updates and activities, be sure to like their FACEBOOK PAGE. Not only does the organization stress Financial Skills, but more importantly, Life Skills. Remember, if you’re not a part of the solution, there’s a good chance you’re a part of the problem. Make a difference. Our youth need YOU!!!

~The Financial Hack ©2016

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GIVING BACK: PROJECT SPARE BOTTLE STILL GOING STRONG

The temptation to give in to taking today off for the Labor Day holiday was strong. VERY STRONG. I didn’t go to bed until almost 3am because of a late start I got doing weekly household chores. My sister was dragging as well but despite how we felt, we had a job to do. And although it was just the two of us today, we loaded up two cars and set off to hydrate the homeless on this scorching day. It started off cloudy, but by the time we rolled out, the sun was definitely unwavering at beating down upon us and those that we served. It’s amazing how ONE “thank you” or “God Bless You,” is enough to energize me. That which is sometimes clouded becomes as clear as a day like today. I played music from the truck and those we served seemed to enjoy my antics; the dancing, the singing, all with a smile on my face. I ran across the street about half a block to give the lady who is usually too weak to walk a cup of ice, a bottle of water and a zip lock bag of ice to keep her cool. To her left was another that needed hydrating as well. After two additional trips, I walked back triumphantly to the truck waving my arms up and down as a football player raises the roof to get the crowd hype. Man it feels good to help others.

From there, we headed to our second location, Tent City. As with the first location, the people know my truck now and are always happy to see us. With it being the holiday, my sister and I thought at the last minute of course, it would have been a nice surprise to pass out chopped beef sack lunches for the holiday. Shoot. That’s okay. There’s always next week.

Of course, there’s the lady I always visit to fill her cooler up with ice. I’m not sure what draws me to her. She’s an older woman, friendly, and always remarks about how church service was so good. Perhaps it’s her resolve that draws me to her. She doesn’t allow her circumstances to dictate her attitude. Today she told me about today’s message and how she loved her church (Turning Point.) Before I left, I asked her name. I had forgotten before. She told me Cecilia. As she told me I
looked in her eyes. I studied her and thought to myself, “I know her. I’ve seen her somewhere before,” but I couldn’t put my finger on it. As we were leaving, her husband said, “My wife is famous. She’s all over the internet.” and then it hit me….

THIS IS CECILIA…..

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Photo Cred: The Dallas Morning News

Cecilia Terrell is the woman pictured in the article where I spoke of her almost four weeks ago. The woman I promised I would come back to fill her cooler up with ice.

Read MY ARTICLE here: https://wordpress.com/post/96150968/162/

Here’s the Dallas Morning News article about “Tent City” here: http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/20150505-editorial-tent-cities-under-i-45-are-no-way-to-solve-dallas-homelessness-problem.ece

Wow. A local celebrity. That’s more than I can say.

See you next Sunday… Miss Cecilia.

~The Financial Hack ©2015

BUILDING CHARACTER IN OUR YOUTH THROUGH COMMUNITY SERVICE

 If you’ve been following my blog, you know I speak a lot about Project Spare Bottle, a movement started by my sister where we provide cold water and ice to the homeless every Sunday. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being accompanied by a very special guest. Let’s just call him “Mista Jr.” Some of you may remember me speak of Mista Jr. as well as his father (Mista) in my old YouTube/Twitter “Hey Days.” I was especially excited this young lad was joining me mainly because he mentioned he had never volunteered in this capacity before.

Although I gave him a “pep talk” on what he would see, when we reached our first location, he was initially afraid because the people know the “PSB mobiles” and immediately started coming in our direction as we parked out vehicles. I believe Mista Jr. thought they were going to “rush the truck,” but instead they formed a line as we began passing out water. Mista Jr. stayed in the front seat still reluctant to get out, but paying close attention. Once we were able to service the first wave of people, he then got out, became acclimated to the environment and eagerly took to his task. When we reached “Tent City” our second spot, the Soup Mobile as well as a local church group was there already. It was like a mini-block party. They gave away sack lunches, water and clothing and shoes as we passed out our ice cold water and passed out cups of ice and filled up cooler after cooler with ice for those that needed it. Mista Jr. was comfortable now. Those frazzled nerves of his turned into sheer confidence. By the way, I found the lady I made a promise to last week that I would be back with a cooler full of ice for her. She didn’t think I was coming back. The joke was on her because she was too tickled as I dumped an entire cooler of ice into hers.

As Mista Jr. and I rode back home I asked him how did he feel. His response, “I feel happy.” I asked him why. He said, “It felt good to help those people today because they didn’t have a lot.” I could tell he was proud of himself. Proud because the little amount of time he gave yesterday meant so much to those HE SERVED. He served them, yet he was respected. Some called him “Lil Man,” but most called him “Sir.” One man even prayed over his life for his kind acts. These are the things that will help to build his character and I truly believe his experience yesterday will change the way he views the world and others around him. I know that he will have an even greater appreciation of what he has and he will continue to serve for many years to come. He’s made it known he can’t wait to participate again, this time however, not hesitating at the first stop, but getting out and hitting the ground running. That’s character building through community service.

I am truly PROUD of that boy.

Stop by AND LIKE the Project Spare Bottle Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ProjectSpareBottle or visit the PSB website at http://www.projectsparebottle.org.

Spread the word and SPARE A BOTTLE!!!

GIVING BACK: PROJECT SPARE BOTTLE 2.0

It always feels good to give to others…..

Last week I posted about Operation Spare Bottle in which my Sister organized. I was going to post yesterday, decided against it, then changed my mind and decided to share today because of the impact we made yesterday by providing COLD WATER and more importantly, ICE to those that needed and wanted it. Temperatures in Dallas easily soared above 100 degrees so the few hours we were out yesterday had nothing on the people that have to stay outside day after day.

After going to our “usual” spot at St. Paul/Corsicana in Downtown Dallas, we found two other groups were already there passing out water, sandwiches and in some cases, money. Yep. Money. That’s what I was told. Wow! That’s generosity. But yesterday was different. After we saw we weren’t giving out as much water as we did last week (due to the other two groups working the area,) we shifted gears. We headed for “Tent City.”

tentcity
Photo cred: The Dallas Morning News
Tent City is a vacant area of land under the I-45 bridge (near Downtown Dallas) that some call home. There are tents scattered about with people from all walks of life who somehow got off track, lost jobs, lost families, lost everything. Some sleep in cars, some have makeshift pallets, a husband and wife had the luxury of having a pair of recliners to sit on despite the heat. Although we gave out our ice cold water, it seemed as though this group (unlike the group we encountered at our first stop) was more interested in the ICE we had than the ice cold water. I had four coolers of it and wished I had more. One woman who was an amputee asked for all the ice in one of my coolers. As much as I wanted to give it to her I told her in all fairness, I had to wait to see if others wanted some before I could let her have it. Dejected she slowly rolled away. When I did come to her with the ice I had left which was quite a bit, unbeknownst to me, I discovered she had a cooler full of lukewarm water with a package of cold cuts, cheese and other items that required refrigeration. “That’s why she wanted all the ice,” I thought to myself. I told her we would be back next week with more ice. She made me promise. That is one promise I can not and WILL NOT break. One man asked for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. “I’m sorry sir, we don’t have any food, just water,” I lamented.  I wished I had one… just for him. It seemed as if it would have truly made his day. For some, it’s the little things.

As I walked through Tent City passing out water to those who were simply too hot and beaten by the sun to move, I thought about God’s goodness and grace. As I passed by one tent, I noticed an older gentleman sweeping the front entrance to his tent although his tent sat on dirt. Just because the tent sat on the dirt, didn’t mean the gentleman had to treat where he lives as such. That was his home, and his sweeping was very telling. A lot of the people were “proud “people. They didn’t want to be looked down upon or shunned. They don’t want people to come through their area showing pity on them. I’m positive they can spot those who are genuine and those who patronize them a mile away. I’m sure they didn’t see us like that. I stopped. I talked with them. They’re human and deserve to be treated with respect. 

The irony of it all. We have the nerve to sit and complain over the simplest of things: “I don’t have anything to wear,” as you stare at a closet full of clothes. “This house is too small,” yet you have a roof over your head, “I’m tired of this broken down jalopy,” yet you have something to get you to and from that job you complain about daily. Stop people and think. If you saw what I saw and experienced what I experienced yesterday, you would be lifting your hands and praising God right now. As we live our selfish little existence, we wouldn’t last one day out there if we had to trade places with those that don’t have a choice but to make the best of what they have. As much as I would love to give more, I’m giving what I can. As I continue to give, I will be in a position to give more. And more. And MORE. And I can’t wait until that day comes.

I know I was supposed to post my next Financial Fitness post (#7 I believe) but I had to tell my story and deliver my message. GIVE BACK. Helping the homeless may not be your thing, but figure out in what way you can give back and make a difference. Don’t be so self-absorbed. It could be visiting the local nursing home, working with our youth, or even volunteering at your local animal shelter. Give when you can, where you can.

Remember. Kindness isn’t kindness if you’re expecting a reward. PAY IT FORWARD!!! 

Project Spare bottle. Spread the word and spare a bottle. http://www.projectsparebottle.org

~The Financial Hack ©2015

NOTE* Thanks Eddie and Victoria for helping my Sis and me out this week.

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DAILY MOTIVATION: GIVING BACK

As I look over my life I realize I have been blessed in so many ways and I’ve always tried to help others whenever possible. Somewhere along the way however, I got off track and lost my way. I became so self-absorbed I wanted the focus on me.. and ONLY ME. I got so caught up in my own hype, I forgot about the person I used to be. I’ve always said God has a way of humbling us when we begin to think too much of ourselves and that’s just what happened to me. In order to be truly humbled, I had to give up a lot of things I was refusing to let go of, but it had to be done. I’m so glad I did.

PSB
The “PSB Mobile” is on the move!!!
Project Spare Bottle is something my sister started a couple of years ago. She took it upon herself to keep several bottles of water on her person in the Summer months as it can get pretty hot here in Texas. If she saw a homeless person while she was out and about, she would offer a bottle to them. I joined in on the efforts doing the same, but she always handed out more bottles than I did. This year, she decided to step it up a notch and sought out the homeless to offer them water. I told her let’s step it up another notch. I’ve got the truck, I’ve got a bunch of coolers. LET’S DO THIS!!! So today, the “PSB Mobile” hit the streets of Downtown Dallas and passed out water to those in need. As we passed out water, along came a Hispanic Deacon and congregation members from his church who joined us and passed out sack lunches. LOOK AT GOD!!! WATCH HIM WORK!!! We agreed to meet weekly; They will supply the sack lunches and we will supply the water. Wow, what an impact we can make working together!

Kindness isn’t kindness if a reward is expected. Your kindness must be GENUINE, not just for show. My sister and I could have easily exploited our mission today by taking photos with those we helped and those that joined us in helping, but that was not our purpose. Our mission was to provide COLD WATER to those in need on a hot Texas day. We didn’t want or need praise and recognition for that. To see the smiles of relief on the faces of those we served was more satisfying than any photo-op. We told them we’d be back. They said they’d be looking for us… And we are NOT about to let them down. Shoosh… We’re just getting started.

I am so proud of my Sister for what she has done and what Project Spare Bottle has evolved into and I am also proud to assist her in any way I can. Too funny. The older sister is the baby sister’s assistant. I LOVE IT!!!

Keep doing “big things” Sis.

Visit http://www.projectsparebottle.org. Join the movement!!!

SPREAD THE WORD AND SPARE A BOTTLE.