Monday, December 17, 2012

Shameless plug for a friend

One of journalism's cardinal rules of ethics: You don't write articles boosting your friends. But there's no way on Earth I can profit by this blog entry -- in fact, I'm out $200 already -- so I'm going to post it.


Charlotte acting coach J.D. Lewis and his sons, Jackson and Buck, came back from a round-the-world trip this year. But I doubt you'd visit the places they went on any traditional itinerary: They trekked through 12 countries in 12 months, exploring issues from famine to HIV/AIDS treatment to water rights.

They worked with Buddhist monks and howler monkeys. They worked at the New Hope Foundation for disabled children in Beijng and SCOPE (School Communities Offering Projects that Empower), a group bringing resources to children in Kenya. You and I would have gone to the nearby Masai Mara game preserve to see wild animals, as they did. But we wouldn't have walked through tuberculosis-infested Kibera, Nairobi's infamous slum.

They'd need a book to explain all the profound differences the trip caused in their lives. (And J.D. is writing one with his kids.) They came back fired up with a missionary zeal that led them to create a Twelve in Twelve Foundation that will assist projects in 12 countries, including our own (a program to feed children in Mississippi).

Donors can direct their money toward one of these or give to the foundation in general. To learn more, go to www.twelveintwelve.org; the site was down when I visited today, but you can also go to twelveintwelve.info to read the blog they kept or learn more about them.

And the $200? Well, last week's launch party for the foundation included a silent auction, and I bought a small Australian painting that showed an aboriginal deity creating the stars and kangaroos. That's kind of an apt metaphor, right? Twelve in Twelve aims to show that we can all slightly remake the universe, day by day, with acts of kindness. The amount of time, money and love we invest is up to us.

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