You are beautiful.

“Once, there was a girl who wanted to change the world & at first, she thought it’d be easy, because if everyone could see how beautiful it’d be, it’d take about a minute, but all the people she talked to were too busy to stop & listen. So, she went off & did beautiful things all on her own & pretty soon people were stopping & asking if they could come along & do that, too & that’s how she figured out how worlds change.”

Beautiful Things, Story People by Brian Andreas

My friend sent this to me when I was getting ready to leave for India. Now, I don’t think I’m going to “change the world,” but I’d sure like to make a positive impact in whatever way I can. Change doesn’t just come from one person; it’s all the little things each of us do, adding up to create something extraordinary. This story gave me chills, though, especially as I got ready to put my marketing and communications skills to work for a charity. To think that spending my time telling the Russ Foundation story might really make a difference, well…that’s why I’m here.

I was inspired from my first day at Russ. The people here are doing truly beautiful things every single day, and I wanted to join them. And then, the most wonderful thing happened: people immediately started to raise their hands. I sent an email to a friend about my first week, and her response was: How can I help? Anything? Talking to another, her question was how do I donate? Week two, I posted on Facebook asking if anyone would be willing to help with a logo design, and had more generous offers than I could use. A few weeks later, I heard from an old friend, who is now helping with the website.

And then, I received this message: I mean this as I type it – is there anything I can do to help those children over there (while I continue to live in the US)? I have also had an amazing and abundant life and I would love to be able to give as you have.

Every page view and every comment is motivation to keep going, and I’m so incredibly moved by those of you who have offered to help. This post is a way of saying thank you, and also a way of answering the question: How can I help?

Here are three ways you can help, right now – and two of them are really easy! You can do it right where you’re sitting.

1. Donate. Russ Foundation relies exclusively on donations and the occasional grant. Genuinely every dollar, pound or euro helps. Caring for 25 HIV/AIDS infected and affected kids at the Home for Children Without Parents, running community health programmes in 100+ villages, operational costs, etc. – it’s not cheap. We also have a lot to do in the coming year: repairing and expanding the orphanage to take in more kids, putting a new roof on the primary school, and opening a hospice for people with HIV/AIDS. Please consider making a gift today.

2. Share. Tell your friends about Russ. Share this post. Share the website. Like us on Facebook. Help spread the word.

3. Get involved. Host a fundraiser in your town for the upcoming 25th anniversary. Design the next fundraising appeal brochure. Help with a crowdfunding campaign. Come visit and let’s make a video. Whatever your skills are, I’m sure we can find a way to put them to use for a great cause! Let me know if you have an idea and we can make it happen together.

One of my favorite messages was an anonymous comment on my first blog post. Here’s an excerpt: My only regret is that I haven’t done as much as I could for the good of the world, but you have inspired me to get off my butt and DO- what, I don’t know yet but it will happen. Stay tuned for the next chapter.”

Whoever you are, I’m sure you will do something beautiful – and you will inspire others to join you. I love that rather than focusing on a regret, you are looking ahead to what you can do now. And I hope you ALL know how much you’ve inspired me to keep going.

Thank you for reading, beautiful people. Let’s do something beautiful together.

Emma x

Your donations change lives and lets us continue our incredible work.
Russ International