Honoring the Female Heroes in My Life on International Women’s Day

Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and sexes, but in the spirit of International Women’s Day, I wanted to take a moment to say “hooray” and give a high-five to all of the real-life female heroes in my life. #WeSeeYou

I’ve spent nearly a decade scouring the world in search of everyday heroes, sharing their stories and spotlighting them via my Go Inspire Go platform. In return, I’ve been blessed with true riches in life — meeting people who are tapping into their power to give back. They inspire me to be better and do better and I hope they do the same for you.

People like Kala Shah from San Rafael, Calif., a mother of three adorable boys whose superhero power is community building. When I met her several years ago at a LinkedIn networking event at the snack table (all heroes need nourishment to do our work right?), she and I talked about her yearning to create a ME to WE movement with the youth. I told her that I had a similar yearning, to take my superhero power of connecting people through storytelling on the road and reach the youth.

Weeks later, we activated and met a café to start brainstorming ways we could groom the next generation of community heroes. She invited me to her sons’ school to tell the kids stories about everyday heroes at an assembly. The students were hungry for more. Kala infused her energy and inspired the Community Heroes lunch club and eventually created the Community Heroes nonprofit organization.

The formula was flexible, fun and gave us all the warm fuzzies:
1. Kala and other parent volunteers would show kids Go Inspire Go hero videos
2. Kids talked about how they relate to the videos and the causes (hunger, homelessness, the gap in healthcare between the have and have nots, etc.)
3. Kala would activate the heroes by connecting the kids to the community, joining forces with nonprofits to create real change

Kindness is contagious right? The kids wanted more. They begged Kala for a supersized day where they could all come together. The Day of Giving was born. Sounds fun right? Well, time flies by when you’re having fun. Fast forward to this past week — the 6th Annual Community Heroes Day of Giving.

It’s a treat to witness this magic unfold, as more than 300 kid heroes and their parent sidekicks activated their powers to give back. Within a four-hour window, the kids rolled up their sleeves to do eight service projects benefitting local nonprofits. This year’s projects included:
• Assembling care and hygiene kits for local shelters (Downtown Streets Team, Homeward Bound, Center for Domestic Peace, Butte Camp Fire families)
• Cooking and delivering meals to unsheltered community members (with Wonderbag, for Homeward Bound, St. Vincent’s)
• Making superhero capes and comfort blankets for hospitalized kids for UCSF Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Oakland and families at Center for Domestic Peace
• Habitat restoration and park beautification in open space areas with Marin Parks
• Gardening and farm preparation for Slide Ranch
• Children’s book collection and distribution to expectant moms at Marin Community Clinic
• Raising money and awareness for Camp Fire families with our musical talents
• Making pet toys and beds for Marin Humane Society

The energy swirling around the room was energizing, uplifting and empowering. Words can’t describe the buzz of pure joy that came from the kids who were excited about using their power to give back. Some kids talked about how their family struggled with cancer and how they hoped that the capes would comfort the recipients’ battle.

Nearly every day, I hear people talk about how helpless they feel about the daunting news, from the political climate, environmental changes and real-life battles with another suicide or friend being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. I am daring you to take on this challenge: Take note from these bite sized heroes and start small, think about one thing you can do to make someone’s day brighter, and bit by bit, we will create a community of change.

The most important lesson these heroes experienced and learned is that true joy comes by giving back to others. Students reflected on the supersized day as the event came to a close and talked about what kindness, empathy and compassion feels like. They realized that it only takes one small act that ripples out to meaningful changes.

To every hero in our universe, thank you for using your POWer for good. And double daps to our girls and women on this special #InternationalDayofWomen. POW!

INTERESTED IN joining forces with Community Heroes? Reach out to us at ComHeroes.org or be an event sponsor for next year’s event.

Onward,
Toan

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