GIG & Haiti Relief Efforts: As Media Spotlight Dwindles, GIG Moves High School Students to Action!

For the most part, the mainstream media’s spotlight has gone dark in the aftermath of the devastation from January’s earthquake in Haiti. It’s been more than two months since the quake that in a matter of seconds tore lives apart, killing an estimated 230,000 people (many more bodies are unaccounted for) and leaving more than 1.3 million homeless, according to the Associated Press.

There are so many untold stories, good and bad, some that are just now emerging. Go Inspire Go (GIG) hopes to continue shedding light and inspiration on how people are helping other people in Haiti and beyond. Here’s an amazing follow up from one of our “Helping Haiti” videos.

Willow Glen High School band teacher Kenneth Williams of San Jose, Calif., saw this recent GIG video about New Jersey Reverend Lemaire Alerte, whose mission is to build a junior high school in his hometown of Grande Saline, Haiti.

“I was inspired because I know how hard it is to build something without having a lot of resources,” Williams said, with empathy and determination. “So when I saw that Rev. Alerte was helping his fellow Haitians by building a school for the kids, I asked my students, ‘What did you do after the earthquake in Haiti?’ ”

Williams was inspired to not only teach a civics lesson to his students, but a lesson in compassion. Wow! I’m so proud of the students who banded together and synergized their resources and talents to give back!

Williams said many students in his six classes initially thought they really did enough to help by using their cell phones to text 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross.

“That’s great, but do you pay for your cell phone bill?” he asked his students.

“No, our parents pay our cell phone bill, we’re not working so we can’t help much,” some students said.

“Oh, so your mom and dad pay your cell phone bill, so they helped the victims in Haiti?” Williams replied. Then came the challenge. The following question, “What did you do?” led to a bigger conversation. How can you use your talents to help?

Take a look at how Williams challenged his students to orchestrate an amazing call to action:

This video epitomizes what Go Inspire Go is all about: To inspire viewers through our videos to use their resources and talents to help others. Williams told me that the more than 100 students organized most of the benefit concert with little supervision. Parents told me that they never saw their children so involved — possessed almost — in helping others. Students told me they were so proud that they could use their talents, doing something they love, to benefit others in need.

I’m happy to see that President Barack Obama nudged former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to take a trip to Haiti this week to raise awareness for earthquake relief.

According to this Huffington Post article, “The ex-presidents are spearheading U.S. fundraising in response to the Jan. 12 earthquake. Tapped by President Barack Obama for the role, they are making the one-day visit to assess recovery needs.”

As President Barack Obama joined forces with Bush and Clinton to assess how to more efficiently help, I am elated to see that many people like Williams and his students are doing what they can and what’s in their power to help.

Great job, Kenneth Williams and the students at Willow Glen High! It all started from a GIG video volunteer Julian Cohen created with us. Williams now tells me the students were so moved by this experience, they will organize another benefit. This time the proceeds will go to helping the earthquake victims in Chile.

So today, I’m signing off on an even higher note… When you put goodness out into the world, like a boomerang, goodness finds its way back.


Related: How You Can Help New Jersey Rev. Lemaire Alerte Build a School in Haiti

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