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INSPIRATION

Articles

Guardians of the Children: Protecting Our Priceless Resource

Biker heroes serve to shield and protect the powerless victims of child abuse. They’re not just another biker club rumbling down the open road. They are not a Motorcycle club at all. Rough looking on the outside, they’re soft on the inside when it comes to kids, especially victims of child abuse. Meet Guardians of the Children (GOC), a non-profit biker organization formed in 2006 by Founders “LT” Trevino and “Bamm-Bamm” Cano whose members protect abused and neglected children. GOC’s members cover a broad range of professions united in a cause through their love of motorcycles. As bikers, they leverage their alliances to serve victims and their families. More Than Bikers “We’re an organization within the biker community,” says the Vice President of San Antonio Chapter. “It’s a matter of dedication to the lifestyle — we’re a group of volunteers that uses the image of the biker to help us in our mission, but we’re not living out the full lifestyle that the motorcycle clubs do.” GOC benefits communities by informing the public of how widespread the child abuse crisis

Fed with Faith: Where Hope and Compassion Reign

A life transformed, one man’s journey leads to honoring God by feeding and caring for the homeless. One Man’s Journey At 50, Jean Manganaro knows firsthand what it’s like to be homeless. Just before his 16th birthday, he came home to find his parents had left and abandoned him. He came from a dysfunctional family where there was abuse and alcohol. Wandering through the streets of South Florida, he sought scraps and shelter where he could, but there was no place for kids to stay or programs that he could turn to for help. Drugs and alcohol provided temporary oblivion, but his troubles soon found him in juvenile hall. Years passed as his life stagnated in the streets with dependency on substance abuse. At age 29, he turned his life over to God finding strength to become sober. He attended a 12-step meeting and met a man who offered him a place to live. Manganaro was given two weeks free rent but had to find a job during that time and start paying rent at the end of the two-week period.

Bethany Hamilton: Discover Hope in the Hard Things

We all have a story. And we are currently living it out. Gradually twisting and turning with sweet victories and sometimes bitter defeats. A mixture of honey and salt, like lemons and lemonade. Large or small, we encounter challenges as we live out our stories. Maybe you know “salt” as trials, tribulations, tests, traumas, hurdles, bumps in the road, setbacks, or heartbreaks. But regardless of the name, these more difficult aspects of life are part of the human experience. Where we differ is in whether we let the hard things we encounter define us. Does this salt enhance the flavor of our life or is it overpowering and making it something we can’t quite stomach? My story shifted significantly when I was 13. Faced with a trauma that altered my body, I had to answer: how will this affect my story? Fortunately, back then I had a steadfast mindset that presented only one option: move forward in faith and trust that out of bad can come good. Without knowing it I maintained a perspective that was focused on achieving the

Third Half Advisors: Bridging the Gap for Post-Career Professionals

A post-retirement consulting venture helps retiring boomers navigate through their “third half” in life. At last, retirement has finally arrived! So well deserved, it is the crowning achievement of a hard-working career, the off-ramp of a demanding, challenging profession. You’ve looked forward to this for so long, and now you can finally bask on that sunny Florida beach, sleep in, play golf, spend more time with the grandkids. No more fighting rush hour traffic, working late night hours, meeting deadlines, or crafting that perfect presentation, just lots and lots of R&R … maybe too much R&R. Living in the fast lane juggling responsibilities, goals, number crunching, project management, family, and then suddenly switching to a slower-paced lifestyle can be jarring to one’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Some may view this as being led out to pasture and envision themselves sitting among old folks nodding off in front of a television. It’s a scary thought for those who feel they still have so much to contribute and crave a sense of fulfillment like their successful careers once gave them. Retiring with

Diane Latiker: Chicago South Side’s Founder Of “Kids Off The Block” (KOB)

Chicago South Side’s Ms. Diane opens her heart and home for at-risk youths to realize their potential. A Memorial Like No Other Another stone is placed on a memorial wall in Roseland, a neighborhood in Chicago. Bearing a name and date, the stone is carefully and lovingly displayed among the other 800 stones that have been collecting there since 2007. The wall is a sad testament of young lives cut short by the barrel of a gun. Worse yet, the wall has been rebuilt 15 times since 2007, and is over 400 stones behind! Diane Latiker, a community activist and founder of Kids Off the Block (KOB), set up the memorial wanting to shock “her community and the youth she served,”  KOB is a non-profit started in 2003 in Roseland, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, where walking home from school could mean dodging a gauntlet of bullets. Even Latiker is not immune to her neighborhood’s violence. Her own van was found shot up by gangs. On another occasion, she says she found herself between two guns with

Harboring Hearts: Battling Heart Disease with Compassion

A way of healing turns into a safety net for thousands of families in their time of greatest need. A typical day, going about daily chores, taking that 20-minute walk, or going off to work, and then you get the call. Suddenly, everything grinds to a halt; a loved one has had a heart attack and is en route to a hospital. Adrenaline kicks in and off you go, making a few calls along the way to inform others and making sure a friend feeds your pet because you don’t know when you’ll be back home. Questions flood through your mind as you try to maintain composure. You arrive at the ER and eventually told of your loved one’s condition. Time passes, and finally, you can be with them. Just the sight of all the monitors, tubes, and IV is enough to scare you, but you must be strong and comforting for them and the rest of the family. What happens next? It is just the beginning. Hitting Home This scenario repeats itself multiple times a day in every community

Marian Hamilton and The Ken Hamilton Caregiver Center

A private sanctuary for caregivers eases the everyday stress associated with the care of ailing loved ones. Unsung Heroes Imagine having a break in your day, time so precious you can have a moment all to yourself to escape, relax, and recharge. This momentary freedom is appreciated beyond measure by family members whose lives have been dramatically altered to become the courageous caregivers of loved ones with serious illnesses or injuries. Caregivers give their all to support the physical and well-being needs of loved ones. Caregiving is more than a loving, noble, selfless act —it speaks of endurance when courage and strength seem exhausted. But usually, one dives into their newfound role and then realizes how inadequate they are to take on the responsibility. Their own lives become disrupted even to forgo paid work to accommodate the needs of the loved one. Exhaustion, stress, frustration, anxiety, isolation, and depression often creep into a caregiver’s life. Patience and fortitude become precious commodities to survive caregiving. Where does one turn for help? Roughly one third of family caregivers have difficulty in finding

Lisa Klein and Loved Twice: Starting Life with Compassion

A new mother finds room in her heart to help at-risk newborns. It’s another busy day at a San Francisco Bay Area warehouse filled with volunteers sorting through mountains of baby clothes. Another box filled to the brim is sealed, labeled “Baby Boy,” and placed on a stack of similar boxes ready for delivery. Among the piles of baby garments, Lisa Klein can be found examining each article and lovingly divvies them up by size 0 through 12 months. A Head Start in Life Klein is the founder of this non-profit enterprise, Loved Twice, that collects and distributes donated baby clothes to help underprivileged newborns, giving them a better start in life. They collect gently used baby clothes that would otherwise end up in a landfill and pack them lovingly into a boy’s or girl’s wardrobe-in-a-box. Each box contains 75 items including socks, hats, pants, sleepwear, booties, bibs, books, and other items. Deliveries are made to social workers who hand out the boxes to desperate new mothers and guardians in local hospitals, shelters, and clinics. It all started in 2005

Susan Nastasi: “Horsing Around” is Good for You

Sharing the unconditional love of miniature horses promotes peace, joy, comfort, and healing. Humans and animals have shared a bond since prehistoric times, one helping the other for mutual benefit. Our lives are enriched by an animal’s unconditional love and ability to sooth the wounds of our body and soul. A cuddle, a snuggle, a wagging tail acts like a balm for our emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. Just interacting with animals uplifts our spirit, and the feeling is mutual. What place better for this friendly bond to be experienced than at SOUL Haven Ranch in Winter Garden, Florida. It’s the perfect place to immerse in peace, tranquility, and nature, yet only a half-hour’s drive from mega-parks Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World. Guests are welcomed to a charming Victorian-style house with a wrap-around porch complete with rocking chairs. Upscale accommodations await the tired traveler as do friendly dogs, cats, and goats. Relax and unwind in the gazebo, hammocks, and swings beneath the large shady oak trees. There’s even a horse-drawn carriage service available for tours, weddings, birthdays, and

Dr. Jim Withers: The People’s Street Physician

Meet the man who brought health care to the homeless and started the “street medicine” movement. Melancholy and despair hover above a homeless man as he limps down the dark streets of Pittsburgh in 1984. This evening he found warm shelter under a condemned and broken bridge. He found company there. An infection on his right foot has been slowly growing making it difficult to walk. He limped up to three men and painfully sat in the corner. He didn’t say anything, but they looked to be starting a fire. He’s getting a fever. Finally, some luck. One of the three men by the fire pit walked up to him, holding a leather messenger bag. “Let me see that,” said the stranger. He hardly understood; it’s been so long since someone was kind to him. But what could this other man, in the same rags as him, possibly do to help? “I’m a doctor,” the stranger continued. The homeless man pulled up his pant leg as the stranger grabbed medical gloves from the leather bag. “Thank you, doctor,” he replied,