Sunday’s 7/8/12 Secret Millionaire featured Hilary Decesare, CEO of Everloop.
To whom did she give?
We have the write-up here at Nobody’s View. We’re a day late (and more than a few dollars short!) but it’s here. Check it out!
[You already know we blog America's Got Talent here, because we believe that regular people living their dreams is worth a few words. Heck, that's sort of why we exist! And, this season, we've decided to again blog Secret Millionaire. Why? Well, first, we've noticed some of you coming back from last season looking for the write-ups. So there's that. But we also like the idea of people giving back. And, we notice that sometimes people check in here for names and information on the groups that benefit. So, if we can help you find some information, then that's fine by us. Enjoy!]
A mom from LA going to Long Beach to do some good. Learn some things. Meet some people.
Who benefits tonight?
Hilary Decesare is from California. A mom of three. A son and two daughters. She’s the CEO and co-founder of Everloop in the Silicon Valley. Made her millions early and went on for more.
The show sort of opened with Hilary and her kids in a vineyard. Obligatory shots of nice cars and house.
But that didn’t last too long. Soon, it was time to leave the money and phone behind and go to where one hour of her salary could feed a family for a week. Off to Long Beach, 30 miles from Beverly Hills and an eternity from luxury. Over 4,000 homeless, 17% are children.
She pulled up to her new digs and, well…it wasn’t Kansas anymore. Graffiti, glass…sharp things. Then, into the streets of Long Beach to meet her new neighbors. Hilary met young Antonio (very young) who said he didn’t like his neighborhood because of all the drugs.
Decesare seemed to be having some second thoughts…as I’m sure most of the people on the show do…but, y’know…it’s a commitment, right?
After the break, Decesare headed to the library. She found Love In the Mirror, a group founded by 6-year-old Jonas Corona and his mother, Renee. According to Jonas, the organization helps the homeless and needy kids. Apparently Jonas has been helping out and feeding the homeless since the age of 4. His moment came when he saw kids in a food line without their parents, and it upset him enough to take action. When he was told he had to be 10 to help…well…he knew better than to take that for an answer. While making sandwiches with Hilary, Jonas said that he thinks it makes you feel good if you make other people feel good.
That’s pretty much the whole ball of wax, Jonas.
How big is the commitment? Renee actually put law school on hold after one year to help Jonas make his dream into a reality. He gives up so much of his youth to give something back to others.
They were off to Precious Lamb, a school for homeless children. Jonas handed out toys and books to the children…children who have no real anchor in their lives. A stuffed animal can be an anchor.
After that? A park by the library to hand out sandwiches to the homeless. Now, watch that scene carefully. Jonas didn’t give a “test” to the people or ask about why they were homeless. He didn’t care about their religion, past, or future. He just gave. He gave because it was the right thing to do. He gave because he needed to give. Plain and simple, right?
He told Hilary he wanted to do this forever, and Renee was very supportive.
Now, at one point, Hilary stated that she has a website that encourages kids to go out and make a difference, but she said she felt like a hypocrite because she didn’t feel as if she was doing much to make a difference. But I have to differ with her (not that I’m an authority on Hilary’s life or anything). The mere fact that she makes difference-making available on the web? Well, that’s something. Just because a marriage counselor has never been married or an OB/GYN is a man, doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer.
But that’s just Nobody’s view.
Jonas lit a fire under Hilary and it was off again to find new people. She found New Hope, founded by Wayne Twedell and Susan Beeney. New Hope helps the grieving find hope and healing. At any age. Apparently, Sue was a hospice nurse, so she saw grief firsthand on a daily basis. Hilary took a tour of the facility and saw their resources, including programs for kids.
The group was off to a home that had faced a tragic loss a few years ago. The Alonzo family was making a memorial in their yard for their son Christian. Apparently, Christian got the car into gear while it was off, and then he tried to jump out, and was killed. Luckily groups like New Hope exist to provide some comfort to those dealing with severe grief. The family created a beautiful space in their yard where they can remember a child with love.
Back at the office, Sue gave Hilary, who has a family member in hospice, some good advice–the last thing to go is hearing. So, say what you need to say to the person, and say it to them…even if they’re in a coma.
Just something worth remembering.
Shoestring City Ranch was up next. Horses, goats, and founder Karen Thompson. It’s a place for children 5-21, where they can come and be off the streets and learn responsibility. Nothing to teach that like caring for animals.
Hilary met Benjamin, and helped him groom a horse. Benjamin said that being near the animals makes him “happy.” Animals don’t generally ask about our past or our baggage. Often, they just sort of…give. Many of the animals at the ranch were hurt or abandoned. Karen said the ranch is completely volunteer, and Karen helps make ends meet from her own monies. One volunteer said she’s been working there for 10 years, because it was her safe haven from a difficult childhood. When she was 18, she moved in with Karen, who “saved me.”
The end of the day brought homesickness, but also a sense of purpose. That’s not too bad a combination, right?
The next day? Another visit to New Hope where clients were making plates to sell at auction to raise money for New Hope. The plates are meant to be visual representations of how New Hope helped each person. The clients shared their stories with Hilary, and told her how important group support can be. But they also showed how special memories can be. And tears…tears can be special, too. Listening to them describe their plates, I was once again amazed at how quickly people grow when faced with tragedy. How so much that is clean and pure can come out of darker times.
Upon reflection, Decesare said her time in Long Beach, and meeting the folks there, was something she would never forget. I’ll bet they’ll remember her, too.
But then the time came for the reveal.
Her first stop was with Jonas and Renee at Love In the Mirror. She gave the group a check for $15,000. That can buy a lot of peanut butter and jelly. Jonas was clearly blown away, but he had a big smile.
Next up was Shoestring City Ranch. She gave a gift of $50,000. Karen couldn’t really speak, but she cried. And, I guess crying is speaking, isn’t it?
Last was New Hope. Hilary got emotional as she talked about getting older and thinking about taking time to smell the roses. And how we don’t do that enough. And we don’t! In celebration of an organization that encourages people to do just that, she gave $75,000.
Y’know? Sometimes new life comes from loss.
Back home? Recharged. Ready to take a few more moments to smell the roses.
With the donations? New Hope hired a new employee and is producing videos to train others on how to host grief support groups.
Jonas bought backpacks and other goods for homeless youth, and Love In the Mirror is seeking non-profit status.
Shoestring City Ranch is building new animal shelters and looking to keep its doors open to those who really need it.
Look folks, I have to say this again: just because you can’t give thousands of dollars or hours, you can give something. A smile. Try that. Start there. And you may find a life changed.