Posts Tagged ‘Local Communities’

Kids of the Gulf

Last Summer, and again this Spring, I heard story after story about people along the Gulf coast whose lives had been turned upside down despite the lack of widespread attention on their struggles. This April, one year after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the point was really driven home that kids and families are enduring a great deal of silent suffering as a direct result of the BP oil spill in 2010. The stories continue to echo in my head, and when the opportunity to work with kids down on the Gulf coast came up, I jumped in with both feet.

Spirit of the Gulf Coast came about because of a desire to learn and share what was happening on the coast with the hopes that we could come together and reduce the likelihood of these disasters occurring in the future. Feedback for our modest initiative came on the radar of the newly formed Ian Somerhalder Foundation this Spring. This connection led to the introduction to 2 incredible young change makers that are active volunteers and determined to make a difference in areas most impacted by the oil spill.

These kids are highly engaged and have mobilized tens of thousands of other kids around the world by spearheading the self-proclaimed Kids Army on Twitter. They are ready, willing, and able to affect change right now. They told me they wanted to help with the oil spill and asked me what I thought they should do.

Enter Kids of the Gulf.

Devin DrawingKids of the Gulf is a new documentary initiative that will follow 7-year-old Devon and 13-year-old Devin as they visit the Gulf coast this November and connect with kids and families in local communities from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the Florida panhandle.  The production will culminate in a professional quality, made-for-TV film that will show the world how kids are dealing with the oil spill and what lessons can be learned as a result of this unfortunate tragedy.

Director Adam Dukes and Executive Producer Leigh Halsema from The Know Better Effect, a TV show about kids learning and taking action on important social issues, have come together with me to make this film. The synergy here is remarkable, and I strongly believe that this film will inspire kids around the world to speak up and take action on social and environmental issues they care about in their own communities.

Today, I’m asking for your support to help us make the film.

The energy that these kids are bringing to the table is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and they are committed to making an impact by sharing this journey of discovery and learning with the rest of the world. This is where you can help!

We are raising money on Indie GoGo to pay for production costs, and I’m asking you to please consider becoming a contributor to the film. We have some really cool rewards for supporters, but in reality the best reward we can offer is the sense of satisfaction knowing that you’ve made a huge impact on not only these kids, but kids around the world that are inspired to act as a result of seeing the film.

Please help us out, and become a change maker yourself. Thank you for the support, and we’ll continue this conversation over at the Kids of the Gulf website.


09 2011

Donations, Expenses, and Relief

We are 2 days away from the start of our expedition, and I wanted to take a couple of minutes to address the donations we are receiving and the expenses for the trip.  Check out a short video I posted this morning that addresses this topic.

We want to make sure that it is clear that our expenses for the trip are almost entirely local expenses, and the money is going straight into the local communities along the coast who have been dramatically impacted by the BP oil spill.  Every dollar that we spend with the local hotels, restaurants, cafes, fishermen, etc. provides much needed relief to the people in these communities.  These people rely largely on tourism and revenue from fishing in the Gulf for their survival, and they are struggling with the dramatic reduction in both tourism and fishing revenue as a result of this disaster.  These are the stories we want to capture and share with you, and these are the people that we are supporting by going down to the coast.  If you choose to make a donation to our effort, it will be going straight into these communities that have taken such a hit in recent months.

When we return, we will be planning the follow-up conference that will have its own set of expenses, but for now, all the donations are going down to the Gulf with us.  A special thank you to all those who have stepped forward and supported our efforts thus far.  We couldn’t do this without you!  Please visit the Supporters page on our site to see who has stepped up and provided their financial assistance.  We would love to add your name or your business to this list, so please consider making a small donation today.  Every dollar counts.

Thank you and we look forward to sharing these stories with you in the days ahead!


08 2010