Gary's Story

In September 2008, I discovered the true definition of friends helping one other. 85 of my friends and family came together in response to a dream I had to help a group of children at a school who needed clean water half a world away from the comfortable lives we lived each day.

From childhood I was raised to lend a helping hand. My parents taught me the value of spending time to help a friend in need. As I grew up, I realized that a helping hand could be as obvious as volunteering an afternoon to help a local charity or donating money to a food bank. But it was also in the little things, like opening the door for a person with an armful of groceries, saying thank you to the person who does something nice for you or just offering a smile to someone you walk by on the street.

Help, by definition, means to make it easier for (someone) to do something by offering one’s services or financial or material aid. The help that my friends offered that September, opened my eyes to the strength in helping others and the power we all have to change another person’s situation if we help together. Together we raised the funds to drill a water well for the Zata Primary School along with Charity: Water – an amazing organization that has funded over 1,200 water projects in 14 developing nations around the world – including 302 projects in Ethiopia.

A year later, in September 2009, my partner Jeff and I visited the Zata School along with my parents and dear friend Laura. We went with the help of A Glimmer of Hope, an organization committed to bringing an end to extreme poverty in rural Ethiopia. It was wonderful to meet the beautiful students who dream of an education and the futures it will bring them – it was the beginning of a journey that has changed my life and forged a relationship with these amazing children who have shown me the gift of helping others.

Read Laura's story here

Read Maureen's story here

Read Amedeo's story here