One Hope United

On February 11th, 2016 we had the opportunity to donate our Share Happy shirts to the children at One Hope United in Centralia, IL. This organization's mission is "Protecting children, Strengthening Families". Children come from all over the state to this facility that welcomes them with open arms and provides a number of different services including foster care, residential care, family support, youth services and counseling. Many of these children are victims of abuse and neglect but have great potential to thrive in a nurturing environment. Having the chance to meet these kids was an unbelievable experience. Although a lot of these children have gone through experiences most of us can't even begin to imagine, they are some of the sweetest and most appreciative children that I have ever met! My whole experience at the home blew away my expectations! I had the chance to talk with teenage girls, teenage boys, and grade school girls as well. We all know the attention span of teenagers can be quite short, but talk about being impressed! Both groups of teenage boys and girls sat and listened to me as I talked about our company, why we started it, and the reason I was there. When we donate our share happy shirts we make sure they have a message on them that really resonates with the recipients. The message on these shirts said " I am Brave, Strong, Kind, Smart Awesome". Our goal is to make the kids understand how amazing each and every one of them are and how much good they can do in the world no matter what their background may be. I talked with them about the importance of being happy and spreading as much positivity as they can each and every day.  Much to my surprise, most of the kids (especially the young ones) jumped up and put their shirts on right away. The one thing that made my day and reminded me of why I started this company in the first place was when a little girl put her shirt on and asked for a picture with me. She didn't just want a quick picture, she grabbed a hold of me, wrapped both arms around me, squeezed me so tight and put her cheek right up next to me while smiling as big as she could! That moment right there made every minute of hard work pay off. I quickly realized she doesn't have someone to hold tight like that every night, and seeing how much she loved a little attention and love absolutely made my day! Meeting the staff was also an incredible experience, they do so much good for these children and provide them with so much support. The whole trip was absolutely amazing and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to meet all these wonderful individuals and share our "Share Happy" shirts with all of them!!