January 30, 2009

ATTACKING HOMELESSNESS THE WRONG WAY

On the heels of my first homeless count in Tarrant County, I heard about this story out of Tampa, Florida.

This is the most ridiculous thing I've read in a while and I had to share (article from St. Petersburg Times):

TAMPA — As counties statewide prepare for their annual homeless count, Hillsborough will wait another month.

Too cold? Too many transients?

Actually, homeless advocates fear police will arrest so many homeless to clear the streets for the Super Bowl that any count would be inaccurate.

"It's happened during other big events when there are a lot of out-of-town visitors," said Rayme Nuckles, chief executive officer of the county's Homeless Coalition. "But we know it's occurring now because some of our providers heard from a (police) captain at a meeting that they were arresting homeless people and holding them in jail."

Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said there is no such mandate.

"Our primary mission is the safety of our visitors," she said. "So the homeless wouldn't rank high on that. We arrest people for breaking the law, not for being homeless."

But Nuckles said the plan to aggressively jail homeless people on charges such as loitering and trespassing "came straight from a captain's mouth" at a meeting. He was not at the meeting, he said, but heard about it from others, including Sara Romeo, executive director of Tampa Crossroads, a homeless advocacy group.



Shannon Moriarty, a homelessness blogger for change.org, attacked the city's alleged "clean-up." You can read her thoughts by clicking here. She writes a terrific blog, shedding light on this epidemic across the country.

BTW: More to come on the Tarrant County Homeless Count and the Rally sponsored by e-Partners in Giving.

January 28, 2009

DON'T EVER FORGET TO ASK: 'BUT WHAT THEN?'

When I read a book that lights a fire inside of me –
I'm not shy to let people know about it.

I'll talk about it.

I'll write about it.

I'll even buy copies of the book and pass them out like mini-Snickers on Halloween. (NOTE: If I ever give you a book – it knocked my socks off and I think it will have the same impact on you.)

I wanted to share an interesting story from "The 4-Hour Work Week" by Timothy Ferris.

You may have heard this story before – or a variation of it – but it's definitely worth hearing/reading again. (Especially if you are reading this blog at work – occasionally glancing at the clock and wondering why your day is dragging.)

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, "only a little while."

The American then asked why didn't he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.

The American then asked, "but what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15 - 20 years."

"But what then?" Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!"

"Millions - then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

January 27, 2009

THE WORLD THROUGH ISAAC'S EYES

This is a blog started by one of the Back on My Feet runners.

No other words necessary...

http://runningthroughmymind2009.blogspot.com/



January 26, 2009

NO WORDS NECESSARY: 'Welcome Home, Solider'

I've decided that when I see something that tugs at my heart strings or inspires me, I'm not going ruin it with a lot of my own babbling verbiage.

From this point forward ... if I find a video, a blog post, an article and/or story that touches me, I'm simply going to write, "No Words Necessary" and share it.

This is one of those posts ...

(I will say this, though ... I watched this 3-minute video twice and teared up both times.)



January 25, 2009

VOLUNTEER KICKOFF RALLY SET;                RESTAURANT & SINGER PROVIDE THE BUZZ

e-Partners in Giving – along with Tarrant County Homeless Coalition and Chicken Express – is hosting the first-ever Volunteer Kickoff Rally for the January 29th Homeless Count.

I am so excited about this event, because it's our opportunity to offer a sincere expression of 
gratitude to the 400+ volunteers who will be scouring the streets of Tarrant County and Parker County surveying unsheltered homeless.

We have had such a tremendous response from local companies and organizations that our supporting our efforts. I don't even know where to start showing my appreciation. (After the event – I will make sure that I love up each sponsor on this blog.)

There are two supporters that have helped take this event to a new level, though. I HAD to give them a pre-Rally shout out!

Chicken Express is donating ALL the food for the Rally. The company's generosity blew me out of the water. I can't say thank you enough. 

If you read this blog and/or support my mission of "never stop giving back" – stop by a Chicken Express this week and grab dinner for the family or just buy yourself a sweet tea!

Secondly, I would like to thank Texas country music star Jason Eady for agreeing to perform at the event. (I told Jason this on the phone last week, his presence will add the buzz to really make this event special.)

He has a new CD coming out soon – because of his willingness to give back, I will make sure I market the hell out of it. (More details soon)

Check out his web site here: www.jasoneady.com

Enjoy a little bit of his music here:



If you would still like to participate in the Homeless Count – it's not too late. 
Visit the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition 
web site (click here) or drop me a line and we'll get you on a team.

January 22, 2009

SOLD OUT: Craig's List has been conquered

I did it!

I sold my sink.

I am no longer a Craig's List virgin.

It may have been one of the easiest sales I ever had to make, too. (I will say this ... Craig's List makes it extremely simple.) I've already started looking around the house for other items.
a
If you missed the poetic ad that led me to this proud moment, here it is:

(click to enlarge)

Seriously, I really enjoyed the whole experience – from writing the ad to getting that heavy sink out of my garage.

The best part was the couple who bought the sink – Chelsea and Corey. Chelsea and I talked on the phone for 10 minutes – we're like old pals now. Corey, who picked up the sink, was very cool about letting me snap some photos for my blog.

(I sort of felt like a dork at first, 
but just like gas...it passed.)

MARK No. 55 OFF THE OLD 101 LIST!




January 21, 2009

THE CUSTOMER SERVICE REVOLUTION IS COMING

I’ve been talking about launching 
a customer service blog for several months.

The time has come!

I’m ready to call out the companies with bad customer service and praise the ones that crush my expectations with a kick-butt, over-the-top experience. 

(Reminder: National Car Rental razzled and dazzled me this summer and I loved them up – blog post here.)

I actually want to turn this into a 
Customer Service Revolution.

I want to recruit an army of like-minded individuals – who are sick and tired of settling for crappy customer service – and ask them to do the following things (whether they have a good experience or a terrible one):

• Hand a pre-printed note to the cashier, waiter, salesmen … whoever knocked their socks off with good customer service OR made them throw up in their mouth because the customer service was so bad.

• Hand the exact same note to the person in charge (general manager, owner, president, etc.)

The Note: It would be something simple…

"I had a __(unequivocal adjective)__ customer service experience at __(name of business)__ today. You can read all about my experience on my customer service blog: www. theaddresshere.com.”

Then, our customer service revolutionist would:

• Immediately go to our customer service blog and either praise or hammer the
specific company. 

(e.g. Company ABC – located at 1234 Main Street in Fort Worth) 

We wouldn’t attack the specific employee, because it’s only partially their fault if they provide crappy customer service. That company is ultimately responsible – from training to implementation.

• Make a recommendation to our loyal Revolution followers. (
Example: “I wouldn’t recommend Restaurant XYZ to my worst enemy” OR “If I could buy underwear at 123 Auto Parts Store, I wouldn’t shop anywhere else.”)

Then it would be up to those before-mentioned followers (you):

– If a specific fast food restaurant has dumpy customer service – GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!

– If one particular department store outshines the others in regards to customer service –GRAB YOUR CREDIT CARD AND START SHOPPING!

Again, our society is too content with poor customer service and it HAS to stop. We also have to stop taking quality customer service for granted and putting convenience and price ahead of it.

If a salesman is rude to you – don’t reward that company by spending one single dime there.

If some teenager would rather play grab-ass than make sure you get the hottest and freshest fries possible – ask for your money back and walk across the street where they value their customers.

That’s the proposed Revolution … now it’s time to start recruiting soldiers.
(If you are interested, drop me a line and I'll put you on the list. Proposed launch date: March 1, 2009)

Quickly, I wanted to share a positive customer service experience that I had today. 

Note: I realize that MANY positive customer service experiences evolve from a bad situation … this particular circumstance is no different. But I'm convinced, if it's time for a company to step up to the plate and shine – and they DO – they should receive props. Even if they screwed up out of the gate.


Background: I ordered a CD for my sister, Allison, back in December. It still hadn’t arrived, so I decided to e-mail the company, Parallel Entertainment. (I probably should have done this a LONG time ago, but I kept saying, “Maybe it will arrive today.”)

This is the e-mail chain between me and an employee of Parallel Entertainment:

From: Drew Myers
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2009
Subject: Ordered CD (Transaction #: 4JT62212LA565664E)

To Whom It May Concern,

I ordered a Jeremy McComb CD in December and I have yet to receive it.

The transaction ID # is: 4JT62212LA565664E

Besides getting pissed off about the situation (since it was supposed to be a gift), I’m not sure which direction to go. Any thoughts/advice are welcomed with open arms. I’m kind of wondering if I would still be waiting for a Montgomery Gentry CD or one of your comedy albums.

I’ve been throwing around the idea of starting a customer service blog...depending how this scenario plays out – it might just be the catalyst that I need.

I really hope this issue can be resolved sooner than later.

Thanks,

Drew Myers


From: Parallel Entertainment
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2009
To: Drew Myers

Subject: Re: Ordered CD (Transaction #: 4JT62212LA565664E)

Thanks Drew,

I know the band was on the road when you ordered this. (Dec 29) Chances are, they missed the email notification from Paypal on your order. Not an excuse by any means. I understand your frustration. Here’s what I’ll do...I’ll refund your money and send the CD out today from our corporate offices in Los Angeles.

Regarding your customer service blog...have you tried to contact us before about the order? This is the first time I’ve heard from you and definitely the first time any order has slipped through the cracks. We certainly aren’t out to screw anyone over so I hope you’re not implying that this was intentional in any way. Jeremy McComb is a priority for us here at Parallel and gets equal, if not more, attention than our other clients.

Thank you for your order and I’d be happy to include a few Jeremy McComb t-shirts along with your CD if you can give me sizes for you and the person the album was going to be given to.

Best,
(name here)



From: Drew Myers
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2009
To: Parallel Entertainment
Subject: Re: Ordered CD (Transaction #: 4JT62212LA565664E)

(Name here),

That is awesome. Thank you. Please don’t worry about the refund, though. I just appreciate the quick response to my e-mail.

About starting a customer service blog....this is something that I’m very serious about and hope to do soon. FYI: I would still mention your company...because of your GOOD customer service, though. (Which is just as important as calling out a company that takes it for granted.) I understand things happen and/or fall through the cracks – I applaud and appreciate how your company handled it – you specifically. Thank you.)

About the T-shirts...if you’re still willing to send them, I would love to have one! (I love me some “Wagon Wheel.”) My size is large and my sister, who the CD is for, is a small.

Thanks again, (name here).

Drew Myers
President / CEO


LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN!

January 20, 2009

'GIVING OUR ALL TO A DIFFICULT TASK'


"Our challenges may be new ... 
but those values upon which our success depends, 
honesty and hard work, 
courage and fair play, 
tolerance and curiosity, 
loyalty and patriotism – 
these things are old.

These things are true. 
They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.

What is demanded then 
is a return to these truths. 
What is required of us now is a new era 
of responsibility – a recognition, 
on the part of every American, 
that we have duties to ourselves, 
our nation and the world, 
duties that we do not grudgingly accept 
but rather seize gladly, 
firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, 
so defining of our character than 
giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence: 
the knowledge that God calls 
on us to shape an uncertain destiny."

– President Barack Obama


History was made this morning, and I am proud to say that I lived to see it. I will be even more proud when the country rallies together – behind the leadership of our 44th President – and returns the United States of America to greatness.

On the night Barack Obama was elected president, I wrote a very simple note on my Facebook status. I still feel very strongly about this message:

"I hope this  election 
inspires change. 
One man was elected president – 
WE must be the change, though.”


January 19, 2009

UNLIKELY SOURCE STARTS 101 PHENOMENON

EDITOR'S NOTE: I am now posting "mini nuggets" five days a week (Sunday through Thursday) and one "significant" blog post one day a week.

Where did the 101 List come from? (my list here)

Since the first time I heard about this 1001-day "exercise" in living life to the fullest, I've been nothing short of intrigued.

Well, I may have unfortunately found the answer.

At first, I thought a gentleman named Michael Green hatched the idea. Every 101 List that I glanced through, pointed right back to him. (He even has a web site dedicated to the endeavor.)

So there was no other choice, I HAD to go straight to the source ... I decided to drop Mr. Green a line. (In New Zealand, nonetheless.)

He wrote back via e-mail: "I just published my list and I wrote up the mission, criteria, and the goal setting tips that gets copied around. I'm told the earliest reference to the idea comes from an old teen TV show 'Breaker High' from 1997."

Not familiar with "Breaker High?" Neither was I. 

See if this video helps – It didn't with me:



Anyway ... here is an excerpt from Episode 30 
(Entitled: "He Shoots, He Scores")

TAMIRA: So Jimmy, what’s up with Sean anyway? He’s all of a sudden got this huge interest in sports…he hates sports.

JIMMIE: Oh right…that. You see, he’s got this list of 101 goals to complete by a certain day and tomorrow will be that day.

TAMIRA: Oh, and one of his goals is to make a sports team?

JIMMIE: Right, right…the other two are to see his name in bright lights and kiss a pretty girl. It’s right funny, eh?

TAMIRA: So…that’s all I am? A goal on his list?

JIMMIE: Oh, yeah…it makes you right proud to be a part of it, eh?

Tamira storms off.

Later on in the episode – 
after her and Sean make up.

SEAN: I waited 1,001 days for this kiss … I didn’t want to waste it, you know? And I would wait 1,001 more if that’s what it takes for it to be with you.

Drew throw's up, while briefly quenching his intrigue.

MYSTERY SOLVED? 

Hopefully it's  just the beginning.


January 18, 2009

NEW BLOG INITIATIVE STARTED; SINK FOR SALE

EDITOR'S NOTE: I've made a conscious blogging decision ... From this day forward, I am going to post "mini nuggets" five days a week (Sunday through Thursday), and write a blog post with some "meat" once a week. The "minis" will be interesting/inspiring articles, videos, or random thoughts and/or updates. It will also give me a vehicle to spread out my smaller posts over a couple of days. (Instead of making really long blog posts, like I have a tendency to do.)

So, without further ado..."mini nugget" No. 1:

I have taken steps to mark No. 55 off of my 101 List. I have placed a classified ad on Craig's List. (I've never done this before.)

If you are interested in buying a "cast-iron, double-bowl sink," you've got an inside track. Make sure you read the disclaimers on the potential sale, though.




January 16, 2009

BACK ON MY FEET: The Seed Has Been Planted

I received a lot of comments and feedback regarding my e-mail to the founder of Back on My Feet, the Philadelphia non-profit that attacks homelessness through running. (Original blog here)

There were a lot of e-mails and phone calls from blog readers, asking "Have you heard back from her yet?"

Like every good organization, I finally did.

Almost one week after sending the initial "I want to bring your incredible organization to Fort Worth" 
e-mail, I got a response from the Manager of Special Events and Communication. I knew it was a generic form reply – nicely camouflaged with my name and references to Fort Worth – I didn't care, though....

I WAS PUMPED!

The conversation had started 
(and for those that know me ... that's all I need.)

Here are the highlights from the organization's response – at least the parts I focused on (I also included my thoughts and/or actions in parenthesis):

• "... we are doing research for our next city now." 
(Fort Worth! Fort Worth! Fort Worth!)

• "It takes a lot of support to make the replication process a success and it would be great if we could count on your help." (You know you can!)

• "If you’re running in an upcoming race soon (like the Nashville’s Country Music Marathon you are already training for), please consider making your miles really go the distance by becoming a fund-racer for Back on My Feet." (Done – I set up a Donation Page through the e-Partners in Giving web site – click here to make a small donation)

• "The 20in24 Sponsored by Nike: This is the Philadelphia area’s only 24-hour running event and has four races in one." (I wrote back and let them know that I would love to "work registration, man a water station, hold the finish-line tape, whatever!")

• "If you would like to make a tax-deductable donation..." (I let her know that e-Partners in Giving will move Back on My Feet to the top of its charitable contributions for the next quarter.)

• "Please let me know if you plan to be in Philly any time soon – we’d love for you to join us for a run." 
(My response: "I'll see you guys in early March.")

I wanted to build on the momentum of my first e-mail and reinforce how serious and dedicated I am to making Fort Worth a Back on My Feet city. 

I think they finally caught on.

After responding to the Manager of Special Events and Communication, I received an e-mail from the organization's founder and president, Anne Mahlum.

AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME!

Here is an excerpt from her correspondence:

"Drew, Maureen forwarded me your email last night and I just wanted to say thank you for everything you’re doing – fund-racing for us, coming to volunteer at the 20in24 (you’re going to have a blast), running with us (I should warn you – you’re going to be hooked!), and for moving us up on the list for a donation with your company."

She closed with: "I look forward to meeting you when you come to Philly."

I am so happy that Fort Worth is simply part of the conversation now. I can't and won't ask for anything more at this point.

I know that getting Back on My Feet to launch a chapter here – sooner than later – remains a long-shot, but at least the seed has been planted.

Anne Mahlum and her staff now know they have a city with a vision to end homelessness and a soldier who will help lead the fight. Without being annoying and/or over-bearing, I will continue to make my case for bringing this incredible organization to Fort Worth.

One last thing ... it makes me smile that there are other people across the country that believe in Back on My Feet as much as me and want to help attack homelessness through this program. My friend Katie wants to start a chapter in Minnesota and a gentleman from Florida said the RW article had the same impact on him.

My real goal is that Back on My Feet finds its way into every homeless community across the country.

Anne Mahlum has definitely opened a wonderful can of worms.

This really is the last thing ... Anne encouraged me to share images from her web site. 


Group picture from morning training run (Nov. 2008)


Michael Solomon, 
Back on My Feet member since its creation, 
completes his first marathon


Michael Solomon (center) after marathon 
(look at that pride and confidence)



Group shot after 2007 Philadelphia marathon


No caption need 
(I LOVE IT!)


REMINDER: 
You can support Back on My Feet 
through my participation 
in the Country Music Marathon in April. 

January 11, 2009

'GREEN' GOT YOU RED? I DON'T CARE                   IF YOU CALL IT PURPLE ... JUST DO IT!

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is post No. 7 in a week-long blogging initiative.

I think the word “Green” 
is making people turn…well, green.

They are sick of it to the point of hatred and disgust.

Some “green” antagonists say:

“It’s just an uber-trendy catch phrase.”

“What does it really mean?”

“I wish people would just stop throwing it around.”

Not that these opponents are down on the premise – they just hate the phrase.

It’s the proponents of anti-global warming verbiage 
who are actually attacking the cause itself.

“It’s a hoax!”

“It doesn’t matter!”

"So what? What are we supposed to do about it?"

I recently read the best rebuttal to this argument in the book “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” by Thomas Friedman. It compared living eco-smart to training for an Olympic triathlon.

“If you make it to the Olympics, you have a much better chance of winning, because you’ve developed every muscle. If you don’t make it to the Olympics, you’re still healthier, stronger, fitter, and more likely to live longer and win every other race in life. And as with the triathlon, you don’t just improve one muscle or skill, but many, which become mutually reinforcing and improve the health of your whole system.”

The point: If this whole thing is a hoax, 
“what is the worst that will happen?”

“Our country will have cleaner air and water, more efficient products, more workers educated in the next great global industry, higher energy prices but lower bills, greater productivity, healthier people…we’ll have to fight fewer wars over natural resources.”

Being 'green' is NOT a bad thing!

I could care less what the hell you call it – purple, yellow, sunset orange – but it’s time for each of us to do our part. It’s time to check our egos at the door – stop being lazy – and do the little things that can make a huge difference in OUR world.

Earlier this week I blogged about saving energy – specifically how I’m bribing my wife to turn off the lights. I wanted to share some other initiatives that Tanya are doing to be more “green” (Not to mention helping us save a little money in the process):

• By utilizing our compost bin and recycling, we are only producing two bags of trash every three weeks. (That’s NOT a Hefty double-ply lawn sack, either. It’s just your run of the mill kitchen garbage bag.)

• We are using reusable grocery bags instead of plastic. (If we forget the bags, we ask for paper sacks at the store.)

• No more bottle waters – we are refilling the ones that we have over and over, but we’re primarily only using faux Nalgene bottles.

• Since we don’t have energy-efficient appliances, we are only doing four loads of laundry a week.

• As mentioned before, we are in the process of changing all of our light bulbs to the energy-efficient variety.

• Whenever possible we are taking Tanya’s car (Honda Accord) instead of my pickup.

• We are turning off the water when we soap up in the shower and then turning it back on to rinse off. (
Totally kidding, but there are some people who think in order to be eco-conscious you have to be extreme. YOU DON’T!)

Some future endeavors:

• Have an energy audit done on our house.

• Replace our heating and cooling system with an energy-efficient model. (Purchasing a digital thermostat will come first, though.)

• Replace all the windows in our house.

Reminder: You don’t have to read by candlelight, leave the toilet unflushed, or unplug everything before you go to bed to be eco-conscious.

Just be aware! 
(You would be amazed how big a difference that will make.)

January 10, 2009

BLOGGING ENDEAVOR GETTING DIFFICULT

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is post No. 6 in a week-long blogging initiative.

I’ve decided that small, easily digestible nuggets of thoughts and information would be the best way to blog heading down the stretch of this week-long experiment.

BTW: Blogging everyday is tough. I will definitely return to once a week – if not every other week – after the last post.

ONE MORE HOMEMADE GIFT
I can’t show you photos or even tell you exactly what my brother made for his homemade Christmas gift this year, but I can say this:

IT ROCKED THE HOUSE!

Hands down, he made the most elaborate gift in the history of our 10-year tradition. There was no “cry factor” involved, but there was a definite “kick-butt factor."

The reason why I can’t give you all the details –I’m trying to talk him into producing more and actually selling them. (His gift was that dang good!) I’m doing a little legwork for him right now to see if he can get this side business up and running.

I will share some of the “construction”
logistics with you:

• He said at least 40 hours of labor went into it;

• He said there were 18 trips to Home Depot.

We exchanged gifts with him and his wife Koleen just this week. Thanks to his remarkable gift, we definitely closed out the Christmas holidays with a BANG!

e-PARTNERS GETTING SOME INK
I recently received the most recent edition of “The Director,” the official publication of the National Funeral Directors Association.

This particular issue was a look back at the NFDA Convention in Orlando, and right on the cover – literally front and center – was a photo of the e-Partners in Giving staff.

The camera captured us attending the convention’s “Party with a Purpose,” which benefitted Habitat for Humanity.




The GREAT part of that exact same photo – it was used THREE other times inside the magazine.

We did receive some legitimate PR in the story about the convention’s Habitat build. Here are the excerpts:

“… Rounding out the NFDA team was the staff of e-Partners in Giving: Drew and Tanya Myers, Stefanie Lewis and Denise Martin.”

“When asked, team members quickly agreed that, if given the opportunity, they would be honored and eager to volunteer again for Habitat for Humanity. In fact, e-Partners in Giving has partnered with the Habitat chapter in Fort Worth, Texas, and is helping to raise the $56,000 needed to sponsor a build.”

“Drew Myers of e-Partners said, ‘I’m hooked on Habitat. It’s a tremendous was to give back in more than one way. There’s the financial aspect, but there’s also the rolling up your sleeve and breaking a sweat.’ Myers and his crew look forward to bringing their Orlando experience to the Fort Worth build.”


STARTING TO READ INTO IT
I just want to say thank you to all the people who have recently suggested books for me to read.

I am really in a rhythm right now – mixing in audio books in the car and flipping pages during meals and before I fall asleep.

I’m currently reading/listening to two tremendous books (both recommendations):

“The 4-Hour Workweek” by
Timothy Ferriss is a funny, but poignant prose about taking control of your life and truly living.

I was just identified in the book – a person who “works just to work.” I’m starting to realize that’s not a good thing.

“Hot, Flat, and Crowded” by Thomas Friedman takes a hard look
at the planet and how we’re
impacting it.

One review on Amazon.com captured it perfectly: “Friedman writes on world population, the increase of the global middle class, and the growing energy crisis. All of this has contributed to a world that is in desperate need of an energy solution. The thing I like about Friedman's approach is he's optimistic and he's practical.”

I’m currently reading a chapter about “energy poverty” in Africa and Asia. Very interesting and eye-opening.

Please keep the recommendations coming. (Reminder: I have 843 days to read 189 books.)

January 9, 2009

VISION INSPIRES CALL TO ACTION

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is post No. 5 in a week-long blogging initiative.

I wanted to share an inspirational article from my recent edition of Runner's World. It is about an amazing vision of one Philadelphia woman who decided to make a difference in her city's homeless community.

All through the power of running.

THE STORY: On an early morning run past a Philladelphia homeless shelter – one she had run past many times – a simple idea stopped Anne Mahlum in her tracks. She decided to form a running club for the city's homeless.

Back on My Feet was born.

Mahlum's life was changed forever – and there was about to be a significant ripple effect through the streets of Philadelphia.

On her non-profit's
web site, Mahlum wrote: "Running is such a beautiful metaphor for life. Life is about choosing different roads and our program teaches the importance of choosing roads filled with opportunity, hope and happiness.”

Here is a news clip out of Baltimore, the second city to launch a BOMF chapter:



THE CALL TO ACTION: After reading the Runner's World article, watching the videos, and spending most of my work day looking at the organization's web site, I felt inspired to do something.

Here is an e-mail that I sent Anne Mahlum:

Anne,

Greetings from Fort Worth, Texas.

My prayer is that this e-mail is not lost in the chaos – because there isn’t a doubt in my mind that you are being bombarded with messages after the recent article in
Runner’s World. Especially, if other people were impacted like me. (Your organization and its dedication to helping the homeless has consumed me for two straight days.)

I am a regular volunteer at Fort Worth’s largest homeless shelter (every Tuesday night) and an avid runner. To say that the RW article spoke directly to me, is a HUGE understatement.

Instead of writing a novel of an e-mail, I’m going to fire off a few bullet points (hopefully serving as a catalyst for future dialogue.)

• I want to bring your incredible organization to Fort Worth and help the approximately 4,000 homeless in our city.

• I’m aware of your organization’s mission of “growing smartly” to new cities across the country – I applaud and admire your dedication to that vision of sustained excellence.

• But I’m also aware Back on My Feet is considering expansion to more cities by the end of 2009. (At least one following the March launch in Baltimore.)

Question: What can be done to get Fort Worth on your radar?

Question: Are there any newsletters, articles, press releases etc. that lay out the timeline and the decision-making process surrounding expansion into Baltimore? (I’m very intrigued how the conversation started and how the ball got rolling.)

Question: Is there a difference between “starting a team” and forming a chapter?

Just a little more about me:
• In May 2008, I quit my job as Director of Communications at Texas Christian University to start a new business that puts an emphasis on giving back. We facilitate online donations for significant life events (birthdays, graduations, weddings, memorials, etc.) My web site, which launched in December 2008: www.epartnersingiving.com

• At the same time, I decided that I needed to “walk the walk” in regards to giving back. That’s when I began my volunteer efforts at Presbyterian Night Shelter. (I’m also heavily involved with Big Brother Big Sisters, and The WARM Place – a local non-profit that counsels and mentors children who lost a loved one.)

• I have run in two marathons (Fort Worth’s Cowtown Marathon both times) and I’m currently training for Nashville’s Country Music Marathon in April.

I have copied several people on this e-mail to reinforce my seriousness and dedication to make this mission of bringing BOMF to Fort Worth a reality. (Some of these people are Presbyterian Night Shelter administrators and board members, city leaders – including Mayor Mike Moncrief, community supporters, and friends in the Fort Worth running community.)

I appreciate your time and I hope this e-mail is the start of long and beneficial conversation.

Take care and never stop giving back,

Drew Myers
President / CEO

e-Partners in Giving

I decided to share this letter with you for the same reason I copied Fort Worth's mayor and some significant community supporters.

I AM DEDICATED AND DETERMINED
TO BRING THIS INCREDIBLE PROGRAM TO FORT WORTH!
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