Twelve Good Deeds Creates Doers!

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Students from Park Road Montessori in Charlotte, NC,
help launch the Twelve Good Deeds program

PLEASE VISIT OUR NEW WEBSITE AT:  www.TwelveGoodDeeds.org

Also our Facebook page and LIKE:  https://www.facebook.com/TwelveGoodDeeds

It has been an exciting year for The Twelve In Twelve Foundation. We have launched our most ambitious initiative to date with Twelve Good Deeds. Schools across America are joining our program. Students commit to do Twelve Good Deeds in 12 weeks. They each get twelve sponsors that give them a dollar per Good Deed. The money raised goes to one of our twelve projects around the world. The students then follow, through our website, the progress of their money at work, interacting directly with our organization around the world. This global educational program teaches kids about the world at large, global relief, community service, good character and the gift of giving. The response has been overwhelming and we couldn’t be more excited about the future of Twelve Good Deeds.

We will be making the program available to schools nationwide starting in September. If you know of a teacher or administrator at a school, let us know so that we can introduce the program to them. Spreading the word is essential for the success of this program. Thank you!

1009894_10152526854558574_1888093128_nStudents from RTR High School, Tyler, MN

 

1497099_616519975087708_1433668591_nStudents from Shepherd Elementary, Shepherd, MI

 

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Students from Providence Day School, Charlotte, NC

 

DSC08044RTR students show the food collected – Deed #1!

 

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Students from Manchester High School, Manchester Township, NJ

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Students from North Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte, NC

We would like to acknowledge our incredible Board of Directors –

Vanessa Ashford – Principal, Eastover Elementary
Molly Barker – Founder, Girls On The Run
Kristina Haddad – Senior Program Executive, Seventh Generation Advisors
Robert Kanter – Emmy Award-winning Producer, Documentary Filmmaker / Producer
Jackson Lewis – Teen Advocate, Founder of The Twelve In Twelve Foundation
J.D. Lewis – President, Founder of The Twelve In Twelve Foundation
Timothy Mikkelsen – Co-founder and award winning writer, MikWright Greeting Cards
Lawrence Toppman – Arts and Entertainment, Charlotte Observer
Robert Shapiro – Former Principle Economic Advisor to Bill Clinton, CEO of Sonecon, LLC
Bert Woodard – Public Relations Executive, Next Level Communications

Twelve Good Deeds

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The Twelve In Twelve Foundation is excited to announce our most ambitious project to date!  Twelve Good Deeds.  

Twelve Good Deeds teaches kids the joy of giving.  In addition, the program incorporates global education, a birds-eye view of relief work worldwide, and empowers kids to make a difference, both in their local community and throughout the world.

IMG_0437Here’s how it works:

A student will commit to obtain a minimum of 12 sponsors who will support them in completing 12 Good Deeds in twelve weeks.   Each sponsor will pay one dollar for each good deed completed.  Total cost per sponsor is $12.

Eleven of the good deeds are already determined from our list (see below).  The remaining good deed is actually decided upon by the student. 

Once a student commits to the Twelve Good Deeds Program, they will receive an e-book, where they are able to follow the global journey of the Lewis family.

Each reader will experience the adventure of Twelve In Twelve, one family’s trip around the world to make a difference.  The Lewis family is the first family in history to have traveled to all seven continents in one year, specifically to do humanitarian work.  Not only will the participant get the benefit of learning about the family’s travels, they will also be introduced to many different countries and cultures throughout the world, making this a constructive global educational program.  

In addition, the e-book will include a summary of the twelve projects that the Twelve In Twelve Foundation has committed to help.  With a brief description of each of the organizations, there will be an outline of the proposed project at each location.

As funding becomes available, the progress of each project will be posted online on the Twelve Good Deeds website for all participants to view.  The purpose is to have each participant understand the direct impact of their fundraising efforts and to see how the money raised, actually makes a difference in people’s lives around the world.  

The Twelve Good Deeds website will be an interactive platform, encouraging students to engage in the process at hand.  Each global project will have regular postings of their progress and participants are encouraged to post and communicate with the projects directly, and also with other participants.

This inaugural run of Twelve Good Deeds promises to garner positive attention for your school.  You can take great pride in the fact that you were the pioneers of this worthwhile program. Our project has been featured in national media including Parade Magazine, NPR radio and NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox News. 

The cost to be a Flagship School is a one-time fee of $1,200, which will go directly to all administrative cost of this program.  In addition, the school or organization commits to enroll a minimum of twelve participants.

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Twelve Good Deeds

  1. Collect twelve canned goods for people in need. (Donate either to homeless shelter or food bank)
  2. List twelve things you like about yourself and share them with someone special.
  3. Spend quality time with an elderly person.  (Either an older relative or at an assisted living facility.)
  4. Write a thank you card to a school custodians, cafeteria workers, or school nurses.  
  5. Pick up trash in a public park or neighborhood.  
  6. Donate used clothing, toys and/or books to a local charity.  
  7. Plant a tree, vegetable, or herb.
  8. Write a letter of appreciation to a family member or someone special.
  9. Create a Gratitude Board.  (Details to follow – A             signature project of Twelve Good Deeds.)
  10. Volunteer to wash a neighbor’s car, help with their yard work, shovel snow or general clean-up.
  11. Random act of kindness – And don’t tell the recipient that it was you.  
  12. Pick your own good deed.  (Be creative.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.)

 

One Journey Ends and Another One Begins!!!

We have returned to the homeland. We’ve hit the ground running, full-tilt boogie. After 13 months on the road, we have returned to the Queen City – Charlotte. How does it feel? Bittersweet. Happy to be home and see all the people who are near and dear to us… to experience a hot shower, air conditioning, french fries, a car, and our beds. But I have to admit, I miss the adventure, the sense of deeper purpose, the present moment “day to day” living and I miss all of our friends that we have made along the way from all over the world. But no time to wallow in it because now the real work begins with the Foundation – Twelve In Twelve.

After Haiti, we arrived in Durant, Mississippi. Greeted by both of my sisters and their families, we had a few days rest before we headed to Jackson to work with an organization called, Operation Upward.

 

 

This organization’s summer program feeds kids that are used to getting a school meal during the year but were not getting fed over the summer. A husband and wife team, they have created an incredible after-school program for kids with snacks, art program and sports. An inspiring couple and an organization that we are committed to continue working with.

After finishing our work there, we headed to the Gulf Coast to Gulfport to work with Habitat for Humanity. What an amazing group! The community is still in the process of rebuilding from Katrina. I was under the impression that Habitat for Humanity built homes and gave them to under-privileged families.

IMG_0927That’s not how it works. They educate individuals and families… helping them to get their credit in order, to learn to budget for a mortgage, and then actually helps them build their own home. The person getting the home is require to participate in the building of the house and will then have a manageable mortgage on that home. That’s way better than a “hand out”… they train people to become responsible homeowners. Very cool.

 

 

Jackson helped build a deck, Buck stained wood and I helped with flooring. Hard work but so gratifying. The Habitat for Humanity staff could not have been cooler.

Our last stop was the 9th ward in New Orleans. We were pleased to see a lot of homes rebuilt. There is still a long way to go, but there was definitely progress!

And now we have returned to Charlotte. The boys are back in school, and I have returned to teaching acting and doing weekend seminars in Atlanta, Wilmington, Williamsburg, and any other city that will have me… 🙂

But my focus has changed. I am on a mission to help the organizations we were lucky enough to work with on our trip. The world needs our help. And the Lewis family is committed to do our part. We are in the process of building our business plan for our foundation with the help of an incredible Board of Directors and team of administrators. I am the luckiest man alive when it comes to being surrounded by smart, focused and supportive people. Thanks to all that are helping me to focus on the task ahead. A special “shout out” to Mike Watson, Candice Langston, Desiree Kane and Jillzey. You are my Dream Team and I feel so fortunate to have you on my side. Beyond grateful. And to Larry Sprinkle, Rob Shapiro, Kristina Haddad, Bo Henderson, Ed Springs, LuAnne Bernier, Liz Branca, Ed Smith, and a ton of others who are the absolute best!

My reflection on our journey… I know I’ll start crying writing this. There I go… didn’t take long. I feel so blessed and fortunate to have had the journey of a lifetime with my two sons at my side. All three of us are different people now. We have seen things that so few will have the opportunity to see… good and bad. We have met extraordinary people all over the world whose kindness has touched us so deeply. My sons have learned that the world is an incredible place with wonderful people everywhere…regardless of race, color, creed, and orientation. This journey is my legacy…. Something that will stay with my sons long after I am gone. Something they will share with family, friends and their kids. It has not only changed their lives but will also change the lives of all those they interact with forever.

Buck said to me the other day that he is committed to making a difference in the world. Do you know what it’s like to have your 9 year old say that to you and mean it? I am the proudest father on earth.

My sons were so brave in so many ways on this trip. They were thrown into situation with a language barrier, tough accommodation, intense weather conditions, questionable health conditions, crazy food, and yes, they had to share a room with their dad for a full year! But, I’ll tell you, they worked their butts off… sometimes 10 to 12 hour days. For all of you who backed us up on this project… our friends, family, followers, supporters and sponsors… Jackson and Buck Lewis did you proud! And heck, I did okay myself!

So now the work begins. Stay tuned as we name our new Board of Directors, our administrative staff, and the 12 projects that Twelve in Twelve is taking on. So much is about to happen with this organization. I’m beyond excited.

Oh, yeah… The Huffington Post named us, “American Heroes”, I got to meet Arianna Huffington (who couldn’t have been more supportive and kind) and they are giving us our own blog on Huff Post. What an honor!

Let us know if you would like to be involved with Twelve in Twelve, as we head into the future with sails wide open.

 

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Oh, believe me… the Love Revolution continues!!!

And you can always donate to the cause as well.. Link on the website. Spread the word!

Big Love from The Lewis Boys. More to follow!

The Heartbreak of Haiti….

After a layover in Panama and a chance to see the Panama Canal, the boys and I arrived in Port-Au-Prince. After a year on the road, I thought that culture shock was a thing of the past. Wrong. The aerial view of Port-Au-Prince from the plane was mind-boggling.

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Even after three years, Port-Au-Prince continues to face desperate times. The poverty, the pollution, the state of the roads and buildings, and the over-all living conditions are unthinkable. Though some of the tent cities have been taken down, PAP remains a city of crumbling buildings, debilitating air quality, and homelessness.  The streets are filled with rubble, potholes and trash. One truly has to experience it to believe it.

IMG_9278We spent our first week here in Port-Au-Prince working with Pastor Olrich. He is a wonderful man helping to do what he can in a city with so much need. His efforts include helping to build schools, organizing after-school programs and the plans for a new orphanage.

 

 

We visited a school outside of the city. I did an acting workshop for the kids and they seem to really love it. The children are absolutely beautiful…. kind hearted and so welcoming. They all asked me if I knew Kobe Bryant. They love him. I guess that will be one of my assignments when I get home. Anyone know Kobe?

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The boys and I were hosted by Fritz Valescot of Ecole de Musique Dessaix-Baptiste (Jean Baptiste Dessaix Music School). A special thank you to Janet Anthony from Lawrence University who set up our itinerary in Haiti.

IMG_9625 Fritz is a charismatic man who was a radio personality in Haiti for years. He’s funny and incredibly soulful. He spoke only Creole but we had no problem communicating. Though not a musician himself, he felt the need to give people in the community a space to get involved in the arts. Now the school has hundreds of students. Fritz has teachers from all over the world come to teach the kids and adults, alike.

 

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Amongst the heat and humidity, the crumbling buildings, and the crowded streets, there is a school that offers its students a haven… a place to focus on music. We were able to document by video, a lot of the work at the school including interviews with Fritz and other teachers. Jackson got to play alto saxophone with the school too.  Was a great treat for him.

While in Jacmel, I was invited to do a master class at The Spare Change Theater. So the kids and I organized an on-camera week-long workshop with acting students at The Jakmel Ekpresyon Community Arts Center. What an incredible group of actors. We had a lot of fun and I think they all learned from the experience.

IMG_9809I was also invited to visit the Cine Institute. Amazing. It’s a film school in Jacmel that offers a two-year filmmaking program tuition-free to Haiti citizens. The school was founded by American filmmaker, David Bell, who also started the Jacmel Film Festival. The campus is absolutely beautiful. They are training the future Haitian filmmakers with visiting professionals like director, Paul Haggis. I have been asked to come back in a few months to do a class to train the directors how to work with film actors. I’m very excited and feel honored to be a part of the school.

IMG_9544In between teaching classes and visiting schools, the boys and I visited Basin Bleu, an incredible waterfall and swimming hole that is so crystal blue it almost looks surreal…. so beautiful.

We also cannot forgot to mention our friend, Jacque.

IMG_9819We met him on the streets of Jacmel selling electronics from a little table.  He spoke perfect english.  He was severely physically challenged, but was out on the street working.  We stopped by everyday and had the best conversations.  He was a man who didn’t let his disability effect his life or his attitude.  Such a great guy. Thanks, Jacque for making Jacmel so memorable.

 

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After our work was finished in Jacmel, we headed back to Port-Au-Prince to work at Foyer Maurice Sixto – a school and arts program for restavek children (kids in domestic servitude). These children come from families with too many children and their parents send them away to work for another family for room and board. Many of these children are horribly abused and treated like slaves, working all day, given limited meals and offered no education.

 

 

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Pere Miguel is another one of my heroes. He is a selfless man, working day in and day out to help build up their school, offer positive opportunities to these kids, and he also has a great vision for the future of the school. Twelve In Twelve is committed to working closely to help this cause. I have also been asked to return to do a workshop here as well.

IMG_0104Our friend, Stanley, has a great project going on.  He has organized an arts program that takes trash from the streets of Port-Au-Prince and recycles it into works of art.  While we were there, we got to participate and sculpt beads made of cereal box cardboard.

IMG_0106He is a great artist and is doing great things with these workshops.  It’s such a pleasure to see a leader in the community like this. Stanley is such a hard worker and when he’s not putting together workshops, he is organizing camps and classes for kids in the community.

 

IMG_0683Port-Au-Prince. PAP is a difficult city. It’s an assault on the senses. Loud, dirty, tent cities abound, a sense of danger in the air. There are so many people… so much trash and rubble. The boys and I were heading back to where we were staying and witnessed men with wheelbarrows dumping trash into the river. For an American, that is difficult to watch. But that is their reality. That is were the trash goes. Of all of the places we have visited, I think Port-Au-Prince was one of the most over-whelming.

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And now… Now we are stateside, having just arrived in Ft. Lauderdale. We head out tomorrow morning to work in Mississippi. We will be working with Habitat for Humanity on the Gulf Coast and also for an organization in Holmes County, one of the poorest counties in America.

So many feelings have been running through my head. It sure is nice to be back in the good ole USofA. I never have appreciated the conveniences of home more. We have been living a life in huts, cinder block shelters, yurts, hostels and dormitories. We have spent a good amount of the trip without electricity and have taken most of our shower with a bucket tossed over our head. All of that was magical and I will miss it…. And I know the boys will too. The journey is not over yet. We still have Mississippi to tackle with 100+ degree weather. But we’re home…

 

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And again, The Love Revolution continues… More to follow.