How to Make a Difference: ONE Person at a Time

Category: Weekly Columns

I often proselytize about how we can each make a difference. Every Sunday on my A Dad’s Point-of-View Facebook Page, I ask as part of what I call #FaithSunday, “What are YOU doing to Repair the World?” It’s said that we can repair the world, one person at a time. I believe that to my core. Trying to solve the big problems in the world can be simply overwhelming, but everyone can touch a single human being. Everyone can make a difference.

In my life, I chose to go the Big Brother route and mentored several young kids as well as I’m currently mentoring a young man with a genetic illness that produces symptoms similar to Autism. On a simpler scale, I try with my writing and Social Media outreach to touch people, help them via my thoughts, and on occasion via direct interaction.

One such example was when I befriended a girl’s school in Ghana, Africa. You can continue to help these wonderful young girls by sending your used books, toys, and such to:

Pastor Frank Bennin, Alola
Africa Zebras
Box 719
Agona Swedru GHANA

So many books were donated that they created this club!

Note: the most economical way to send a box of books to Africa is by USPS flat rate boxes. It is still slightly costly, but you will be serving a greater good by doing it.

I’ve written several stories about them and continue to stay in touch with Pastor Bennin, who runs the school. I’ve also made “virtual” friends with young people all over the world, including Bee-Jay in South Africa. She reached out to me on Facebook to simply say “Hello” and we became friends. More recently, she reached out to me again and the following dialogue is lifted directly from the chat we had.

I felt our conversation was beneficial to her and to me. Where can you touch someone? Here’s a simple example. Please note the only editing I did was some spelling fixes and deletions due to length:

September 8, 2012


Hi Bee-Jay!

Long time. How u doing?

Very well…and you?

Great Bruce

I just sent my 1st-born off to college! He starts classes on Monday!

Wow… How’s the feeling? I’m pregnant with my 1st born. Haha

Congratulations! How far along are you? Do you know the sex? Tell me more?

Unfortunately I’m only 12weeks/3months. So I don’t know the sex, I’m anxious thou. Can’t wait to find out.

But, that means you are over the initial worries of a pregnancy! No rush to find out the sex. Is the father in your life?

Yes, hez next 2 me napping as we speak. Hez also very happy.

Good! If I can offer any advice…be sure to take a day or two off with your man and have fun BEFORE the baby comes…a last hurrah, so to speak!

How many kids do u hve?

Two boys – 18 and 15 (almost 19 and 16)…wish I’d had a girl, too!

2 boys, look on the bright side. The Sallan name will continue. And ul hve grand kids. My bf is 26 and I’m 20. Hoping I’ll be his Mrs soon. LOL

No hoping…MAKE it happen! It is UP TO YOU!

Yes but hez the one that has to make the proposal

Okay, some fatherly advice…a guy will NOT get married – most of the time – unless he is forced to. Right now, he’s sleeping next to you, he’s having sex with you, and he’s getting the joy of your company. WHY should he propose? YOU have to make it CLEAR that that is what you expect, you demand, and you want for your child.

I don’t mean to be angry or mean about it…just give him a time frame. No ring, no more me…


YOU are worth it – do not forget that!

And, you can blame your American buddy – me – for it all!

LOL true. But in SA (blacks) a child does not get the father’s surname unless they are married and I knw for a fact that he dznt want his child getting a surname that’s not his. Lol its culture. So I’m depending on that ryt nw. LOL

Keep me posted, Bee-Jay – and the very best of luck and good wishes all around! I gotta go now!

That afternoon, I went to Barnes ‘N’ Noble to do some work because our Internet had gone down. I sat next to a young girl. On the other side was an older woman.

After a moment, I noticed the young girl was quietly sobbing. I looked at the older woman. She avoided my glance, obviously not wanting to get involved.

I gently asked the young girl what was bothering her. She at first said she didn’t want to talk about her problems to a stranger. I reassured her that speaking to me was okay, that I sort of dealt with issues about kids for a living.

She opened up and told me how her parents were horribly fighting, likely getting a divorce, that her mom was crazy, and her younger brother was freaking out.

Obviously, I could only offer minimal advice and counsel in such a situation, but I was able to calm her down, suggest she speak with her mom’s doctor (as she was concerned about her mother’s health), and reach out to any clergy in her life (which she had) and other adult family members.

We spoke for over an hour. I know I helped calm her down. In fact, she got up immediately after we spoke and went to place a call to someone to get the help she and her parents might need.

These things do make a difference. I thought about the woman that chose to ignore this young girl’s clear need and felt sad – for her, and glad – for me, that I was there.