Quote of the Month
“We’re a big believer in doing things that make ourselves uncomfortable, for we know that it is only in facing our fears that we will grow.”
“We think the fact that a couple of teenagers could raise this amount of money says that anyone with heart, determination, and some spare sheets of paper can make a difference.”
-Conor (17) and Kendall (16) Perrin, Amazing Young Charity Founders!
Amazing Young Charity Founders!
After Conor Perrin, 17, and his sister Kendall Perrin, 16, returned home from a trip to Zambia, they were inspired to find a way to help the natives of Zambia break out of poverty. Two years after that first trip to Zambia, Conor and Kendall now own and operate a non-profit organization dedicated to providing aid to a Zambian orphanage, the Chileleko Christian School. Through their non-profit organization Conor and Kendall have raised over $7,500 for the orphanage.
If you have ever wanted to start your own non-profit organization or want to make a difference in the lives of others this is a story for you! Conor and Kendall have made remarkable efforts to help those in need. We are thrilled to name Conor and Kendall as our Amazing Kids of the Month!
Hatching PLANETLifeFORCE, a Non-Profit Organization
On a trip to a wood carving village with their parents two years ago, Conor and Kendall were very surprised when artisans offered them their finest wooden pieces for used socks. Not just any used socks, but the ones off Conor and Kendall’s feet! “The fact that these artisans were willing to trade their finest pieces for a humble pair of socks moved us,” said Conor.
Inspired to help the people of Zambia, Conor and Kendall decided to start their own non-profit organization called PLANETLifeFORCE. The goal the siblings had in mind for their new charity was to “help the Zambians break the cycle of subsistence poverty and carve out better lives for themselves,” said Conor.
A lot of research went into building up PLANETLifeFORCE. Conor and Kendall found a Zambian orphanage called the Chileleko Christian School that was in great need of help. There are 194 orphans affiliated with the school, and over half lack basic necessities.
To help the Zambian children, their next step was to create a website for their company. The website, http://www.planetlifeforce.org, was to show their mission to potential donors. PLANETLifeFORCE is 100% volunteer operated and gives 100% of the proceeds back to Zambia, not just a small percentage!
Launching a Letter Writing Campaign
The siblings also undertook the challenge of creating a huge letter writing campaign to introduce PLANETLifeFORCE to other companies and ask for donations. “We created stationary with a professional logo, mailed it to about sixty companies, and waited,” Conor said. “We knew these companies are flooded with requests, so when some of them actually sent us checks with letters of encouragement and congratulations, we were floored.”
Along with friends, family and other miscellaneous corporations, the following companies are sponsoring PLANETLifeFORCE: HeliStream Inc.; Hilton Garden Inn, Los Angeles; Asics America Corporation; Orange County Mining Company; J. Gregory Brown Insurance Co.; Cheyenne Corporation; Maverick Hospitality Inc.; Hunterbrook Farms LLC; Pomona Valley Mining Company; Xoma (US) LLC; Almansor Court Inc.; Anasazi Corporation; Quiet Cannon.
Finding one big sponsor for a company is no easy feat, and Conor and Kendall have been persistent enough to find many! “We are honored that companies would believe in a pair of teenagers enough to donate to our cause,” said Conor.
Returning to Zambia
In June, Conor and Kendall visited the Chileleko Christian School where they were able to give the orphanage $7,500! This is an amount “twenty times the average Zambian salary,” said Conor.
The goal of the money is to help the children become more self sufficient. They will now be able to plant gardens to, buy livestock, and sell extra produce to keep the cycle running. “So far, we have California Pizza Kitchen, Hilton Hotels and Asics on board as sponsors, but we’d also like to ask One Laptop per Child to donate some of their $100 dollar wind-up computers so the kids will have access to all the educational information the internet has to offer.”
Visiting the Zambian orphanage provided Conor and Kendall with a lifetime of memories. One of the things that intrigued the children was a camera the siblings brought with them. “The children had never seen a picture of themselves, so when we showed them their own faces in the tiny screen, they exploded with excitement,” said Conor. “The children don’t get that much individual attention, so our presence, our gifts, and the photographs were much appreciated.”
One thing that was hard for Conor and Kendall to see was the high levels of poverty. In Zambia the standard of living is much lower than in America and those who live in poverty in America are rich by Africa standards. “You always hear about poverty, but to see, hear, smell, touch and taste it first-hand is another experience altogether,” Conor said.
Now, the siblings hope to keep providing basic needs for the children such as food, water and shelter. These basic needs are of great importance because it is hard for any child to learn when they are hungry. “After that, we’d like to install electricity and give them an education,” said Conor. “We’d like to provide blackboards, books, and $100 dollar laptops.”
Chasing after dreams
After first visiting Zambia two years ago, Conor and Kendall were just beginners in running a non-profit organization, but now they are experts! One piece of advice that has helped Conor and Kendall and can help you is this quote by Teddy Roosevelt. “If he fails, at least [he] fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” It is scary to try things out of your comfort zone and sometimes it may lead to failure, but failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, “failure is actually integral to success,” said Conor.
Conor and Kendall follow this advice in their personal lives too! “One of our weaknesses is that we’re afraid of heights, so we signed ourselves up for a movie stunt class,” said Conor. By facing their fears the siblings got to do incredible things, such as leaping off of 30 feet balconies, catapulting off an air-ram and spinning through the air on wires. “We felt empowered afterward, for there is a sense of exuberance from facing your fears,” Conor said.
The siblings also love horseback riding. “It’s the only sport where you nurture a relationship with a living being,” said Kendall. After hearing about the Shea Center in San Juan Capistrano that offers free therapeutic horseback riding lessons for special-needs children, the siblings started helping out! “Our favorite part of this experience was watching the children transform from withdrawn and antisocial to exuberant, and the fact that we can be a part of this is what makes everything worthwhile,” Conor said.
Both Conor and Kendall also have a passion and talent for writing. In addition to keeping a travel blog (http://web.me.com/conorperrin/Conor_and_Kendalls_Travel_Blog/Home.html) the two also have talent with creative writing. Below are the follow awards Conor and Kendall have received for their writing.
Conor’s National Writing Awards and Accomplishments:
- Won two state silver keys in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards (4% of 2,051 entries won one silver key)
- Wrote a novel titled David and Smoking Frog’s Mayan Mystery. A boy and his archaeologist mother get lost in the Yucatan rainforest, and the boy almost gets made into soup.
Kendall’s National Writing Awards and Accomplishments
- 1 of 6 in the nation to win a national medal at Carnegie Hall out of 561 novel entries for her humorous novel. Miss Lavender Venumn is the spank-a-holic owner of a School for Happy Orphans; Scholastic’s Art and Writing Awards, 2008
- Silver state medal for her poem about Thai long-necked women; 4% win out of 2,051 entries; Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, 2009
- Kendall’s story, “Dog Heaven,” was published and professionally illustrated after she won the Adventures in Writing Contest sponsored by Wells Fargo, the Ford Motor Company, the Irvine Barclay Theater, and the Allergan Foundation. Received book signing; 12 winners in the county; 2008
- Multiple publications in the Los Angeles Times
- Wrote a 60 page novel
You can make a difference too!
Conor and Kendall are doing incredible things to make our world a better place. All it takes is an idea, passion, and determination to put you well on your way to reaching your dreams and making a difference! If you have done some amazing things, make sure to let Amazing Kids Online Magazine know!