You Can Make a Difference

“To the world, you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”

You may or may not have heard this story, but I wanted to share it for those that may not have.  One day a little boy and his grandfather were walking along a beach where thousands of sand dollars had washed ashore after a storm. Every once in a while the grandfather would bend down, pick up a sand dollar and throw it back into the ocean. In amazement the little boy said, “Grandfather, there are thousands of sand dollars and you could not possibly be able to pick up them all, why are you wasting your time?” The grandfather replied, while picking up a another sand dollar, staring at it thoughtfully before tossing it into the ocean, “because to this one, it makes all the difference in the world!” – author unknown


It is no secret that Mother Teresa is one of my hero’s.  I am always humbled reading of her work with the poor.  (Not just poor financially, but poor in spirit).  To me, she embodied all that was good inside of her, yet, for all of her good works and deeds, many times she felt that she was never doing enough - even though, through one person at a time, her touch eventually reached thousands around the world.  Mother did not start out her mission by expecting to help thousands - only the one that was in front of her at the time.  To that one – it made all the difference.

Can it be so wrong to want more for others than ourselves? I do not believe so.  To become a better person than whom we were the day before takes courage.  Courage to ignore the critics and the naysayers and make a difference in whatever manner you can.  It takes perseverance and it starts with one selfless act. It takes you. 

We all were born with a special gift and have the capability and responsibility of making a difference in our small world with that gift.  If everyone did one act of kindness just by using that gift, just think of the positive changes we could all make collectively.   Below is a small list of some peole who did just that and they made a difference.

Inspiring People:

Mother Teresa – Lived a life of poverty, working tirelessly to help others.  Her compassion towards humanity inspired thousands she came in contact with.

Ryan Hrelijac – Starting at 6 years old he began by saving his allowance until he could raise enough money to build his first well at the Anglo School in northern Uganda.  Over 500 wells have been built through the foundation Ryan’s Wells.

Yacouba Sawadogo – “The Man who stopped the desert” A farmer who decided to stop the desert from spreading, by reviving an ancient farming technique called zai which led to the forest re-growing. 

Ava Lowery – Created flash animations protesting the Iraq War.  Now, 19, she runs website Peace Takes Courage, where she posts videos and blogs about ending violence.

Zach Bonner – an advocate for homeless youth has made and distributed over 6000 backpacks to homeless youth filled with food, hygiene kits and other items.  He created Little Red Wagon Foundation.

Leo McCarthy – After his 14-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver as she walked down the sidewalk - he started a foundation called ‘Mariah’s Challenge’ and began speaking to the youth about drinking and driving.

Nancy Brown, Kathy Cashton, Jessica Flaherty, Chris Judge, Inge Liias, Madeline Marino, Janice Sawyer and Evelyn Sibelle – Cooks for Christ  In 1980 St. Paul’s Parish, Malden, Massachusetts organized a pot luck supper for the church school families.  Two men walked into a supper looking for something to eat.  What became the St. Paul’s Wednesday Feeding Ministry grew into what is now Bread of Life Organization.  Bread of life is now a volunteer organization serving the hungry, homeless, needy and isolated that brings 35 churches, synagogues, high schools and community organizations from the north Boston area to offer free evening meals four nights a week, an emergency food pantry, free clothing and grocery delivery to senior citizens in public housing. (courtesy breadoflifeonline.org)


Kelly Ilebode lives in Malden and is a published author.  If you would like to visit her personal site you can go to www.kellyilebode.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

david mokal February 19, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Another great story Kelly. These are the Un Sung Heros we all tend to forget about. Very Informative.
Kelly Ilebode February 19, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Thank you David :)
paul surette February 20, 2013 at 01:00 AM
"I could have done more"


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