Early in December I launched The Do Good Project (see previous post here) – it was a simple project about doing good. The idea was this: We gave $50 to people and sent them out to do good. There were only 2 rules: 1.Do Good and 2.Document it. We made it happen thanks to our title sponsor, Home Bank, and our other sponsors (listed at the bottom of the post)

The project is now wrapping up and the results are nothing short of amazing. I want to share some of the stories with you here to give you a small glimpse into how one person and a small amount of money can change the world around us.

Cherie Hebert collected gently used t-shirts (she has hundreds). Many went to Lesotho, South Africa to help the community there, some went to a project to help Arc of Acadiana make dog toys from them, and some will go towards a re-purposing project at an art camp for Hope of Opelousas. Talk about one person making an impact across the world. Such a simple idea has helped so many people, and will continue to help them.

Killian Wiliams used the money to have a lawyer draw up the paperwork for a scholarship at UL. This will help an up and coming artist who needs money for supplies – who knows where that will lead.

Tracy Wirtz split her money among the 25 students in her son’s class with the name of a nursing home resident and what they wanted for Christmas (candy, socks, lotion, even a bag of potato chips). The students could just spend the $2 or more, but if they needed more they had to earn it. Then then delivered the gifts personally to the nursing home. Read about it on her blog here. This changed lives, not only bringing the spirit of Christmas to people who needed it, but teaching the 7th graders the value of earning money, and the real lesson in giving.

Flo Meadows ran her own ‘pay it forward’ project with her money, called ‘Cash Flo’ – she split her money into one dollar bills and asked people to pledge something. Among other things she influenced: over $4,000 in charity donations, got poinsettias delivered to ‘shut-ins’ for Christmas, food drives, donations in food, time and needs to local charities, a pet foster Mom, someone pledged to mention a ‘do gooder’ on facebook each day, and someone who pledged to keep the dollar bill in their wallet as a reminder to do good everyday.

Abi Augello is working with a local school to educate them about food and start a garden, the plans are getting bigger and it looks like one of the gardens may eventually supply a local diner for the needy.

Seth Falvo has raised money and awareness for the Daniel James Miller Foundation that helps MMA fighter Daniel James Miller’s son who needs a kidney transplant.

Krista Richmond bought nine Dr Seuss storybooks to donate to the local library as a kickstart to United Way of Acadiana’s Day of Literacy – think of all the readers those books will have.

Madelene Boudreaux (aka The Cajun Coupon Diva) went into full swing, raising money and collecting donations for the Welcome House in Crowley – her $50 led to a SUV full of donations and a life-changing experience helping those who are getting back on to the road of helping themselves.

Tony Bonomolo raised enough money to buy a case of bike lights which will be secretly delivered to bikes that don’t have them with a card about bike safety – simple and incredibly effective.

Blake Lagneaux is creating a limited edition print – I can’t wait to see this (he’s very talented) and selling it to raise money for the Children’s Museum of Acadiana.

Sharon Moss has raised money from all her dealerships and I’m waiting to hear where they donated it (update coming soon)

Jan Risher held a concert to both raise awareness and funds for The Extra Mile, and introduce a new young rapper to the world, Cole “Train” Pham. It really was a special night and she collected ipods, cd’s and lots of cash to help teenagers get gifts this Christmas and in doing so changed the life of Cole (he really is a talented rapper).

Lauren Auverset is no stranger to doing good. Last year she set up Cajun Kindness and used the $50 to relaunch this project that spreads ‘paying it forward’ throughout the community.

These are just a few of the projects that came out of The Do Good Project, I’ll be featuring more next week – what doesn’t show here are all the hearts that were touched, all the personal emails I got telling me of others that were inspired to do good by this project, those who helped a neighbor, became a “layaway angel” at Walmart, or gave money to their families, or groups to do the same thing.

The thing I have learned from this is that sometimes we think we can’t make a difference on our own. We can. Each one of us. And if we join together we can change the world.

I’m very pleased that I put this idea on facebook and that so many people made it so wonderful.

The Do Gooders – Abi Augello, Blake Lagneaux, Krista Richmond, Tracy Wirtz, Flo Meadows, Jan Risher, Susannah Craig, Floyd Willis, Doug Meaux, Cherie Hebert, Geoff Daily, Seth Falvo, Brian Lewis Holmes, Tony Bonomolo, Chris Segura, Lauren Auverset, Madelene Boudreaux, Marcus Mire, Brian Billie, Zachery Barker, Sharon Moss, Killian Williams.

Those who made it possible: Liz Webb, Anne Falgout, Home Bank, Carpe Diem, Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism, The Lab, Carol Trosclair, Pottery Alley, Camp bon Coeur, Bizzuka, Prescriptive Marketing, Hospitality Basket, Sharon Connors, My Dealer Supply, Patricia Parks, Cypress Tees, Chris Hebert, Kinetic Marketing, Moon Chang, Pat Muller. (and all of those who donated, played, encouraged, believed, attended, wept and smiled during this project)

Thank you.