July 1, 2012
I had the privilege of learning about your work at “Kids Off the Block” with at-risk youth and gangs in the South Side of Chicago tonight on Secret Millionaire. You’re a selfless and tireless inspiration to the world. Few people would go to the lengths you’ve gone to help disadvantaged children, including giving up your home to house them — a truly remarkable act of kindness and generosity.
Your volunteer work to stop gang violence and help at-risk youth to succeed serves as an example for the nation. I am so moved by your passion to educate these young adults about jobs, education, nutrition, culture, and community service. The memorial stones you created to remember and value the hundreds of children killed by gang violence in the Roseland community are a powerful reminder that you are saving lives with your work. There’s an old adage that “we can’t all be famous but we can all be great.” You are as great as they come — a quiet hero with a huge heart who has spent a lifetime doing good deeds while seeking no acclaim as you find the ultimate satisfaction in the fruits of your labor.
I used to volunteer and work in jails, prisons, boot camps, and work release centers in Miami providing the same social services to inmates. I was a Big Brother for many years and currently volunteer every day at my local Boys and Girls Club in South Florida providing similar assistance with homework, character building, employment counseling, and nutrition. I also teach children about kindess to animals, something you may consider adding to your program if it’s not already incorporated.
I’m tempted to fly to Chicago to help you (and I may just do it!) but in the meantime, I want to extend an open offer to any of the young adults in your program to call me anytime they need help with a resume, homework, job counseling, or any related matters. My home phone number is —. and my email address is —.
One day, I plan on meeting you and when I do, you’re getting a big hug of thanks for being such an incredible and unforgettable human being. Last night, I wiped away tears of happiness when Steve gave you a $100,000 check for Kids Off the Street — a well deserved reward for your efforts. I know how much it means to you. I also made a donation on your website as my way of saying thank you and I’m sharing your story far and wide to try to help raise more money for your program. I also felt compelled to send you this letter to express my gratitude. I hope to do more to support your organization in the years ahead.
Never underestimate your impact in the world. You are spectacular. You are a hero. You are so great.
If you’re interested in learning more about Kids Off the Block or making a donation, you can log onto: http://www.kidsofftheblock.bbnow.org/
If you would like to email Diane Latiker, you can email her at: email@example.com
If you would like to watch this episode of Secret Millionaire, you can see it here: http://abc.go.com/shows/secret-millionaire/