Random Kids are Helping Habitat for Humanity Rebuild the Gulf

Just returned from three packed days on the Mississippi Gulf Coast engaged in gathering of kid social entrepreneurs from around the country - RandomKid National Task Force to Rebuilding the Gulf. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina two years ago, children everywhere were motivated to do something to help people.  In response to these kid social entrepreneurs, the organization RandomKid was formed by two moms - Anne Ginther of Dallas, Texas and Dana Leman of Des Moines, Iowa.  The purpose ofRkcarabinersfc RandomKid is to support the social entrepreneurial and philanthropic efforts of kids.

Don't think kids can make a difference? Through the promotion of coin collection during Halloween, over $10 million was raised for Katrina relief . Other projects include a cool set of house-shaped carabinders to raise money to build Habitat house along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Check out these RandomKid projects. These are not kid's projects that RandomKid supports in a variety of ways.

Our gathering in Gulfport and Biloxi this past weekend coincided with the Jerry Kelly-Mickey BradleyJerry_kelly_with_randomkids_1 Pro-Am Golf Tournament. Last year, its first, they raise over $76,000, enough to build three Habitat homes.  Word was as we left the course Monday that they may go over $100,000 this year. Fantastic as the Mississippi Gulf Coast lost 65,000 homes as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Here's Jerry Kelly with some of the Task Force kids.

My purpose in writing about this trip is two fold.

First, to acquaint you with RandomKid. If you have children or know children who have ideas about how to help people, or simply the desire to help, let them register at the RandomKid website.  Is this an organization that is going to compete with your local community organizations? No. RandomKid can enhance your child's community service efforts by linking he or she to kids like them around the country. Kids need support and encouragement, as well as assistance in how to take their ideas and make them reality. Anne and Dana have proven to me that they understand what this means. It is about the kids and not simply about creating another activity organization for kids.  I have the highest respect for these two women who have done all of this as volunteers.

Secondly, it is to begin reacquaint many of you with the situation that exists along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Most of the debris is gone. The casinos the dot the shoreline along route 90 in Biloxi and Gulfport are back in operation. But to date, there are still thousands of families in FEMA trailers and who are awaiting money to rebuild. The subprime loan crisis cannot help but make it harder for people to rebuild their lost homes. All the more reason to get involved in some way to help rebuild the gulf.  They may not need you for clean-up and gutting of damaged dwellings, but they can use you to help build houses.

Right now, Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast is the only non-profit agency building new houses.  I'll write more about this fine organization and their plans in the next couple of days.  I'll also post some Katrina pictures.  You can see some pictures I took two years ago here, here, here and here.

Last word ... leadership is about the difference we make. It isn't about the power we wield.  If you have the desire to make a difference, then coming down to serve along the Mississippi Gulf Coast is your ticket. If you want to know more, contact me. I'll be glad to help facilitate your finding the right place.

UPDATE: Just to put some context on this. Here are pictures I took on three different trips to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.


First Presbyterian Church, Pascagoula October 2005   

Gautier Presbyterian Church October 2005  

Mississippi Gulf Coast October 2005

Mississippi Gulf Coast December 2005 

Bay St. Louis January 2007