As of today I have given a total of $410 of my savings to 41 people that I didn’t know. More importantly, I have met 41 people and learned their story. I can still say that it has been worth every dollar. Also, I have “met” so many of you through the blog…people from all over the world. To date almost every state in the US and 30+ countries visited the Year of Giving. I have enjoyed interacting with all of you. I have also received a lot of great suggestions about things I should do with my project. Here are some of your ideas/suggestions:
- Write a book
- Have a celebration at the end of the year for the recipients and blog readers
- Accept donations from others and use that money to give additional $10 each day or to extend the Year of Giving
- Write to Oprah and tell her what I am doing
- Start my own nonprofit
- Get an airline or travel agency to sponsor travel for me to all 50 states during the Year of Giving and give $10 to someone in each state
- Incorporate twitter into the site (done)
- Add video blogs to the website (I just found out that this is a premium feature. I have asked WordPress to sponsor this capability for me in the spirit of my project. For now you can see my videos on the Year of Giving’s Facebook page)
- Have guest bloggers
- Organize a “day of giving” where everyone who is following online will be encouraged to give $10 on that specific day and then write in on the blog about their experience
The list goes on. I love to receive your suggestions. I am already in the planning stage of some of the suggestions, others are more complex and I have to see how I would go about doing them. What do you think? What ideas do you like? What other ideas do you have? Let me know if you can help make any of these ideas turn into reality.
On Day 41 I found myself in Chinatown in DC. I was walking along the street near the Verizon Center and found Cleo playing the trumpet. The 50-year-old native of the DC stood playing his heart out with his back to the street and his trumpet case open on the sidewalk. The case was peppered with coins. As we talk he answers all of my questions in a melodic verse. I will try to get some video up on Facebook so that you can see for yourself what an amazing man Cleo is.
He has been playing trumpet since the age of 8. Born and raised in DC, he grew up playing in the school band and later in a drum and bugle corps. He has been busking for some 20 years.
I ask him what he is going to do with the $10 and he said he was going to use it to buy some valve oil for his trumpet. He said he also needed to collect $25 right to get a good music stand; his old one broke.
He said that you can find him at Gallery Place when there are games at the Verizon Center (I found him at 7th and G, right next to Clydes). He also plays in Adams Morgan at night from time to time…he laughed and shook his head and said that Adams Morgan was a wild and crazy place!
I asked him if he had a practice of doing things for others and he sang back something to me like, “I might find someone….and buy them a hamburger….”
Cleo is the real deal. I think it might be impossible to speak with him and not smile. He is a must see if you catch Wizards, Capitals, or Hoyas game!
If anyone wants to help Cleo or any of the other recipients, let me know and I can try to make arrangements.