National Smile Week -- Second Week of August
This is National Smile Week for the rest of the country, but for the HUGS and HOPE Foundation for Sick Children, every week is Smile Week
The HUGS and HOPE web site at http://www.hugsandhope.org features stories, pictures, and mailing addresses for sick children around the country. The club's founder, a grandma from Harshaw, invites you to get involved, visit the web site, read the stories, and send some "happy mail" to one or more of the sick "club kids." The club is celebrating it's sixth anniversary this Fall.
When Jordan learned of a young boy with a brain tumor three years ago, she asked all her friends to pray for him . . . but she wanted to do more. "After considering what resources I had," said Jordan, "I knew I could not do a lot, but I could do something; and I was determined to do whatever I could."
With the permission of the little boy's family, Jordan created a web page with his photo and story. By sharing his story on the internet, she hoped others would send cheery mail to the boy or assist his family in any way they could. What began as this grandma's single handed effort has now grown to a network of "hug givers and hope builders" nationwide.
And that one web page that appeared almost six years ago? It's now grown to a site consisting of hundreds of pages featuring sick children from around the globe!
Thousands of people all over the world regularly log on to The Hugs and Hope web site now to learn about children who need some smiles and to check updates of children who have been featured over the years. One volunteer commented to Jordan, "This is the best possible use of the Internet I've found.''
And, says Jordan, ``Parents kept telling me that this was a tremendous gift and it meant so much to their families.''
The children are excited to receive their own mail and the volunteers love shopping for small gifts chosen especially for each child. With each child's story, a list of interests and hobbies is included; and the site also features a wish list where kids can post their dreams. Many of these dreams have come true as volunteers grant their wishes. One volunteer commented, "It's so heartwarming to know that I'm bringing a little joy into the life of a suffering little one."
Jordan is thrilled that her simple idea has blossomed into a huge network of caring people around the world who are making a difference for children. ``It makes me feel good that my efforts touch people so personally,'' she says. Jordan encourages anyone who cares about kids to join the club and become a hug-giver and hope-builder. Log on to The Hugs and Hope web site at http://www.hugsandhope.org. All it takes is a little love and the cost of a postage stamp to make a child's day.