Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pay It Forward!!

Do you remember the movie "Pay It Forward". This was one of my favorite movies and it is one of those movie that just stick with you no matter how many years go by. It's the concept...the life lesson...that you can make a difference in this world and by your actions encourage others to make a difference.

This thought process has stayed with me for quite some time and has been an influence on my life. I began the process when I volunteered for the Make a Wish Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House before Sam was born. I then decided to take on the cause of bringing a Wisconsin Chapter of the NACD to our families with special needs children in Wisconsin. I hoped that when Mardy and I gathered people together to build Possibility Playground, a $450,000.00 playground for every child of every ability that they felt the effect of paying it forward and that it inspired them to go on and volunteer on other such projects or other communities would be inspired to do the same. I hoped that writing my blog and sharing my journey with Sam and my children would help other parents who are on a similar journey and I would be paying it forward. A fellow blogger from one of the most popular blogs in the blogsphere is currently doing her version of Pay It Forward, please check out Kelle started out wanting to raise $15,000.00 for the National Down Syndrome Society and has now raised her goal to $75,000.00. She is an amazing photographer and her blog is full of inspiration! Please check it out!

So...what's next in the plans for Sue Mayer to Pay It Forward?? Well, I'm glad you asked, I have two ideas. The first is one that has tugged at my heart for quite some time. In many foreign countries children with special needs and Down syndrome are considered disposable. These children are viewed as outcasts with no ability to learn or be functional members of society. They languish in orphanages and then mental institutions, hidden away from the world in shame. An organization working to change the fate of these children is This organization helps locate children with special needs that need to find a forever family before they are transferred to a mental institution. Now before Jeff reads this and starts getting worried, I'm not planning on adopting another child with special needs....yet (always like to keep him on his toes). But we all could join together to help a family bring one of these special needs children home to their forever family. I often check up on the children listed and I love following the stories of their adoptive families. Recently as I was viewing the site I came across a little boy that tugged at my heart...

I would like you to meet Sam, that's right this little orphan from Russia shares his name and diagnosis with our Sam.

I have never met his family but something about this little boy and his soon to be forever family spoke to me. I have been following their progress on their blog The Mount's are a family of 8 that has decided they have some extra room in their family for Sam. Let's help them bring Sam home. International adoption is expensive and Sam's family is currently in the home study phase which they hope to have concluded by the end of this month. If I have tugged at your heart enough, you can make a donation to Sam's adoption fund through Reece's Rainbow at

Let's give this little Sam the same opportunities our Sam has. A family that loves him and will take care of him and help him be the best that he can be.

Okay, I'm going to tug at your heart a little more. On January 6th the Mount's family learned that Sam was transferred from the orphanage to the mental institution. has become urgent to help save Sam and bring him home to his forever family ASAP.

Now I did say I had two ideas....didn't I???? Well the second one has to do with awareness and education. This is an idea in the making that everyone can comment on and make suggestions. I wanted to come up with a Pay It Forward idea that would raise awareness, educate and impact the teenage to young adult age group. Why that age group??? Because unless they have a family member with special needs many of them have not come into contact with people with special needs and due to their lack of knowledge they may have many misconceptions about people with special needs, they may treat them poorly or worse simply ignore them or make fun of them. If we ever want to have a positive impact on reducing the number of Down syndrome abortions, a staggering 90%, we need to educate young people about how wonderful children and adults with Down syndrome really are. The positive ways they impact our lives and the valuable life lessons they are teaching us.

My first thought is that many of the younger people are working in restaurants as a first job. They work for tips....hmmm....what would happen if they received a lottery ticket and a business card directing them to a website. But what would be on that website that would make an impact on them??? What would be your suggestions on how they could Pay It Forward? Let's brainstorm and see what we come up with!! I'm guessing some people would not like the idea of the lottery ticket because we could be promoting gambling. What do you think, what ideas can you come up with? Leave me a comment and lets start the conversation.

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