Summer about hurricane Michael

Summer was living in Charlotte County in Florida in 2004 when hurricane Charley destroyed almost everything.

“In August of 2004, hurricane Charley came through Charlotte County FL where I reside and leveled most of the area. The devastation was unimaginable and for many months our town looked like some kind of war zone. My own home took extensive damage and I lost most of my possessions as did so many others in the community. It took a considerable amount of time to regain any sense of normalcy.”

But unfortunately this was not the only setback for Summer.

“Just a few years later, I lost my home to a fire. It was a total loss, and the only thing left were literally the clothes on my and my children’s backs. Our family has an intimate relationship with loss and I believe there’s a certain sensitivity that comes with knowing what it is to have absolutely nothing.”

“3 years ago my son, Bryton Sanner, joined a small 4-H club called 4 paws and a Tail 4-H of Charlotte County. 4-H is a youth development program with strong roots in agriculture and community service. Our club’s focus is on dogs and while the focus of each club is different, we all have the same pledge; “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service,and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.” This is where the 4 “H”’s comes from; Head, Heart, Hands and Health. A big part of this club is to be proactive and serve the community where we can.”

Just a few weeks ago hurricane Michael made landfall at Panama city beach. (watch my roadtrip video’s to see what Panama city looked like just a month before hurricane Michael.)

The storm surge and waves from Hurricane Michael batter the beachfront homes on October 10, 2018 in the Florida Panhandle community of Shell Point Beach, Florida. The hurricane is forecast to hit the Florida Panhandle at a possible category 4 storm. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

“After the recent devastation of Hurricane Michael in the Florida panhandle, the need for help was clear.”

“I was scheduled for time off of work and was willing to drive supplies to affected areas. I started reaching out to members of 4-H near the affected areas and made contact with 4-H agent Rachel Pienta of Wakulla County 4-H. She communicated the need for school supplies, non perishable food and pet food to distribute to the surrounding communities. With the help of Mala Sawhney, our Club Leader, we did quickly organize a drive within our local 4-H extension office, which is home to all of our Charlotte County 4-H clubs. Unfortunately, Only myself, the Sawhney and Fairchild families were able to donate to the effort and we were running out of time. We had to start reaching out to the greater community as the days started to count down.. We reached out to churches, businesses, friends and family to make this drive as successful as possible. While they had no affiliation with 4-H, dear friends Kevin Correll and Sally Brown donated supplies and their time as they helped network several other donations from their friends, family and co-workers. My son, myself, Kevin and Sally worked to organize donations and box them up for transport. In less than a week, the efforts of just a few people turned a handful of donations into a truckload. When it was time, Kevin and Sally offered the use of their truck and assisted us in driving up boxes of food, medical supplies, school supplies and pet food up to Wakulla County extension office on Saturday, October 27th. We were promptly greeted by volunteers who immediately began unloading the truck and placing the donations on carts to organize for distribution. We were thanked profusely and left feeling like a small ripple of kindess was made in the aftermath of such destruction.”

“Our efforts reminded me a bit of the story about the boy and the starfish, if I may paraphrase; An old man was walking along a beach one day that had become littered with hundreds of starfish, washed up from the high tide. A young boy was patiently picking up starfish and placing them back into the ocean. The old man approached the boy and said, “Do you realize how many starfish there are? There is just one of you, how do you expect to make a difference? The boy replied, while continuing his task and gently picking up a starfish and placing it back into the water; “It sure made a difference to that one!”

“I say this because I was first discouraged at how few donations we received and I wondered if it was worth the effort to press on and keep trying. I remembered that story and knew we had to do as much as we could with what little time and resources we had. Somewhere out there, with our donations; a family is eating, a child is coloring, a person is feeding their dog and cat when yesterday they didn’t have means of doing so. There are people with no power or water that can sanitize their hands before they eat, tend to basic wounds and have tissue to dry their tears. Our donations made a difference to those people.”

Thank you Summer for this beautiful and inspiring story. This is exactly the reason why I want to give people like you a platform here on my website. If we are able to inspire one person to do something good after reading this story, it was totally worth it! You don’t have to do a lot, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Do something small and give someone your time, that is more valuable than all the money in the world. Give someone your time and genuine interest and receive gratitude and love.

Email me if you have any questions for Summer, please use here name as subject so I can forward your mail.

Swen about Baseball against Cancer

In Januari 2012 childhood friends Swen Huijer and Joey van Ruth got the news the were chosen to ride the Alpe D’Huez to collect money for cancer research. (Apple D’Huez event: ride up the Alpe D’Huez as many  time as possible in one day by bike, and find your own sponsors) Joey joined to honer his father who had passed away and Swen joined to honor his grandfather who had also passed way. He  also got inspired seeing his nephew Walter survive cancer.

It was quite difficult to raise sponsor money so the two friends decided to organize a baseball event. Swen had played professional baseball for years and he had a wide network of people in the baseball industry. (also in the USA)  Because of his experience and network he was able to host a baseball clinic during spring break in the Netherlands. They named this event: Baseball against Cancer. The childhood friends had set the goal to collect €4000 on that day. But the succes was bigger than that, 200 children joined their clinic! They were so proud to see so many people joined and at the end of the day they had raised €4280, they had reached their goal.

In June of 2012 the friends proudly rode their bikes and climbed the Alpe D’Huez.

In Januari of 2013 Swen and Joey organized another baseball against Cancer event/clinic, not to ride the Alpe D’Huez but to collect money to donate directly to the Dutch Cancer Society. Since 2013 Baseball against cancer is organized every year in may.

In 2015 Swen founded the Baseball against Cancer foundation and in collaboration with Dutch softball international Ginger de Weert he also founded the Softball against Cancer foundation.Both foundations have a similar annual event in May.  Two days a year softball and baseball players fight against cancer by doing what they love most.

Since the start in 2012 both foundations have collected a lot of money by organizing clinics , selling merchandise and receiving donations, they have raised an amount of $100.000 in the fight against cancer! Swen and Ginger have set the goal other countries will join their foundation as well, so they can help even more people in the future!

Go to the website CLICK HERE

Do you have a question? Email me and put “Baseball” in the subject so I can forward your mail!

Jorenzo about aviation

Jorenzo is 18 years old and he is learning to become an aviation service employee. (cabin attendant). When Jorenzo was a little boy he used to look at the sky, and looking at the planes he couldn’t help but think “Why do people get on plains, are they crazy? So dangerous. But I still felt the urge to try it someday. On the 23rd of april 2011 I flew to Turkey with Transavia, my first flight ever! Transavia has been in my heart ever since. i was so fascinated looking at the cabin attendant, so friendly and always smiling. But being a cabin attendant is so much more then just serving coffee.”
Little did Jorenzo know, this one flight would awaken his passion for aviation. Flying is the perfect combination of all his interests: topography, cultures, traveling and being free, free from the ground. “I just love that feeling when we have lift of, you feel free, leaving all your troubles behind.”
Jorenzo started his education back in 2016, after 5 years of dreaming about aviation, he could finally make his dream a reality. “They teach us so many different things during our training, not only how we have to serve coffee, or how we have to give service to people, we also have to be able to evacuate the plane within 90 seconds! I started my Internship on Schiphol airport, my second home by now. I started with six months of assisting passengers at Schiphol airport. At this moment Im following an attestation training, completing this training will give me permission to fly. We are learning all the command’s and this train will teach us how to deal with aggressive passengers and hijacks.” It’s a scary idea that this might happen, the chances are slim but we have to be prepared for every situation.
Why Transavia?
“I just love Transavia, it’s hard to explain why I like Transavia the most. But look at it this way: I love Céline Dion, not everyone likes her voice, but I love her, it’s a feeling.”
Away from home.
“Transavia makes it possible to return to your homebase. (Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Rotterdam) You are able to stay at a location overnight when a flight is longer then 6 hours. And there is also a possibility at KLM to stay in another country to broaden your horizon. What the future will bring for me? I just have to work hard and take one step at a time. Only time will tell.”
Do you have any questions for Jorenzo? Email me and I will forward your email. Please put “Jorenzo” or “aviation” in the subject.

Dianne van Wissen about Gambia

Dianne van Wissen started Muzikale Vrienden after a holiday in West-Afrika. Muzikale Vrienden (Musical Friends) is an organization that helps people in Gambia that are in need of scholing or special care.

It all started for Dianne 11 years ago. “I booked a trip to west-Africa in 2007. I came in contact with a social worker, he showed me things a normal tourist would never see. After my trip I decided to return to Gambia for a week to see what kind of work he did from day to day. I especially wantend to see the hinterland, you truly feel like you are going back in time. No running water, no power, no gardens to grow vegetables in, not even good school materials. ”

Dianne couldn’t let go of the idea that she wanted to do more, and started an organization to help the residents. “We did a lot in the past 11 years. We made a lot of things possible like a banana garden, a school kitchen, water taps, a first aid post and a lot of other projects!”

The signing of a new project, with fingerprints because a lot of people can’t read or write:

These pictures truly show what we have done for the residents so far, this is the before and after of a school:

This is the ceremony for the new water tab:

Linda: “I find this story so inspiring and let me tell you a little secret (not so secret) Dianne is my aunt, and I will go to Gambia with her…someday…”

Do you have questions for Dianne? Email me and I will forward your mail, pleas put “Gambia” or “Dianne” in the subject, thanks!Do you want to donate, or read more (in Dutch) go to the website:



Stichting Muzikale Vrienden van Gambia in Monster, the Netherlands

NL11 RABO 0101 8642 13

Marjon about working in Bahrein

I have always enjoyed working with younger children. So after I graduated SPW from the Deltion College te Zwolle, I decided that I didn’t want work in a Day care centre right away.”

Marjon wanted adventure before she started a new job in the Netherlands. “I was 21 and I wanted to travel. As child I always said that I would travel to the USA some day. And I did! I decided to work as an aupair, I worked with an Aupair organisation in America.”

They organisation will help you to connect with family’s and they will stand by you throughout the proces.

“I had a few calls with different families, it was a very hard choice to make. But finally i decided to go to Virginia to work for a familie with an 8 year old girl. My english was basic at that point, and I needed to improve my English to grow as an aupair. I had a great year with them. I made many new friends, mostly europeans who are in the same program as me. (I still speak to a lot of them, even after all those years.) I decided to do one more year in the USA with another Familie in Connecticut , don’t get me wrong, I loved my familie in Virginia, but I wanted more experience. So I worked for a familie with 3 boys, a 4 year old, a 6 year old and an 8 year old boy. all where great kids, I learned a lot that year. Met new people but I was not as close to them as I was in Virginia.”

Marjon returned to the Netherlands to work as an aupair and started a job as waitress. She enjoyed herself a lot working as a waitress, but the family she worked with was not a good match so it was time for a new adventure!

“I came across an article from Gortz and Crown, a nanny company. I came in contact with the owner and she invited me over for an interview. And I was accepted to the program. I had to follow a course, 2 days a week from 7 till 10 at night in Leiden the Netherlands. By the time I started this course I lived back with my parents again. I had to travel a lot and the costs were high. I worked 2 jobs to be able to pay the train, bus and taxi. it was a long few months but i did it!! I was a proud Gortz and Crown nanny!”

Marjon started to look for a family that was in need of a nanny. The Gortz and Crown organization gave her the contact information to a family in Bahrain. Dutch Mom 7 months pregnant, an English dad and 3 other kids, 4,3,2 years old.

“It was a nice Familie and an interesting environment. The middle east is so different from what I am used too. People are layback relaxt, things don’t get done as we are used to. I will give you an example; when you bring your car to the Europe they tell u: come tomorrow at 12 and it’s done. In bahrain they will tell u inshallah/tomorrow, and when u come to pick your car up the next day, nothing has happend. They will tell you again, inshallah/tomorrow, but it will not be ready the next day, it will take a week or so. I did lose my temper and shouted, and it was done the next day because that dutch lady was very angry LOL.”

“I called my mom a few times when I just started working in Bahrein, hearing myself say “I am not staying longer then a year!” Today I have been in Bahrain for 9 years. I have build friendships, I have a Bahraini boyfriend and I work for an Arabic Family now for almost 6 years. A lot off people have criticized me why I wanted to live in the Middle East where the terrorist are! There are no Terrorist where I live, Arabic people are friendly and nice.They do have a different lifestyle than us. They have a lot of nannies and maids, also drivers and gardeners. I do life with an VIP family but they are down to earth. Arabic weddings i haven’t been in, but i do have seen them dressing up! I can tell u they go out as Princesses! Woman and men are separated. I did take part in an engagement, all ladies where dressed up fancy, I felt underdressed.

Life in Bahrein is a lot cheaper as it is in Holland so Marjon can do a lot more then what she could do in the Netherlands. “In holland I never took pedicures, manicures or massages. In Bahrain they are cheap, so I do it all the time. Middle eastern ladies like make up, I came to Bahrain with a mascara and 1 eye pencil. Now i have way more than that, so much that I don’t know where to put it. I don’t do my make-up like the arabic ladies do, they use a lot of products and I don’t want to do that to my skin. Their hair is always perfect.

Marjon loves living in Bahrein and could have never expected that she would call Bahrein “home” someday.

Marjon Norder