Daddy? Why are all these people helping us so much?

Posted by Ryans Dad on 18th November 2009

This was the question Ryan posed to me this evening, “Daddy? Why are all these people helping us so much?”. A fair question to be sure since in the last 12 days we have had the Johnson family lend us woodworking tools, numerous staff of Binghamton University spending countless hours to help us find a home for our event, 3i Graphics donating signage and at least two different Binghamton University student volunteer groups asking to be involved. Beyond that we have had many, many people telling us they plan to come on Saturday to participate in our Work Builders Block Party. So, a  fair question indeed.

What struck me in his question was his sincerity. He simply doesn’t realize just how special it is, what he is doing. So, he does not understand why so many people want to pitch in and help. He is excited about Saturday’s event not because he will personally get anything out of it or from any expectations of play or “party”. He is excited because people will be helping us make more blocks and that means more to give to Toys for Tots and SOS Shelter. Now I know I am biased as his dad, but really, there is something special there.

But back to Ryan’s question, why are all these people helping us so much? To answer his question I found myself explaining what it means “to inspire”. Put simply, I told him that all of these people have seen what he is doing and they think it is good, especially coming from a 6yr old. They are  moved by his good intentions to the point that they feel they want to help and be a part of it in some way. They have been inspired.

I think he understands now, why all of these people are helping us. But at the same time I do not believe he thinks he is doing anything overly special. For him, this is just what he does and it is fun. And that, is a good thing.


Visiting United Way and learning about LIVE UNITED

Posted by Ryans Dad on 13th November 2009

Yesterday my wife and I escorted Ryan on a visit to the offices of the United Way of Broome County located here in Vestal, NY. After the Staff and Board of Directors learned of Ryan’s intention to support United Way, they extended an invitation for him to visit.

Ryan showing off his LIVE UNITED shirt!

Ryan showing off his LIVE UNITED shirt!

On the way to their offices Ryan was full of questions about the United Way. What charities do they help? Would they want his building blocks? What does “LIVE UNITED” mean? All good questions and perfect for discussion during our visit.

We were hosted for the visit by Mr. Bruce Dudley, the Communications Director for United Way of Broome County. Mr. Dudley had lots of good questions for Ryan about his business and his building blocks. That was really great for helping Ryan to get comfortable with the visit. I notice that when ever Ryan is asked to talk about his building block business or better yet to show them to someone, his face lights up a bit and his shyness seems to fade. He really likes what he is doing.

We learned that United Way supports one of Ryan’s chosen charities, SOS Shelter. Ryan also learned that United Way supports a few other organizations which he is aware of or even involved with such as Boy Scouts of America and the JCC where Ryan had pre-school and now attends after school programming.

Ryan receives his own LIVE UNITED t-shirt

Ryan receives his own LIVE UNITED t-shirt

During the course of our visit Ryan also learned what “LIVE UNITED” means. Mr. Dudley explained by telling Ryan that “We all live in the world together and depend on one another. When we help one person we are helping everyone and that is what it means to LIVE UNITED”. He went on to tell Ryan the by doing what he is doing, supporting the United Way and other charities, he is LIVING UNITED too.

Then Mr. Dudley gave Ryan a gift, the LIVE UNITED t-shirt you see here. Ryan was delighted to have received the shirt. He had already seen some of these shirts. Over the last few weeks we had been researching various charity organizations with Ryan. While learning about United Way we watched their new videos which talk about LIVE UNITED.

I think by the time our visit was over Ryan was even more confident in his intent to support United Way. Every day is a learning opportunity in some way.

Categories: Charitable Giving

From scrap wood comes an idea

Posted by Ryans Dad on 26th September 2009

It was some scrap wood and another project that brought the idea for Ryan. Let’s make some building blocks for kids to play with!

Ryan's inspiration project

Ryan with his "bed for stuffed animals" in progress.

The project of the day was one of building a bed for Ryan’s stuffed animals. I had some scrap wood in the garage from a previous home improvement project and Ryan thought it was perfect to use to build a bed.

As I was cutting the pieces of wood to size with an old circular saw, Ryan noticed the pieces that were dropping to the floor. After pondering them a bit he picked up a few and said, “These would be good for building blocks Dad! Can I make some?” That was simple enough to do so why not?

He gathered together a group of 8 or 10 wood blocks of different sizes and called them a set. With a little sanding on the edges to take off some frayed sliver edges, he had some new toys.

It was at this point that he surprised me by saying he wanted to give this set of blocks to his little brother Collin as a present. Once again, why not? So off he went to find some wrapping paper, scissors and tape to “make the present”. Getting all of this pulled together with barely a minute to spare, he was able to give Collin his present just before bedtime.

Collin was delighted in receiving a present from his big brother and a hand-made one to boot! The smile on his face beamed and he set out to play at once (in spite of the looming bedtime routine). I must say that this father had a pretty good smile on his face as well, enjoying one son giving so happily to his brother and the younger enjoying the gift so enthusiastically.

This is a great way to end your day!

Categories: Easy Builders