There are voices that need to be heard, organizations that need money, people that have a right to be known and causes that need respect.
I’ve known John Digby Lewis for many, many years. We often called ourselves, twins separated at birth. I was there when his oldest, adopted son was born – a story for another day… J.D. is the person that told me to become a natural redhead and I obeyed. Our vocal inflections are a dead-on match and we use the affectionate, slightly ironically toned, “doll” when addressing others – often. He’s a dedicated, energized and demanding acting teacher that taught me without question that “winging it” in any important circumstance was not acceptable and that being prepared, as a mantra, changed my fear factor to dedication in a big way.
A single Dad with two boys, living in Charlotte North Carolina, teaching actors and spreading his gift, they decided go on a year long trip around the world. Inspired by his son’s interest in making a difference, they started Twelve in Twelve, a foundation to help those in need. They traveled to twelve countries in twelve months, living with and closely participating in the daily life of twelve non-profit organizations, from Russia, Rwanda, Haiti, China, Peru, Australia – working in orphanages, hospices, hospitals, schools, etc. The pictures and vlogs were mind blowing. I was sometimes worried and concerned for their safety but always inspired by their strength, as well as, filled with huge emotional alliance that this was the best lesson these boys could ever have in their lives…
Here is an exerpt from his Huffington Post blog:
Like so many Americans, I was trapped in a cesspool swirl of middle-aged single-parent mediocrity. Waking up, caffeinating, making breakfast, packing brown paper bag lunches, getting my two boys off to school, working, re-caffeinating, working, picking up the kids from school, homework, dinner, half-caffeinating, working, bed. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Of course, I have no room to complain. I adopted both my sons at birth, as a single gay man, and, quite frankly, it’s the wisest choice I’ve ever made. But loving your kids does not necessarily save you from the ominous swirl.
And then one day, a startling declaration fell from my 13-year-old son’s mouth… “Dad, we have this great life, how come we’re not doing more to make a difference in the world?” My initial reaction was, “Who are you, and what have you done with my son?” Then, that thought morphed into a sense of pride. You see, when I was a teen, I had no social awareness beyond The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and Hawaii Five-O. My world revolved around “the California promise” — smoking pot, flipping burgers at Bob’s Big Boy and hitchhiking to the beach with my friends.
But because the gods are kind, my sons are different. I’m proud to say that they actually care about their fellow man. And my eldest’s query sparked the beginning of a mystic journey around the globe that we would call Twelve in Twelve. My two sons and I traveling around the world for a year, doing humanitarian work on all seven continents (12 countries in 12 months). I introduce you to the Lewis family: J.D. (middle-aged), Jackson (15) and Buck (10). Three boys on a mission to try and make a difference…
The decision was made to pack up the house, take the kids out of school and embark on a yearlong sojourn. We hadn’t a clue how to go about it, but we trusted it would somehow unfold. Ignorance is bliss.
J.D. and his sons Jackson and Buck continue to do charitable work through their organization and are launching a new, exciting program Twelve Good Deeds. Please check in with the blog and website for more details.