Touching Lives, Giving Back
“Our opportunity is to give other people an opportunity. In this case,
it’s to help these children have an opportunity to live.”
— Jeremy, WIN Distributor
|A pair of small, chocolate brown eyes looks up and sees your smile. As this precious, curly-haired girl grins and laughs, her tiny hand clasps your hand, instantly melting your heart. Smiling Israeli children—who have also overcome severe illnesses, surgeries, neglect and abandonment — continue playing and laughing around you. Imagine making a difference and touching the lives of children who have close to nothing.
“When we played with the children, we were all overwhelmed,” shares Marcellino, a retired theology Ph.D. professor who led a group of 92WIN distributors and friends on a charitable excursion to the Holy Family Hospital and Orphanage in Bethlehem, Israel. “We had other things to do that day, but no one wanted to leave because everyone was having such a great time playing with the children. They were fun and couldn’t speak English, so it was all non-verbal communication.”
WIN distributors joined together with WIN’s giving back spirit and donated nearly $5,000 in honor of WIN Founders Ralph and Cathy Oats to help provide neonatal intensive care for abandoned babies and assistance for the orphanage. The group also handed out 80 St. Jude teddy bears for the children to enjoy. At this hospital, children experience quite a change in their early lives. After being picked up by nuns from the streets of a poverty-stricken city, these children have a second chance at life, receiving all the safety, care and medical attention they need from a highly trained, international medical staff.
“Seeing babies in the neonatal care unit really hit my heart. The infants were around seven months old, but they looked six or seven weeks old. Most of them were abandoned babies with respiratory and breathing problems, and they looked sickly and malnourished,” shares Jeremy, from Texas. “But the hospital takes care of them, just loves on them, gives them surgery or whatever they need. It was crazy to see children that have suffered so much, but it’s great that they give them a safe place to learn, grow and be healthy.”
Because Ralph and Cathy received help during some hard times in their lives, philanthropy has been a major priority in their lives. They foundedWIN in 1992 with a focus and dedication of helping others because they had learned firsthand the importance of giving to improve physical, mental and financial health. “This trip was a great example of what WIN has been doing all along and Ralph and Cathy have encouraged us to be more mindful in serving and giving in response to what we have been given,” shares Jeremy. “Our opportunity is to give other people an opportunity. In this case, it’s to help these children have an opportunity to live.”
Because Ralph and Cathy established a legacy of giving back long before they began WIN, many WIN distributors have followed their example of improving the physical, mental and financial health of people all over the world. “Seeing the poverty in Israel was an eye-opener for us. This trip made us grateful for everything we have,” shares Marcellino, a best-selling author and Million-Dollar Producer who plans to contribute $25,000 to this hospital in the future. “Giving back is so important in this business. You want to earn more, so you can give more to others.”
Laura also understands the importance of giving back as she continues improving her community by supporting many charitable organizations along with her husband, Reynold. Not only do they raise thousands of dollars for breast cancer research each year, they also have raised $10,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
This philanthropic couple stays very active in their church, offering marriage mentoring and serving on the leadership team. They were also recognized as the 2005 Recipients of the Philanthropy Day Award by a local magazine. Laura and Reynold support alumni events for Wellesley College and MIT, where they attended respectively, and have founded scholarships and led several organizations within their children’s schools.
For the last few years, WIN distributors have donated more than 200 wheelchairs to the Wheelchair Foundation in honor of Ralph and Cathy. In 2008, WIN distributors Ab, Ada, Kees and Maritza led these charitable efforts in the Netherlands. One of WIN’s favorite non-profit organizations, the Wheelchair Foundation aims to deliver a wheelchair to anyone internationally that needs one but cannot afford one.
David and Susan have also been serving people internationally for a long time. This couple enjoys traveling to Belize and offering free medical care to anyone in need. In fact, Susan has volunteered her surgical services for 11 missions to Belize. Her time freedom with WIN allows her to serve and remember why she became a physician — to help others in need. “When you go to a foreign country and they have nothing, and you give them something — it’s priceless! Nothing can compare to that!”
Paying It Forward
In July 2005, Ralph and Cathy saw a need to make a difference in Haiti, and this country, which has an estimated poverty rate of 80 percent, still remains a priority for WIN. “Cathy and I have experienced poverty in our lives, but nothing like what exists in Haiti,” says Ralph. “We really wanted to try and make a small difference in someone’s life during the short time we visited the island.”
Seeing the poverty conditions in Labadee, Hispaniola really prompted Ralph and Cathy to start supporting the charitable organization Hearts Together for Haiti (HTFH). In fact, when WIN’s top producers set sail for the Escape to the Islands 2009 cruise in the Caribbean, distributors will have an incredible opportunity to donate clothing, toiletries and supplies just like on the 2006 cruise.
Ralph and Cathy consistently support many other organizations, including Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). WIN distributors from all over the world participated in the charitable fun as they helped “Strike Out Diabetes” during the 2008 Anniversary Gala festivities. Everyone enjoyed bowling the night away and raising more than $12,000 for JDRF in 2008.
Employees at WIN’s Corporate Headquarters have continued to help others, raising money for Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer, donating WIN’s high-quality products to Hurricane Ike victims and gathering school supplies for 18 at-risk children for Rainbow Days.With a dedication to giving back, WIN also brightened the holidays for 35 children from the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center by gathering toys, clothes, bikes and gifts.
Because WIN is based on giving others an opportunity to improve their lives, distributors continue to follow Ralph and Cathy Oats’ example in giving back to others and improving the physical, mental and financial wellness of people around the world.