Young people inspire with such grace and love

One of the people I share the work of the iF Foundation with is Bob Hood, a retired businessman from Cazenovia, N.Y. Bob has dedicated his life to helping people in Haiti. He is an inspiration to all who know him. Bob’ s inspiration comes in part from the memory of his beautiful daughter Kara, who tragically lost her life while doing humanitarian work in S. Africa several years ago. The Kara Hood Center serves as a gathering place in Thibeau, Haiti for Haitians to come together to cultivate and enjoy community and fellowship. Bob’s tireless efforts for the people of Haiti is exceptional.

Bob shared a letter with me recently written by his 14 year old nephew, whose story below deserves to be highlighted in our blog. I will let his words speak for themselves and simply close by saying I am amazed and blessed by the witness of so many young people who care about the world they have inherited. With young people like Sebo as leaders, the world should be in good shape. Enjoy!

The Rev. Canon James E. Byrum

Dear Uncle Bob,

First of all, Merry Christmas! I hope that you had a nice holiday. Ours sure was great. On Christmas Eve we had a big family dinner and then we watched the movie Horton Hears a Who which (if your as big of a Dr. Suess fan as my dad is, then you will know) is a cute family- oriented story about an elephant that helps a community of tiny, helpless people find safety in a world full of huge animals doing huge things, with no care for others around them. Then the next morning we all exchanged gifts and everyone was excited to go off and use their new toys, but before we could there was other business to attend to.

Adamant in our belief that Christmas is about giving, not receiving, as a family we decided to make contributions to different charities in the name of us, the kids. Karalyn made a donation to Save The Whales, because whenever we went to Hawaii we were all exited to see the whales, but not as exited as her. Brittany made a donation to Smile Train, a charity that gives free surgery to kids in third world countries with cleft lips (often referred to as mark of the devil), a mutation that prevents people with it from ever accomplishing anything unless it is fixed. Austin made a donation to the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund, an organization that gives instruments to the musicians that lost everything during Katrina. Having instruments allows them to continue doing what it is that makes New Orleans such a special place, and since Austin now attends college there (at Loyola), this cause is very dear to him.

I made a donation to the IF Foundation/Bob Hood Haiti Education Library. We choose your charity because first of all, you’re our family which means we support you in everything you do, and second of all, because there needs to be more people like you in our world, stepping up and helping the little people who can’t help themselves yet, just like Horton. However silly it may be to compare something so serious to a children’s story, it works perfectly. All of the corrupt government officials, all of the bad people in the world who don’t give two damns about Haiti and its people, they are the selfish animals, the Haitians, they are the Whos, minding their own business and trying to stay alive, and you are Horton the elephant, courageously standing with the Whos to try and help them. There is only one difference between your story and the story of Horton – in your case you do not stand alone. There are other good people standing with you. I am standing with you, and the rest of my family is standing with you. One day I hope to literally stand with you, and go to Haiti to help in any way I can, but until then I am with you in spirit.

My final words, thank you Uncle Bob, my family and I appreciate everything you do and wish for more people like you in this world.

All of my love and support, Your Nephew,


5 Responses to “Young people inspire with such grace and love”

  1. Eileen February 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    This is such a lovely letter!

  2. Bob Hood February 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    I’m proud to be your uncle, Sebo, and proud of your family for sharing with people who are less fortunate. It is unsettling for me to be a part of a society who leaves others so far behind. The poverty and oppression that the people of Haiti are forced to live under is a contradiction to my life and values as a human being. I am hopeful that your example will lead others of your generation to share their time, talents and treasures as well. It is what we are all called by God to do.
    It is a joy and an encouragement to work along side the good people with the IF Foundation. Together we are helping a community of our Haitian sisters and brothers to create a sustainable life style for themselves. Everyone deserves safe water to drink; opportunities to earn a living; education; and health care for their families.
    I look forward to taking you to Haiti in the near future, Sebo. It is a life changing experience.
    Uncle Bob

    • fatherB March 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

      Sebo your assessment of your uncle is right on the mark! And you are following in his footsteps by your interest and concern for the poor. All the best as you continue to grow in your desire and understanding about helping the world become a better place for all.

      Fr. Byrum

    • Vino September 8, 2012 at 6:09 am #

      Wow! So you are doing a volunteer work in Haiti? I want too! :( Haiti is a beuifutal country even before the earthquake. I think the Haitians are even more beuifutal. :) Love to be there too to help them. Please say I care for them and they\’re in my prayers. ;)

      • Raza November 21, 2012 at 7:57 am #

        You have too much, really? This is what you’re thcaeing your children? To feel guilty for achievement, success, and a lifestyle that you’ve earned with your own hard work because you are lucky enough to live in the greatest country in the world that afforded you that opportunity? You are ashamed’ of your excess and are going to pass this misdirected guilt on to your children? Why don’t you show them the billions being directed to Haiti through (among other things) the deployment of the greatest military in the world, liquidate their college funds for donation, and march them straight down to the recruiter’s office and sign them up for the delayed entry program. Believe me, they won’t make too much’ money and they might actually get a real eductaion. Compassion is not learned by way of guilt and shame.

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