Forty volunteers from the WeLoveU Foundation gathered together in Hampton, Virginia on a resident’s front lawn to lend a helping hand. The resident—92 year-old Ms. Celestine Monroe—has lived in her Hampton home for the past 47 years. However, because of difficulty, Ms. Monroe has not been able to take care of her yard as she has hoped.
So, on Sunday, May 26, 2019, volunteers from WeLoveU came to do just that—assist with yardwork! When they first arrived, Ms. Monroe was shocked to see so many volunteers come together to help her. She began by saying to the group, “Forty-seven years I lived here, and it’s the worse it’s looked.”
Rollin’ Up Our Sleeves!
With a sense of urgency to help Ms. Monroe, volunteers began working right away. A few started painting the fence, cleaning out the gutters and power washing the house. Still others began refurbishing her swing, pulling up weeds, and bundling dead branches from the back yard. These cleanup efforts grabbed the attention of neighbors on the block and drivers. As Ms. Monroe was monitoring the work, she said, “I am so grateful, I love it! [I] love it that there are so many people, young people that care about the elderly in Hampton. This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.”
The Hampton Community Coming Together
Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck heard about this cleanup and stopped by. He shared many words of encouragement and thanks to the WeLoveU volunteers. Likewise, Ms. Spragen, City Development for Hampton representative, who helped coordinate this project arrived as well.
She was moved to see WeLoveU’s enthusiasm to assist Ms. Monroe. The WeLoveU Foundation finds it very important to help our senior citizens, especially since they devoted their lives to building today’s society through their hard work. She reiterated numerous times how amazing it is to see people from all backgrounds express their love for the community through actions.
“When I turned the corner, actually it was breathtaking, overwhelming, jaw dropping, all of that. And I think it is a wonderful thing and hope you continue to do good work. Thank you all so much. The hardest thing to do is the right thing, so please continue to do the right thing.”
The International WeLoveU Foundation East Coast Region hosts its very first Family Health and Wellness Expo in partnership with Councilwoman-at-Large Rysheema Dixon.
Living a healthy lifestyle begins at home. With the right education and resources, several health issues affecting Americans today can be managed and in some cases, prevented. However, what happens when information isn’t easily accessible? It can stop individuals from making positive health choices, affecting not only themselves, but their family.
Acting as a bridge, granting people access to proper health resources, WeLoveU stepped in by hosting a Family Health and Wellness Expo on March 24, 2019, at the H. Fletcher Brown Boys and Girls Club. The WeLoveU Foundation worked alongside Councilwoman Dixon, who they met last fall during the Christiana Care Book Drive; she sits on the Health, Aging, and Disabilities Committee in Wilmington.
The Family Health and Wellness Expo
Early in the morning, WeLoveU volunteers from Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York joined forces to transform the Boys and Girls Club gymnasium. They had stations for vendors, a stage for guest speakers and performances, and the children’s play zone.
The Delaware Joint Army and Air Color Guard opened the event by presenting the Presentation of the Colors followed by the National Anthem. After the ceremony, guest speakers came forward, one after another, welcoming guests and highlighting key points about health. Throughout the day, a variety of dance performances entertained the crowd. However, their dances contained an important message to stay active. One performance in particular, “Let’s Move!” is an anti-obesity national campaign created by Michelle Obama to raise a healthier generation of kids.
I want to thank the WeLoveU Foundation and Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah for partnering with me to hold this event, and to ensure our families and citizens of Wilmington have access to healthy events such as this. This is our second event together. We actually did a literacy campaign at Wilmington hospital previously, where they donated over 1,600 books to the pediatric department at Wilmington hospital. Thank you for coming out this afternoon. Enjoy all the activities that we have for you today, and enjoy this wonderful afternoon as a family, as we share in addressing health issues.
Hand-in-Hand Learning Together
Nearly 20 health-related organizations attended the expo, offering spinal screenings, blood pressure checks, cooking demonstrations and more. The Family Health and Wellness Expo was open for several hours. This provided visitors with enough time to thoroughly stop by each station. The vendors gladly answered all their questions, even providing free brochures and contact information.
It’s equally important for kids to lead healthy lives as their families. Children also stopped by each station to learn. When they visited each station, they then moved on to the Children’s Play Zone. At the station, kids had their faces painted, received animal balloons, and played interactive games.
New Castle County officers and Delaware State Troopers stocked their stations with coloring books, stickers, and drawstring bags for the kids. In addition, the officers and local firefighters gave tours of their cruisers and trucks.
Senator Christopher A. Coons extended his sincere congratulations to the WeLoveU Foundation for enhancing the quality of life for people throughout the world and U.S. Although the Senator was unable to attend, a representative came, delivering a letter signed from the Senator.
“…Today’s Family Health and Wellness Expo serves as a reflection of all the hard work that the Intl. WeLoveU Foundation has put forth this year and years prior. I am truly grateful for the work that the International WeLoveU Foundation has done in continuing to safe guard our communities through volunteerism, community service and health awareness…”
From the time I got here and I drove up, the volunteers were so welcoming. They helped me get my materials out of the car. It’s just been great to see so many volunteers and people from the community very concerned and engaged in the importance of coming together to have events like this to promote health and wellness in our community—especially here in the city of Wilmington where I was born. I would love to do some type of international or even regional blood drive with your organization.
“Books are used for distraction during medical procedures, and reading promotes relaxation during stressful times. The Child Life team at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital focuses on maintaining development during a child’s hospital stay. Reading is an important component in this mission,” says Amy Glazer.
The hospital, outfitted and designed for the care of children aged from infancy to young adulthood, goes through plenty of books for their youthful patients to peruse. Each patient is allowed one book of their own to keep, from the time they check in the hospital until the time they return home. With the numerous families seeking care and treatment for their loved ones, the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital could certainly use a helping hand themselves.
All Hands on Deck!
The WeLoveU Foundation put out a call to collect books for the children’s hospital, who provides each of its patients a book they can call their own. The goal at hand: collect 2,000 new children’s books. For the whole month of January, WeLoveU partnered with Barnes & Noble, sharing the book drive with neighbors, friends, families, and city officials.
The month-long drive garnered support fromHackensack Mayor John Labrosse (top left), Radio Hall of Fame DJBert Baron (top right), and more than 140 WeLoveU volunteers whose workplaces also participated by donating books. A donation even came throughAmazonSmilefrom India!
With an overwhelmingly positive response and meeting their goal, the WeLoveU Foundation couldn’t wait to see the final result.
World Read Aloud Day
In the midst of the book drive, WeLoveU volunteers celebratedWorld Read Aloud Day on February 1, 2019. On this day, people around the world read aloud together and share stories advocating for literacy as a human right, which belongs to all people.
WeLoveU volunteers visited and read to children in thePrinceton Young Achieversprogram in Princeton, New Jersey. It’s a unique after-school program at the YMCA that aims to improve students school performance and English language skills.
Lisette, a WeLoveU volunteer who read to the students said, “It’s a great opportunity to give back to the community in this way. I enjoyed reading aloud to the children today. Not only did we share a story, but we were able to share happiness and emotions between one another. Seeing the children smile and have fun in this way made me feel accomplished.”
On Thursday, February 7, 2019, WeLoveU volunteers packed all 2,000 books and drove them over to the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital for the big delivery.
A group of volunteers on-site helped set up the boxes and books for the group photo. Hospital personnel attending the book drive delivery included Vice-chair of Pediatrics Dr. Stephen Percy, Executive Director of Development Amy Glazer, Supervisor of Child Life Ellen Goldring, and Child Life Specialist Erika Bella.
The Vice President of the WeLoveU Foundation East Coast Region, delivered a brief speech on behalf of the organization. For some of the hospital staff, it was their first time hearing about WeLoveU and its mission. While others recognize us from the 2017 Toy Drive for the children’s hospital.
“Having a donation of 2,000 books will provide many children and their families opportunities to escape from the stress of being in a hospital and read a good book together,” said the Executive Director of Development.
When asked about his thoughts were about the WeLoveU Foundation and their book drive, Dr. Stephen Percy (right) responded with a laugh saying, “Let’s do this every week!”
He continues saying, “I think its tremendous. What we do is not only share the books with them, but let them go home with books. I always tell parents the best thing you can do with your kids is read to them. This is a terrific start to have the resources to allow us to do that. Thank you very much for what you do and keep doing it. You’re making a difference in the world every day.”
Thanks everyone who participated, the book drive was a great success. The WeLoveU Foundation looks forward to having more events like this, working together to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that were set in 2015. This event in particular is a step closer to fulfillingGoal #4—Quality Education.
WeLoveU hopes to plant the love of reading books and learning, which will last a lifetime.
Did you know?
Did you know more than 1 in 3 American children enter kindergarten without the basic skills they need to learn to read?
Children deserve an inclusive, equitable, and quality education as our next generation. The building blocks to a successful future start at an early stage of life. Luckily, one of the many tools a child needs in order to develop the foundation of learning may be found in our own households: books. Books contain words that children may never hear in everyday conversation. Also, those who read often express their joy in learning overall.
Power of Reading
The Christiana Care Hospitalin Wilmington, Delaware fosters this type of environment by incorporating books into pediatric care. They do so by partnering with theReach Out and Readprogram that provides new children’s books to children—starting from ages six months to 5 years old—during their well visits. They also encourage families to read aloud together often. The program also provides families with strategies to develop literacy for all stages of a child’s life.
However, the demand for books increases over time as patients walk in and out of the pediatric wing.
Plan of Action
When WeLoveU heard about the hospital’s need for children’s books, they sprang into action right away. They connected with Barnes & Noble about hosting book drives which they gladly agreed to help. So, for a little over three weeks from September to October, WeLoveU raised awareness about the cause and asked for book donations at local Barnes & Noble’s and on social media.
Many shoppers purchased books when they learned about the group’s cause and donated them. More so, about 250 WeLoveU volunteers purchased books from Barnes & Noble and other retailers and online distributors.
The Big Day
On October 19, 2018, the big day came for the book delivery. Volunteers met at the Christiana Care Hospital’s pediatric clinic. With their blue WeLoveU shirts, they brought with them exactly 1,618 children’s books.
Forty-five people in total attended the event. Even children in the hospital came and picked a book of their choice. One child excitedly grabbed a book and held it tightly. This is a telling sign that the fundraiser and the Reach Out and Read program will continue to touch the hearts of all who participate. WeLoveU is hopeful the youth will grow up with greater opportunities for success and happiness.
Along with the books, WeLoveU presented a plaque to Dr. Amanda Kay, the Medical Director of the Pediatric Practice Program.
Dr. Kay tearfully accepted the plaque saying, “This is one of the most caring and inspiring events I’ve ever had the opportunity to be a part of.” She also gave many other words of thanks and encouragement.
Councilwoman Rysheema Dixon from the city of Wilmington also attended the book ceremony.
She presented the WeLoveU Foundation with a proclamation saying, “Today’s event was amazing. I am extremely, extremely excited for all the work the WeLoveU Foundation is going to continue to do in our city.”
New Life Family Walkathon: A Walk for Bright Minds
On Sunday, August 5, 2018, the first-ever East Coast New Life Family Walkathon took place in the country’s capital—Washington D.C—to help our neighbors in the global village. Nearly 2,000 participants gathered on the 3rd Street Gravel at the National Mall—the long, grassy home of iconic monuments—across from the U.S. Capitol Building.
It’s been twenty years since WeLoveU’s Chairwoman, Zahng Gil-jah, began her journey to benefit marginalized populations, refugees of climate change and war, children with incurable diseases and more through walkathons. And now, her seed has taken root and blossomed in the East Coast Region of the United States.
“I’m pleased to see the New Life Family Walkathon contributing to saving life and strengthening unity between family members. I think the greatest power in this world is love.” -Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah
Embraced by the summer rays, members flocked from all points along the East Coast—from Florida to Boston—to participate in this very special event.
Back in May, the WeLoveU Foundation delivered 3,000 solar-powered lanterns to vocational students in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This effort known asThe #BrightHaiti Projectwas created to provide vocational students with a clean and safe source of light. While at the same time act as a tool of hope as they study for a brighter future.
Now, the New Life Family Walkathon is the vehicle to launch the second phase of The #BrightHaiti Project. The next phase involves installing solar panels in vocational schools and donating school supplies. Under the slogan, “Bright minds need bright lights,” the WeLoveU East Coast Region pledges to take the lead in caring for our family members in need in the Western Hemisphere.
A Mother’s Love: The Power That Makes the World Go Round
At 10 a.m., the opening ceremony began with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem accompanied by the U.S. Navy Color Guard. Next, a cultural dance followed and then the President of the WeLoveU Foundation East Coast Region, Daniel Lee, gave his opening remarks.
Mr. Lee began by reminding the participants of the purpose behind their gathering. It’s to make a bright Haiti and for the well-being of humanity, but moreover, he emphasized the unique driving force behind WeLoveU’s activities, which is a mother’s love. With this love, WeLoveU is able to see, hear and also take care of the difficulties experienced by many in the global village.
He said, “The love of a mother is the core to each and every activity, initiative and event carried out by the International WeLoveU Foundation. In this world where individualism is increasing, people in tough times are often left behind in despair. For those with such difficulties, the best solution is a mother’s love. It is only a mother’s love that has the capacity to care for and consider all people of the world.”
“I could continue to go on and on about the activities that have been made possible because of volunteers like you. But I mention all these examples as a way to demonstrate that all of us today are making a difference beyond what our eyes can see,” said Rebecca Parker, Vice President of Communications.
Afterward, another representative stepped forward explaining how WeLoveU’s activities and initiatives align with the United Nation’s 17Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development including 17 goals to fulfill their universal vision of ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all. In a nutshell, the SDGs intend to transform the world.
Along the walkway were panels highlighting WeLoveU’s activities that contribute to the fulfillment of these goals. For example, installing water pumps goes hand-in-hand to accomplish the sixth goal of clean water and sanitation. Delivering solar-powered lanterns to vocational students in Haiti helps fulfill quality education and affordable and clean energy.
After reading the panels, members pledged their support to fulfill the goals through WeLoveU’s volunteer service projects. After signing a pledge, they placed a sticker on the world map. It’s because WeLoveU’s initiatives not only impact one region but extend a helping hand to the whole world.
“WeLoveU has been carrying out initiatives, activities, and events similar to these goals for nearly two decades. And during this time, WeLoveU has developed an approach to our humanitarian work that is driven by four major core values: humility, encouragement, love, patience, and sacrifice. In short, WeLoveU H.E.L.P.S.,” said John Casas.
To wrap up the opening remarks, a special speaker came forward—Mayor Dean Mazzarella from Leominster, Massachusetts. Just an hour outside of Boston, the mayor has been supporting WeLoveU’sClean WORLDactivities and spreading WeLoveU’s message throughout the city of Leominster.
He said, “I can’t encourage more to other local elected officials, state or federal officials across the world: this is the organization you want to team up with. The definition of community is WeLoveU Foundation.”
Walking for the Happiness of Seven Billion People!
Around noon, all participants rallied to the starting point for the main event—the walk! After the ceremonial ribbon cutting at the front line, President Lee cued by saying, “Start!” The marching band began to play and the walkathon officially started.
A sea of blue shirts paraded around the 2.5-mile course for the happiness of all seven billion people. All ages from the youngest to the oldest walked together hand-in-hand with their families and friends. And giving an extra boost of encouragement, a cheer team held signs and cheered on the walkers saying: “Don’t give up!” “Shine the Light, Make it Bright!” “WeLoveU!” “Walk for Bright Minds!”
When everyone reached the finish line, a loud ‘hooray!’ resounded throughout the National Mall. It was a meaningful time for all to reflect on the impact of their actions while also realizing once again that all people of the global village are one family. By the early afternoon, families and friends ate their lunches together enjoying the shade and summer breeze.
Through the New Life Family Walkathon, WeLoveU affirms to deliver hope and support to those affected by adversity and misfortune. This can be accomplished with acts of compassion, devotion and an unconditional love of that of a mother. The participant’s steps will reach those in overseas countries and resound throughout the whole world.
About 1,500 miles away from New York is the island of Haiti. It’s the third-largest country in the Caribbean with Cuba and Dominican Republic following behind. It’s also the first independent colony in the Western Hemisphere.
However, only one-fourth of Haiti has access to electricity. That’s only 2.5 million out of 10 million people living on the island who are connected to the power grid. Not to mention, even for them, electricity is inconsistent. It’s available between five to nine hours a day. Blackouts are frequent and it can stop anyone’s daily activities. Everyone needs proper and safe access to electricity, but a group that can benefit from it the most are students, especially those enrolled in Haiti’s vocational school program. So, students enrolled in the Wharf Jérémie Vocational and Technical Training Center show they’re actively taking measures to make a brighter future for themselves and their families—despite difficulties they may face. They’re serious about their studies with an occupation in mind. Yet, what can stop even the most diligent student? Lack of electricity.
Bright Minds Need Bright Lights
With this in mind, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah, decided to step in to give students in Haiti the gift of light. Because of her, The #BrightHaiti Project was born—a campaign to donate 3,000 solar-powered lanterns to students in Port-au-Prince.
A little light can go a long way. A solar-powered lamp could mean saved expenses on kerosene or batteries. It could mean hours of extra study or more time earning an income to make ends meet. It could mean graduation and a career. And bright minds with successful careers mean a bright future for Haiti.
Through this, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah hopes to empower students to succeed.
Zahng Gil-jah set the example of sharing the love of a mother through all volunteer projects. To fulfill this, members from WeLoveU traveled to Haiti to personally deliver the lanterns to the Wharf Jérémie Vocational and Technical Training Center.
Sending Love to Haiti
On May 30, the WeLoveU team touched down in Port-au-Prince. The 3,000 solar-powered lanterns the vocational school received are valued at more than US$150,000.
The next day, the WeLoveU team visited the school for the ceremony. Because of space, only 1,000 students could fit in the auditorium; so many were listening from outside. In attendance were the Director of the Institute of Vocational Training, the Project Manager from the Presidential office, and the Principal of the school. All of them expressed how meaningful this donation was and how it will impact their lives.
“The WeLoveU Foundation, which declares to us by its name its great love without having to say it, is thus committed with its BrightHaiti project alongside the National institute of vocational training to raise their voice together and say today, “Let there be light,” on the academic path of the students of our professional centers, and the light will shine on the success of your studies and on your professional future.”
– Ronald Legoute | Project Manager | Private Office of the President of Haiti
“I’d like to repeat that it is my duty to express my sincere thanks to this organization today and to its Chairwoman Zhang Gil-jah who gives us, the President of Haiti his excellency, Jovenel Moïse, and Haiti as a country hope for a better future. A Bright Haiti, a smart Haiti, a professional Haiti. That’s what we all want.”
– Maguy Durcé | General Director of the INFP
“God said, “Let there be light and there was light.” He gave light and life to people and told them to love one another. The spirits then asked God, “What is love?, and God had said, “To love is to selflessly give to others.” So, to love is WeLoveU. I would like to ask everyone, all of the students, to please give a standing ovation and applaud these people for this beautiful gesture.”
– Jean Marie Boujolie | Principal of CEPROTECH
Then, Mr. Lee, the President of the WeLoveU Foundation East Coast Region, delivered a speech full of encouragement and determination to the students. The Foundation’s earnest wish is to deliver the love of a mother.
Afterwards, the WeLoveU team began distributing the solar-powered lanterns to the students. Their smiling faces lit up the room and they expressed their gratitude to Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah for her donation. The lights are a tool of hope and an instrument to complete their education.
Watching the students use the lanterns was one of many highlights during this campaign. The vision and dream of Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah for The #BrightHaiti Project was now coming to fruition. Students can read their schoolbooks with ease and practice their trade at home when the sun goes down. They can also walk safely in the dark, but this is only the beginning. The International WeLoveU Foundation commits to helping Haiti through various projects under the initiative The #BrightHaiti Project.
WeLoveU volunteers visit and hold consolatory parties for senior citizens who devoted their lives to their families.
A dozen WeLoveU volunteers met at The Landing at Willow Grove to host a senior appreciation event. The Landing at Willow Grove is a personal care and senior living community located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The appreciation event held on January 28, 2018, is part of WeLoveU’s social welfare initiative.
Volunteer’s Visit Provides Musical Healing
The itinerary for the day was a list of musical performances because listening to music provides therapeutic value to listeners. WeLoveU made sure to entertain the seniors as many are battling with Alzheimer’s. Sources suggest that listening or singing songs can provide emotional and behavioral benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease. In America, 1 in 10 people age 65 and older battle with Alzheimer’s. In addition, it’s important to bring live performances to the residents who may not be able to experience them otherwise.
An Afternoon of Joy
WeLoveU volunteers introduced themselves to all the senior residents; the room was packed. Simultaneously, preparations for the performances also began.
Thoughtfully, volunteers created a program to include songs the residents consider to be their favorite musical past times. The room’s atmosphere changed when volunteers sang “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross and also “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, the Disney classic. Senior residents became more and more engaged as Elvis impersonations, dance performances, and impromptu Frank Sinatra requests were added throughout the event. The crowd of attendees increased because news about the event spread throughout the building.
Fun for the Family
A handful of residents also had family members visiting. Visitors expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the volunteers who prepared a fun afternoon at The Landing at Willow Grove. In particular, a resident’s daughter was visiting and said, “I’m really grateful that the WeLoveU Foundation is here singing because it makes my mom’s whole spirit change. Now I can leave here knowing I can leave her here happy.”
The WeLoveU volunteers concluded the event exclaiming their signature “We love you!” salutation to all the senior residents. With warm hugs and bright smiles, they said their goodbyes.
INTERNATIONAL WELOVEU FOUNDATION PARTNERS WITH JOSEPH M. SANZARI CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL AT HACKENSACK MERIDIAN HEALTH HACKENSACK UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER TO HOST A TOY DRIVE FOR THE CHILD LIFE PROGRAM
Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse Designates City Hall as Drop-off Location
Hackensack, NJ—The International WeLoveU Foundation (WeLoveU) partnered with Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center to host a toy drive for the Child Life Program in an effort to collect new toys for all children who visit the hospital. Recently, the hospital had to discard all of the toys reserved for children who not only visit the hospital on a daily basis, but those who are being treated long-term, including newborns in intensive care units. WeLoveU volunteers are working with local businesses and retail stores and Hackensack Mayor Labrosse also designated City Hall as a drop-off location for the Hackensack community to also join in the effort. This volunteer service is part of WeLoveU’s Social Welfare initiative, a collective effort to help our global neighbors by providing services for local communities, including children and youth in need.
“WeLoveU’s Chairwoman Zahng Gil-Jah has inspired people around the world to participate in selfless volunteerism through various social welfare projects that benefit the lives of people beyond nationality, race, religion and socioeconomic status in their own communities.” said Rebecca Parker, Spokeswoman of the International WeLoveU Foundation on the East Coast. “By educating and encouraging a community of volunteers, we believe the efforts put into our own community today will make a difference within the global village.”
The International WeLoveU Foundation has been actively collecting toys since September 21, 2017 and will deliver the toys to the Child Life Program on November 1st. The toy drive is receiving local support from neighborhoods and retail stores in Belleville, Bogota, Hackensack and Ridgewood to name a few. The City of Hackensack and the WeLoveU Foundation have history working together in past projects since 2009, including environmental community cleanups.
The International WeLoveU Foundation answered the call, as seasoned runners and adventurists alike came out this past Sunday, September 14th, for the 4th Annual Evan Lieberman Westchester Medical Center Trauma Mud Run. The 5K race, which was held at the medical center facility, was a fundraiser event for the Joel A. Halpern Regional Trauma and Burn Center.
WeLoveU volunteers and cheerers came ready for the occasion: A race that would be as challenging physically as it would be full of emotions for runners, many of which were running in support of loved ones who passed through the doors of the trauma center. Prior to the beginning of the race, volunteers helped in every way they could, including unloading trucks and joining hands with the event staff to set up food and water stations, as well as with pre-registration for runners before they hit the track.
The race kicked off with the singing of the national anthem, performed by a member of the WeLoveU Foundation. As runners lined up, the cheering squad met them at the starting line, with cheers that were as loud as they were uplifting, to the resounding chants of “WE LOVE U!”
But the cheering didn’t stop at the sound of the first whistle. It echoed many times from the starting line, as there were multiple heats of the race which started every thirty minutes. Both adults as well as children were able to participate in the race, excited for the opportunity to run for a cause they chose and the center, or simply for the challenge of completing the 5k course.
The race itself was filled with various challenges: from running through woods and climbing obstacles, to navigating fire towers and finally plunging through some mud. In the toughest turns of the obstacle course, WeLoveU volunteers were there, with a heart full of love, to deliver non-stop excitement and encouragement to all the runners that passed their way.
“I’m so happy I was able to participate in this event,” said one of the WeLoveU volunteers. “To see the faces of the athletes light up as the passed by, gave me as much inspiration to continue cheering as it gave them to keep on running.”
WeLoveU members were not only on the opposite side of the race, as cheerers or volunteers. Three of WeLoveU’s own volunteers also participated as athletes in the race, each running for a cause of their own. Through their participation, they were able to encourage unity among the other athletes, and helped push runners forward, understanding their struggles from start to end.
As the runners approached the finish line, covered in sweat, mud, and visible exhaustion, they were met without fail by the exciting chants of encouragement from the WeLoveU cheerers. Contestants finished in good spirits, as they were pushed to the end by the love delivered from the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers. Many stopped to take pictures with the cheering squad at the finish line, and also thanked them for their enthusiasm.
A foundation that shares a “mother’s love” with the community; As a Mother extends her arms and lifts up her child, celebrating even the smallest efforts, WeLoveU volunteers made it their goal to deliver love to all the participants and spectators at the trauma mud run from start to finish. Mission accomplished!
WeLoveU volunteers treat Bergen County homeless shelter guests to a special meal
On Wednesday July 23, 2014, 20 volunteers of the International WeLoveU Foundation gathered to take action for the homeless at the Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Center.
Following the example of Chairwoman Zhang Gil-Jah, volunteers wanted to share “a mother’s love” with the guests by preparing a warm, hand-made and delicious meal that had never been seen before at the Center.
Volunteers wanted to create an atmosphere just like home, a place where Mother prepares everything for her children with love and consideration. This is a mother’s touch – she goes above and beyond expectations to deliver gifts and foods to cherish, leaving us with a special sense of satisfaction and undeniable comfort. This is the same feeling that WeLoveU volunteers wanted to share with every guest at the Bergen Center.
With that mindset, they put their hands to work. The day before, volunteers purchased fresh ingredients themselves and brought them to the kitchen of a member’s local restaurant where the meal would be prepared. Starting from midnight the day of, volunteers began to season and cut fresh poultry for two special chicken dishes. Sides included pasta with bacon and basil, peas and fresh garlic, as well as salad with cilantro lime dressing. Dessert, french vanilla ice cream with peaches and raspberry glaze.
WeLoveU was featured in the July 23 Bergen Record.
Three WeLoveU musicians – one a Juilliard-trained pianist, one a professional trumpet player, and one a Broadway singer – performed an expressive musical ensemble to entertain the guests. The tunes created a lounge atmosphere that evoked joyful feelings and helped guests relieve angst about their current condition.
Shortly after the program began, Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse, Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino, and Councilman David Sims joined the volunteers to show their support for the cause and encourage the movement of sharing love with the homeless. Considering the critical state of homelessness in the Hackensack area, the Mayor was appreciative of WeLoveU volunteer efforts to inspire hope among residents and deliver an extra push to stand up and overcome.
As the hour to leave came near, guests shed tears of thanksgiving and hugged volunteers for their efforts.