First off, let me start by mentioning I am not a writer, nor a storyteller. I am an empathizer though, so I thought I’d share a little bit about my journey with iEmpathize. I am just a regular guy with no super powers, stellar moves, or even a lot of money, but even without all of that iEmpathize has allowed me to shine like a rock star.
I first heard about child trafficking back in 2009 when I was hanging with my best friend. He shared a strange story about some girls being trafficked, and I didn’t quite believe it was real so we started to dig in. That’s what we do. You have to remember that child trafficking was not on the radar back in ’09, so this just goes to show how successful this movement has been. In any case, after digging deeper than I wanted to, I was no longer able to sleep in my cozy bed without thinking of these vulnerable and victimized kids. I was too comfortable, and I realize when I am comfortable there is someone else that isn’t. My buddy and I reached out to Brad Riley, a guy we were recommended to contact to learn more about the subject. He was just starting a new organization called iEmpathize, and after some deliberation he said, “Well if you really want to know about trafficking go to Amsterdam”. About a month later we packed our bags and headed east! Granted, not everyone has the luxury of doing this, but I couldn’t miss the opportunity. Everything changed after that trip – everything. My job, my friends, my faith… they were all just rattled in my mind, and my perspective on life took a new route. I could no longer live the way that I was living up to that point. I could no longer be ignorant to reality.
Five years later, I have dedicated a huge portion of my life to serving iEmpathize. Maybe it is traveling to Cambodia to check out a new safe home, maybe it is hosting a home event to raise awareness locally, or maybe it could even be running a poker tournament with hundreds of attendees to raise much needed funds for the cause. What I’ve learned over these years is that no matter what it is, you can make a difference. Just you! That blows my mind when I think that the world normally tells people they cant do anything to change social injustice. The problem isn’t “if” you can make a difference, the problem is “why aren’t you”. iEmpathize is a portal for you to make that difference! As Brad Riley says, “anyone can “sympathize, but not everyone “EMPATHIZES”. Now that takes stepping out of your comfort zone and stepping into the suffering of others. It is not easy, but it has been the best thing I have ever been a part of, and it continues to humble me to this day.