The Boston Marathon bombing. The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The massacre in a theater in Aurora, Colorado. Shootings in the streets of Chicago. Even a recent bomb threat locally at Trabuco Hills High School. The list goes on and on. Read the headlines over the past few months, and you could be justified in thinking that the youth of today have no moral compass, that the souls of our youth are being controlled by demons—that our country’s future prospects are, in a word, dismal.
Years ago, I was playing first base in what I believed to be a friendly softball game, when the opposing batter hit a ground ball to shortstop. As I reached to catch the throw to first, the world turned upside down, the air left my lungs, and I found all 6’5″ of me sprawled on the dirt infield. It was only after I was helped to my shaky feet that I came to realize that the cause of my unexpected fall from grace and dignity was a young woman who, after hitting the ground ball to shortstop, decided to lower her shoulder and drive me to the ground, all in an effort to reach first base safely. This was how I met Kim Valentine, a product of the foster care system, formerly homeless, a former United States Marine, and one of finest lawyers I would ever come to know. Kim is as tough as nails, but ask her about her passion in life, and a tear will come to her eye. She will sit you down and tell you all aboutOperation Helping Hands—and the future of our youth.
We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another ~ Luciano De Crescenzo
Kim lives in Mission Viejo and founded Operation Helping Hands two years ago. The Facebook page will indicate that the mission of this non-profit organization is “dedicated to providing hygiene items and basic necessities to the homeless,” but this doesn’t tell even half of the story. You see, this organization is dedicated to empowering the community, particularly our young people, to not only provide necessities to the homeless, but to personally deliver backpacks full of such items to the homeless so that these young people can experience the selfless act of serving others in need.
Through Operation Helping Hands, Kim hopes to provide backpacks full of shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, body wash, deodorant, antibacterial gel, protein bars, blankets, underwear, socks and sweatshirts to at least 600 homeless people in Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego Counties. To help, we can donate funds to purchase the items, or we can gather these items ourselves. More importantly, on June 22, we can all help to assemble these items in the backpacks, and then to chaperone our kids as they personally provide these gifts on June 23 to those most in need. Operation Helping Hands provides a wonderful opportunity for our young people to become truly engaged in their community, and to learn the joys of serving others who are less fortunate.
At each city council meeting, we formally recognize some of our city’s exceptional students for their academic, athletic and community service achievements. These ceremonies are very moving, and represent one of my favorite aspects of being a city councilman in Rancho Santa Margarita. This summer, I look forward to seeing many of our young people here in RSM honored for their service to those in need by volunteering to join Operation Helping Hands. Indeed, it’s the least we can do for our own angels, for those who are the future of our country.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others ~ Mahatma Gandhi
If you would like to contribute to Operation Helping Hands, please send your check made payable to OHH, 101 Pacifica, Suite 270, Irvine CA 92618.
Also, please RSVP to Kvalentine@Valentinelawgroup.com if you and your age appropriate child would like to help assemble the backpacks on June 22 and participate by personally giving these items to those in need on June 23.
Learn more on the Operation Helping Hands Facebook page.