COME FROM AWAY & The Loukoumi Foundation Partner on Book of Inspiring Stories
The Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation and the award-winning musical COME FROM AWAY have partnered to share their joint message of kindness in the new book Inspiring Stories That Make A Difference (Hybrid Global Publishing). The book features the stories of over 75 children who are having fun paying it forward for causes that mean something to them.
Inspired by Nick Katsoris' children's book series about a fluffy little lamb named Loukoumi, The Loukoumi Foundation teaches children to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others, uniting over 100,000 children annually to do good deeds. COME FROM AWAY is the Tony and Olivier award-winning musical about how during the week of 9/11, 7,000 stranded airline passengers found a safe harbor in Newfoundland and were embraced by the people of the town of Gander and the surrounding towns, while the world around them was thrown into chaos.
Inspiring Stories includes heartwarming essays from children around the globe:
- When Lionel was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, he told the Make-A-Wish Foundation that he wanted to take a trip to Disneyland Paris, but after his cancer was in remission, he changed his wish to have a donation made to "Friends of Karen," the organization that helped him and his family survive his illness.
- The Reda brothers lost their father on 9/11. Thanks to the support of their mentor from the organization Tuesday's Children, they have learned the importance of paying it forward.
- Katia wanted to help the global water crisis, and so through her Thirst Project, she has raised over $30,000 to help build clean water wells in Africa-and in fact built one herself.
- When Adrianna was in foster care, she recalls how lonely it was waiting for your "Forever Family," and so she has now created and distributed over 300 rainbow-colored ponies to other kids in foster care to let them know that they are not alone.
- Darren will never forget the day when a homeless person came to his family's restaurant asking for food. Months later, when he saw the same homeless man on the streets of New York, he convinced his parents to offer this man a job, helping to rehabilitate his life.
- Lauren wants to be a chef when she grows up! During her Loukoumi Dream Day with celebrity chef Maria Loi she learned all sorts of culinary tips, but more importantly Maria showed her the importance of making a difference in the world. Lauren has embarked on many good deeds including donating her hair to make wigs for cancer patients.
- Cayleigh wants to be a dancer, yet others in her school tried to bully her into believing that she was too short to follow her dream. Through resilience and dedication, she proved them wrong.
The book also contains a collection of essays by over 20 students at Gander Elementary School-the town where COME FROM AWAY is set. Although they were not born on 9/11 when the small Newfoundland town rallied behind the 7,000 stranded airline passengers, the town's legacy of good deeds has left its mark on this new generation of do-gooders. In fact, the week prior to the release of Inspiring Stories, these students from Gander will embark on a very special Loukoumi Good Deed Bus visiting places featured in COME FROM AWAY, doing a good deed at each. The Loukoumi Good Deed buses, inspired by the book Loukoumi's Good Deeds (narrated by Jennifer Aniston), started in New York several years ago and have spread to other cities, including Chicago and Boston, uniting over 100,000 children.
Get ready to be inspired by these extraordinary kids who are changing the world one good deed at a time-and join us in making a difference!
The release of Inspiring Stories That Make a Difference is part of Make A Difference with Loukoumi Week with other events taking place as follows:
Saturday, October 19: Loukoumi Good Deed Bus will tour Gander, Newfoundland. Students from Gander Elementary School will follow in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents, visiting many of the local locations featured in COME FROM AWAY, doing good deeds at each.
Monday, October 21: The Loukoumi Foundation will launch the new Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation Treatment Room and Literacy Program at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. As part of the program, while patients are receiving their treatments in the room, reading instructors will come in and help the children with their studies since they often have to leave their schools for months at a time to receive care. The program is funded by the donations of children, who make a caring card for patients and also donate $1 to fund this project. One of the essays in Inspiring Stories discusses the Loukoumi St. Jude room and another is by Alivia, a patient who is now raising funds for St. Jude to help, as she says, "the people who saved my life."
Tuesday, October 22: The day of the release of Inspiring Stories That Make a Difference, all the young authors of the book and Loukoumi are invited to attend a performance of COME FROM AWAY on Broadway followed by a talkback with the cast.
Saturday, October 26: The Loukoumi Good Deed Bus will tour Manhattan. Stops will include celebrity chef Maria Loi cooking with children at a local school, and then together they will bring the food to a local homeless shelter. Another stop will be at the 9-11 Tribute Museum, where bus riders and COME FROM AWAY families will write "Never Forget" cards and letters to families who lost loved ones on 9-11.
Monday, October 28: Celebrity Chef Maria Loi will host a tasting event in New York City with several celebrity chefs to launch a new program, "Loukoumi Feeds the Hungry," where quarterly Maria will cook with a different school, and then together they will bring the food they cooked to a local homeless shelter. Maria is also featured in an essay by Lauren Berg, who was inspired to make a difference by the dream day Maria created for her at her restaurant Loi Estiatorio.
Photo by Jillian Nelson