Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Guerilla Philanthropy

Random1My friend Anne told me about a great new show that's on A&E called Random 1.

I watched a rerun last Saturday, and it was excellent. It's a Wabi-Sabi version of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" or Amy Grant's "Three Wishes".

The show features the adventures of two friends, John and Andre, who have embarked on a journey in an old rusted pick-up. Their mission is meeting strangers at random and try to make a difference in their lives.

They have taken the concept of random acts of kindness to a whole new level. What started as two guys helping people, has blossomed into a full-fledged organization.

As their website says...
"Breathing real life into the Good Samaritan, RANDOM 1 features a feisty, passionate crew who scout the streets of America looking for people who need help solving everyday problems. On each one-hour show, the team finds a way to give two strangers a special "nudge," a helpful push in a life-changing direction. Sometimes it works. Sometimes, everyone is surprised."
Andre and John are supported by a team who follow them across the country in an RV helping them fulfill each mission. They don't provide money, but they help each person with one thing they need. Helping a street musician from Charleston get a new keyboard, another person getting a job, an ex- stripper become a model, an alcoholic get treatment, etc.

I love their motto of Guerilla Philanthropy, which embodies their belief in the power of grassroots philanthropy, defined as people helping people one at a time. Random 1 advocates for individuals who are ready to better themselves. Asking the question, “What can we do to help you help yourself?”

Through their experience over the past 10 years, most of what they did for people worked. Though sometimes, things would go horribly wrong. Regardless, the experiences brought forth in the friends a strong sense of purpose, not to mention the addictive thrill of encountering the unknown.

More information about the show and the Random 1 organization is available on their very cool website at Random1.org, and also on the A&E site for the show, http://www.aetv.com/random1/.

The adventures are airing as a documentary series on Tuesdays at 10:00 pm. (According to the website, episodes will also air at 11:00 am and 5:00 pm, Tuesday, Dec. 20.)

Check it out and let me know what you think.

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