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BY Bassie

Make A Difference? What a Cliché!

You have all heard it before. “Make a Difference” “The Ripple Effect” “You have the power to change the world” – but here is my question, do you really believe it?

Our ears are bombarded with these clichés every day – infomercials, radio ads and newsletters from our favorite organizations. We have almost built up a tolerance to these words and ignore them just as easily as those annoying online ads.

Clichés are an easy way to express an experience. Our experience was “amazing,” “exciting,” “thrilling,” “life-changing.” But the only way to genuinely process this information is to experience it yourself and allow those emotions to emulate from your actions rather than your words. Mom always said, “Actions speak louder than words” and boy was she right.

Case in point: Cammy Schwartz, age 12, looking to make a difference.

Cammy was planning her upcoming Bat Mitzvah. She purchased Friendship Circle t-shirts and gave them out as favors at her party. In purchasing these t-shirts, she made a contribution to The Friendship Circle. Great mitzvah project idea, right? Well little did Cammy know that in just three years time her decision to contribute to us would set the wheel a-spin for some life-changing events at The Friendship Circle.

Cammy’s brother, Justin Jacobs, attended his little sister’s Bat Mitzvah. In addition to being Cammy’s older brother, Justin is also the founder and organizer of a group called, Come Play Detroit. His group invites young adults from around Metro Detroit to play in a competitive sports league. Justin was looking for a charity to donate the “league” fees to. He chose The Friendship Circle after seeing his little sister Cammy complete her mitzvah project.

Because of Justin’s generous donation to The Friendship Circle, he was invited to attend a Corporate Luncheon on May 5th. By chance his cousin, Jordan Wolfe, had just moved into town. As a business consultant, Jordan was looking to meet some local business people and community organizations. Justin brought Jordan to The Friendship Circle as his guest on May 5th.

Jordan was “blown away” by The Friendship Circle and became inspired to provide pro-bono services to create a strategic plan for The Friendship Circle’s future.

Part of his plan was to help us reach out to local media personnel. He emailed some of his media contacts and introduced them to me. One of which was Nikki Stephan, Taylor Hulyk and Brandon Chesnutt of Identity PR – a local marketing and public relations company.

The team at Identity attended a June 6th disability awareness lesson at The Friendship Circle as Jordan Wolfe’s guests.

Taylor, Nikki and Brandon were “blown away” and became inspired to provide 3 months of pro-bono services in the field of media relations for our upcoming Walk4Friendship.
Over the past three months, Nikki, Brandon and Taylor have helped us develop critical media relationships. One month ago, I spoke about our Chase Community Giving Challenge at a Social Media Club Detroit event. The next month, they decided to host the SMCD meeting at The Friendship Circle. Just 24 hours ago, I was published on – the world’s largest Social Media news blog. And in one month, I will be speaking about The Friendship Circle at Jeff Pulver’s 140 Conference in Detroit.

Our media relationships, our publicity, our social media ventures have all served as carriers of The Friendship Circle message of advocacy, non-judgment and inclusion. But if you press the rewind button and roll the tape back to frame one, you will see a shot of one person. Cammy Schwartz. Age 12. Looking to make a difference. Her action truly made a difference. It perfectly showcased the ripple effect. And her simple action was so powerful, it ended up changing our world.

Click on this link to view the article.

Oh, by the way- It’s Cammy’s birthday today. And we didn’t even plan that!


Written on September 21, 2010 by:

Bassie Shemtov founded Friendship Circle together with her husband Levi. Bassie is always looking for ways to enhance the lives of children with special needs while providing relief to their families and empowering teen volunteers.

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