Sep 21, 2010

the power of half

The next book on my pleasure read list is "The Power of Half". This is a book about the Salwen family, who were living the American dream.  Residing in a 6,000-square-foot historic mansion in Atlanta a with three Viking stoves in the kitchen, and a working elevator. To balance this deluxe lifestyle, the Salwen family emphasized service and charity. Kevin Salwen swung hammers for Habitat for Humanity. His wife, Joan, delivered meals to the elderly and worked with United Way. Their children, Hannah and Joseph, volunteered at a food bank and were required to give a portion of their allowance to charity.
But the Salwens’ lives were forever changed one day as 14-year-old Hannah sat in the passenger seat of her family’s silver Scion, waiting at a red light with her father. On one side of her was a sleek, black Mercedes. And on the other side perched in front of a rusting chainlink fence, was a homeless man. In the book they write "We would never learn his name, and he would never know the enormous impact he would have on our family – or on the lives of thousands of others.”
Hannah turned to her father and said, “If that man” – she pointed to the Mercedes – “had a less nice car, that man there” – she pointed to the homeless man – “could have a meal.”
With that sentence, Hannah set the course for a major sea change in the Salwen family. Three days later, her mom, Joan, asked, “What do you want to do – sell our house? Move into a smaller one and give what’s left over to charity?” Right there, over Chinese takeout, the Salwen family decided to do something radical. 
And so they came up with their plan: Sell their lavish home and downsize to a home worth half the value. Then donate half the proceeds and, hopefully, make a huge difference in many people’s lives

They committed to donating more than $800,000 for work in two dozen villages in Ghana — a place they not only hadn't visited, but one so foreign to them that they had to look it up on the map.
NOW that is an amazing story!! I want to know more about these people and more about what motivated them deep in their hearts to do such an a beautiful thing. 

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