What about Richard Paul Evans is not special? He has multiple number one books on the market throughout the world, he is a world renowned motivational speaker, and he is a generous philanthropist to boot!
When Evans first wrote and self-published The Christmas Box for his daughters, Jenna and Allyson, back in 1993, it is certain that he never would have suspected such results. But he did not stop there.
Right away, after his initial success, this small-town author decided it was already time to give back to his surrounding community, thus he created The Christmas Box International. Originally developed to build emergency children’s shelters and provide services to the children housed in the shelters, this charitable organization just finished its 16th season of providing assistance in order to prevent child abuse. They provide the abused or neglected children services to improve their quality of life.
After this initial initiative, Richard went on to develop Operation Kids. He formulated this in 2009 after his book Grace hit the shelves. The money collected that year also went directly to The Christmas Box International as well! He is always trying new initiatives to keep the charity fresh, alive and active!
The House was able to provide toy and clothing to more than 1,000 children this year in Utah through their Project Elf. People really stepped up to help during the holiday seasons.
Many of the children entering the shelters are quite young, but sometimes long-time foster care kids end up there. This disturbs Evans greatly because over time he has realized just how bleak their lives actually are. If they age out of foster care, they are immediately released; many times without proper education about how to care for themselves! Because they age out, they face lives of crime, drug addiction, teen pregnancy, poverty and suicide. Many of them also continue the cycles of abuse that they grew up in.
Evans and the crew at The Christmas Box House developed a four-phase plan to help make a difference in the lives of aging out teens. This includes:
1. Working with local child protective services.
2. Assisting communities in helping their own youth by creating “Christmas Box Rooms.”
3. Assist in finding a mentor for each of the youths aging out.
4. Providing and information hotline and internet site to help the youth not only in crisis situation, but also in finding the many resources available to them, including housing and education.
One man has done all of this. It started with a little book of Christmas for his kids and has ended up helping thousands of kids of all ages since then. If only we would all dedicate ourselves to a live of charitable living, look what we could accomplish, too!