Spiderman – Everyday Hero

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You don’t need Spidey sense to be a superhero.

In “Philips Everyday Hero,” part of an Australian campaign for Royal Philips by Ogilvy & Mather London, a disheveled guy leaps out of bed, consumes a hasty breakfast (in the shower!) and wrestles into a Spider-Man suit before struggling to get across town.

The action is set to an acoustic cover of Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s “Revolution.” It follows Spider-Man through sometimes thankless acts of everyday do-gooding, and concludes with “Make a Wish”-level warmth.

“Inspired by a true story, we tell the story of a window cleaner who dresses as Spider-Man to entertain ill children,” explains Eva Barrett, Philips’ global head of brand advertising. “He believes that cheering them up helps them recover faster: Sometimes laughter is the best medicine. It’s a wonderful example of how empathy and insight into people can make a difference. His ethos reflects ours; we wanted to celebrate it.”

The ad ends with the lines, “At Philips we see healthcare differently. There’s always a way to make life better.” As these words appear, a boy in a hospital gown approaches the window and presses his hand to Spider-Man’s. Other children join him.

Aimed at healthcare professionals, the spot hopes to change brand perception by illustrating how Philips puts people at the heart of its healthcare strategy. In spirit, the work echoes a recent ad by Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, which is recruiting elderly care volunteers by demonstrating that loneliness can’t be assuaged with robots. Like that piece, this ad emphasizes the importance of the human touch amid technological disruption.

“We start with people,” Barrett says. “We want to improve people’s lives through meaningful innovation.”

The campaign includes a 30-second TV spot, out-of-home, digital and social media. Editorial partnerships have been inked with the Australian Financial Review and the Guardian Australia. On “Innovation and You,” Philips’ own storytelling platform, the brand is sharing other true stories like this one (it notably leads with an enormous visual of a man dressed like Elvis).

“Many people have grown up with Philips,” Barrett goes on. “We’re over 120 years old, but most people aren’t aware of the groundbreaking work we’re undertaking in healthcare. We believe in delivering products and solutions that truly put people at the heart of healthcare, and improve patient outcomes. Our ‘Everyday Hero’ campaign shows how we find new ways to make healthcare better.”

Hundreds Take Action To Make A Difference For Thousands!

Lending a hand! Volunteers help sort thousands of donated school supplies.

Families picking out school supplies.

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Last week Just DO Something…Anything!, along with Century 21, helped sponsor it’s first Take Action! event at Barnett Park in Orlando, Florida. Nearly 400 residents showed up along with dozens of volunteers, who helped distribute over 3,000 back-to-school supplies: pens, backpacks, clothes, pencils, paper, and other items.

But the event wasn’t just about helping families get materials they need to start the school year. Take Action! was about doing just that … taking action against social injustice.

Local mom finds just the right size.

Finding just the right size.

JDSA, along with some of their Central Florida nonprofit partners: Harbor HouseA Gift For Teaching, and Florida Abolitionist, spent the day talking with residents about the importance of what they do and how they do it!

Also on hand was the Orlando Rowing Club, Orlando Dragon Boat Club, and Dueling Dragons boat team. Dragon’s “Cops and Kids” program is a unique partnership teaming Orlando police officers with at-risk teens, who compete in boat races across the country.  Their story was recently featured on The Today Show.

Orlando Rowing Club President, Johnny Hood and Chairperson, Chris Luciano brought a “skull boat” and an “Erg,” or indoor rowing machine for residents to try out.

Making a difference with hand prints & finger paint.

Making a difference with hand prints & finger paint.

Before the kids picked up their items they were asked to “make their mark” with paint!  “Taking Action!” by writing out – next to their imprint – exactly, what they’re going to do to help make the world a better place.

Clean the World, an Orlando nonprofit, cleaned off the paint with donated soap.  Clean the World and the Global Soap project have distributed over 25 million bars of soap to 99 countries!

We gave away about 75% of all the donated items.  What’s left is going to Haiti for those in need … thanks to Divine Way Ministries.” says Take Action! event coordinator, Anastacha Constant.  Not only did Divine Way help with donated items, they also took care of all the food and drinks.

Affordable Document Service lent their support to those in need.  LA Fitness talked with residents about the importance of exercise and nutrition.  And Orange County Fire/Rescue brought a firetruck.  Where kids (and a few adults) climbed inside and learned about fire safety and injury prevention.

Ideas for next year’s Take Action! Event are already underway…

Orange County Firefighters showing students the inside of a fire truck.

Kids get an inside look!

Orlando Fire Department show off their truck.

Fire truck on display.

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Taking action! with pens, markers, and paint!

Taking Action! with pens, markers, and paint!

Feeding The Body, Mind and Spirit To Central Florida Homeless

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Every Sunday, sandwiched between a cluster of churches and office buildings in downtown Orlando – in the stillness of the predawn hours, a volunteer mecca is buzzing with activity.  

Inside the kitchen of First Presbyterian of Orlando, the small army of bees are busy.  Half a dozen cooks are flipping pancakes, slicing potatoes and mixing oatmeal.  In the back, pots and pans are being scrubbed, while buckets of coffee are being brewed at breakneck speed.  Just outside the kitchen, in the Gathering Hall, tables are rolling towards their spot.  When they hit their mark, legs are popped into position and blue folded chairs are flipped open and shoved into place.  In rapid fire succession, the process is repeated.  “Pop! Pop! Pop!”  The banging and clanging of the choreography fills the room.  The clock is running.  

Behind them, amidst a mountain of cables and audio boards, three people organize songs and videos, prepping a program for an audience about to arrive.    

Time check:  5:43am.     

Outside the building the audience is gathering.  The crowd now forms a line, twisting its way underneath a wooden canopy and stretching over a hundred feet.  In the darkness it could be a queue for any concert, sporting event, or night club.  But this group isn’t here for a show.  And there’s no admission price.  Their tired eyes glance at me and I look at back at their weary faces. It’s my introduction to this group – nearly 300 of Central Florida’s homeless.  They’re here for a meal served with hope.   

Just behind the doors of the Gathering Hall, Michael Starnes, a long time volunteer organizes a prayer circle.  “This is a ‘high dignity’ environment,” he says.  It’s no accident the breakfast they’re preparing this morning isn’t being distributed at them.  Instead, it’s being served to them.  Served at tables intentionally set for eight, with styrofoam cups and utensils carefully wrapped in paper napkins.  Dignity, indeed!  

“Last night we all slept in a bed,” Michael continued.  “And today, we’ll go back to a home with a roof over our heads.  But those we serve today have none of that.”  It is a stark reminder of what I take for granted each day.  And a ‘call to notice’ what I’d be witnessing when the doors open. 

“Ok.  Everyone ready?” Michael asks those behind him.  “Yes!”, they reply in unison.  “Let’s go!”   

It’s now 6:30am.

As the doors swing open, people ranging from two to eighty-two are quickly seated.  But the rush and energy is focused.  Those who’ve been here before know the routine: some empty cups are already raised in the air, signaling the desire for hot coffee.  Volunteers enter the room with full pitchers, while a Chris Tomlin music video blasts, How Great is Our God on the big screen.  Everything is orderly and respectful.

Behind me is a growing sea of backpacks, bags, and personal belongings all neatly stacked in a straight line against the back wall.  I watch each homeless person come in, drop off their bundle, and find a place to sit.  Everything they own in life is in those bags.  And I find it surprising they’re willing to leave it unattended.  But that’s the kind of place this seems to be.      

The people I’m looking at are tired.  Not just tired of being homeless, but tired of being treated as if they’re invisible and don’t matter.  But here they’re valued.  They’re recognized for their worth.  They’re treated as guests.  

But it’s not just those who live on the streets who have stories to tell.  All the volunteers I’ve met have stories of their own.  There’s Ernie, a tall, slim man who once played football for the Philadelphia Eagles, now volunteering his time as a driver.  He helped dozens of people get here this morning.  And Allen from Kenya, who once was homeless himself, is also here to work.  His neatly pressed blue buttoned-down shirt, black slacks and polished shoes with tassels, are symbolic of how far he’s come since he was on the other side of the receiving line.  And a youth group from Johnson City, Tennessee, decided to spend the week in Orlando to help out wherever they saw a need.  This morning they were needed here to help with the capacity crowd.  

Despite the number of volunteers, the homeless still outnumber them almost 10 to 1.  

7:15am.

Joe Mills, this morning’s keynote speaker, takes the stage with a message.  “Trust…step forward,” he says.  “Step forward and just DO something!  Every little bit counts…”  While the room may have been listening, I heard his message directly.  Use what I have for the benefit of others, whether big or small.  Instead of talking about doing things – go do it!  We’re all called to serve no matter where we find ourselves in life.  Each of us has the ability to respond.  “Just DO Something,” he kept saying.  The irony not lost on me.  

8:02am.  

Breakfast is over and the homeless are heading back onto the streets.  Inside, the volunteers are clearing tables, realigning chairs, and setting the room up for the Sunday services to come.    

For those homeless I met, this breakfast may be the only meal they’ll have today.  This is especially heartbreaking for those too young to understand why.   

Driving away I saw a man with a rolled up mat.  Finding a patch of tall grass beneath the shade of an adjacent building, he unfurled his mat and stretched out.  Using his backpack for a pillow, he was in a spot he’d, most likely, been in before.  While this group of volunteers couldn’t solve all their problems or alleviate all their suffering, they chose to step forward. They chose to DO something…anything!  And that was surely something!  

 

 

 

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