We did it!

I woke up this morning so proud and honoured to be part of a fanbase as kindhearted and generous as Bethany Joy Lenz fans. I came up with the very simple idea of 'saying goodbye to Haley James Scott by giving back' and what started as a small $900 goal to represent 9 seasons/years somehow grew to $3,685 (4 times the goal). I was blown away not just by the end result, but also by all the people who took this as an opportunity to educate themselves on child sex trafficking and use their voice to bring light to this heartbreaking injustice.

I'd like to say a special thank you to Bethany Joy. I may have been the one to gather the troops with this campaign, but she was the one who inspired all of us to be a part of this fight. She generously donated a personalized note for each person who donated $100+, and if you go to the Crowdrise page (http://www.crowdrise.com/goodbyeHJS), you'll see that 99% of donations were of this amount or greater. I am in disbelief that she'd help a fan's little tribute campaign to this degree. I have never met her and she doesn't know who the bleep I am, but her support of Love146 and the respect she has for her fans truly amazes me. Before running this campaign, I simply admired her talent and loved reading her blog posts and now I have grown to respect her and even look up to her in a way I never expected to. Even though we've said goodbye to Haley, I know that Joy will continue to keep us engaged with all of her current and future projects. I am so happy I randomly watched One Tree Hill one lonely day in November a few years ago because it truly brought something so special to my life that I needed these past couple of years. Thank you Bethany Joy for being a great role model and talent in an industry where that doesn't seem matter anymore. You're a rare gem, and I'm pleased to call myself a fan.

I also want to thank all of you. Everyone who donated, tweeted, retweeted, and were supportive of #WeAreAllHuman. I never would have had the confidence to follow through with ANY of this if it hadn't been for the amazing people I have met over the past couple of years. To quote Haley, "you all made me brave".

Finally, I'd like to thank Love146 (and Rob Morris) for being so supportive of this little fan campaign. Their early support in November 2010 was the reason I knew that this would be special.

I'd also like to highlight the amazing work Love146 does to prevent child trafficking in high risk areas by empowering youth and advocates. Please read more about their prevention response efforts here: http://love146.org/prevention.

The work they do in aftercare - particularly with the Round Home - where they nurse and nurture girls who have survived the darkness of sexual slavery but have lost hope and faith in humanity amazes me. The stories of the girls who have healed in this home are so inspiring that it has truly taught me that even in the most difficult situations (perhaps seemingly impossible), we can always find hope and happiness. Read more about their aftercare programs: http://love146.org/aftercare

I'll never stop being part of their mission to end one of the world's greatest tragedies. I hope you'll all continue to fight with me.

I love all of you!



New internet sensation: #StopKony

I'm sure most of you have now seen the latest internet craze from Invisible Children to make Joseph Kony so infamous that the power of the global collective will bring justice to a warlord who has used children as the foundation of his rebel group  (Lord Resistance Army).

And I, like everyone else, was completely captivated by the movement and felt overly compelled to share this video with friends/family to get the word out.

And then I sat and thought about it a little more. I read some criticisms from those opinionated political enthusiasts who were making claims that awareness isn't a solution, Invisible Children spends too much money on advertising a cause rather than being part of every day solutions, and that making Kony famous actually gives him power (party poopers if you ask me).

I studied politics in university, and I took a keen interest in Uganda years ago when I learned of Joseph Kony and his despicable LRA. It's angering, heartbreaking, and gut-wrenching.

I don't see issues as stand-alone problems. I see the connections between multiple issues - the unequal distribution of wealth, the lack of resources, the conflicts that have arose due to Western imperialism, etc. I sometimes feel that massive awareness campaigns lose those connections and you see issues as "stand-alone" cases and miss the bigger picture.

Awareness is important. But don't just be aware of Kony. Don't see this as a stand alone case. Don't just share the video and think you've played your part. Use this as an opportunity to truly educate yourself on why our world is so imbalanced. Look at Kony as only a small part of a much larger movement to change the world.

Because the reality is that even though we may catch Kony within the year, there may be a Kony 2.0 being trained to take over. OR there will be more Kony's in other parts of the world... We need to stop the root of the issues that allow for such crimes against humanity.

Invisible Children did make this point in their video - that Kony is just the beginning - but I don't think that's the message viewers remembered most.

That all being said, I do love the tenacity of this campaign. I do support it, and I hope that all of you do too, but don't just be aware. Become educated and active. Be a part of long-term solutions. 


Small Campaign Idea for OTH Series Finale and BJG's Birthday

Sorry, only OTH related image on my work computer
Hi Everyone,

I've been thinking about blowing the dust off of this campaign to do something in honour of the final episode of a TV show that we've laughed with, cried with, and even threw a few temper tantrums with.

It'd also be in honour of a woman who we all have been inspired by in our own ways over the years.

The last episode of the show and BJG's birthday fall in the same week (assuming her bday is April 2nd? I know the Internet lies...).

I was thinking I would set up a new campaign on Crowdrise to raise money for Love 146. I was thinking with 9 years of OTH, we could set a goal to raise $900 during the week of April 2-6.

I'd also love to trend something like #BJGFansAgainstHumanTrafficking (feel free to suggest something catchier) on her birthday with a link to the fundraising page on Crowdrise, This wouldn't be donations driven; it'd just be all of us using our voices to do something special over Twitter again.

What do you all think? Will you help me reach this goal during the final week of a show that has touched all of our lives in a different way?

Let me know if you want to get involved and have more ideas on Twitter or in the comment box!

Much love,