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Model Charity

Petra Nemcova is following in the footsteps of Eunice Shriver, founder of Special Olympics; former first lady Betty Ford, founder of the Betty Ford Center; and Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She, like so many before her, has turned adversity in her life into a way to help others dealing with similar problems. She may be a super model, but Nemcova is the model of charity as she works to rebuild the lives of children in disaster areas with her Happy Hearts Fund.

Everyone heard the story, but let’s recap. Almost exactly five years ago, on December 26, 2004, the world saw its worst natural disaster as a tsunami grew from an undersea earthquake in the Indian Ocean. Nearly 300,000 people died in the tragedy from 11 countries. And while the love of her life was swept away in the waves, Nemcova clung to a tree in Thailand for nearly eight hours awaiting rescue. She suffered numerous injuries, and endured painful physical rehabilitation and grief over the loss of her boyfriend.

But she was thankful to be alive. Nemcova turned that gratitude into the Happy Hearts Fund, which aims to help rebuild children’s lives after natural disasters. “I was blessed with a second chance at life, and the experience I lived gave me opportunities and the strength to embark upon a journey to create conduits to making a positive impact in these communities,” says Nemcova on her Happy Hearts Fund website.

Nemcova created Happy Hearts in 2006 and has been busy raising millions of dollars and using those funds to rebuild schools destroyed by floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, and other natural disasters all over the world. Happy Hearts rebuilds schools with materials meant to withstand future disasters, and also stocks the schools with computers and resources it needs to deliver a modern education. The fund also provides college scholarships to children in disaster areas so they can have hope and promise for the future.

This year, Nemcova is busy promoting the Happy Hearts Fund’s new PSA campaign, “Bring Happiness Back.” Through mobile giving and a social networking push, the campaign is encouraging donors to make $5 donations to support the Fund. You can text the word, “heart” to number 85944 to make a $5 donation, or you can visit the organization’s pages on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and more.

Take a look at the PSA here:
Happy Hearts Fund “Bring Happiness Back” PSA

I’ve always believed that the charities that have a victim behind them have the passion to be successful. Eunice Shriver created the hugely popular Special Olympics because her sister was mentally retarded. Betty Ford created the Betty Ford Center due to her own struggles with alcohol abuse. And Nancy Brinker founded the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in memory of her sister, who lost her life to the disease.

Nemcova has done the same. She has turned her unfortunate circumstance into her life’s mission. Not a bad one, after all, helping rebuild children’s lives. I sure think that’s “model charity,” don’t you?

Happy Hearts Fund
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