We have always integrated community service into our programs here at O.P.T. from small events such as organizing groups to work at soup kitchens, packing meals for people in need and clothes drives, we were able to provide a job for a homeless man for about a year and put him into one of our marketing videos.
We have also organized some really powerful events and movements over the years; such as “Help-A-Human” which we created and ran for 2 years in Phoenix where we would provide food, clothes, supplies for the homeless population here in AZ and was made up of all OPT family members. We raised 13,000 dollars in one night for a wife of one of the firefighters wives who lost her husband in the Yarnell fires, we raised 10,000 dollars in one night to support “invisible children” at the height of their success, we started a community garden, back pack drives that brought in more than 200 backpacks for an elementary school here in phoenix, twice we have gone to Peru with a group of OPT family members that raised close to 50,000 where we helped build a school and worked side by side with the people in Chirapa, Peru. Community service, giving back to others, is a fundamental pillar for everyone that is a part of the OPT family, it gives us all a chance to practice kindness, patience, love, understanding, compassion and gratitude for all things this life has to offer.
Help A Human
Noticing the increased need of many who are suffering because of the downturn in the economy, a Gilbert businessman has launched an effort to reach out to others and share, not just donate. Joey Bellus, the owner of Optimal Performance Training, calls the effort “HELP A HUMAN,” and hopes to open peoples’ eyes by demonstrating the difference between sharing and not just donating to help folks who are homeless.
“We really do need to recognize that there is a human element to all this,” Bellus says. “We don’t just lump people into a category of “homeless,” send a few bucks to a shelter and pat ourselves on the back. I hope that our effort with “HELP A HUMAN” gives us more of a sense of actually helping a person, not just a condition.” Bellus is hoping to expose “how we as humans have become so disconnected from one another”
Bellus explains that the effort includes filling pillowcases or backpacks with items people living on the street need and can actually use. The suggested list includes:
- First-aid kits/medical supplies (bandaids, gauze, Neosporin, etc.)
- Sewing kits
- Bug spray
- Hygiene products
- Reading glasses
- Playing cards
- Crossword puzzles
- Writing paper
- Bottled water
- Zig Zag paper/tobacco
- Food items (home cooked meals)
- A letter of inspiration
“The last item AND A MUST!!!—the letter of inspiration—Gives us as Humans to realize how much alike we all are. We all have stumbled we all have F&%*ed up at some point in our lives and some of us got lucky and our path didnt take a turn for the worst. Some of us did take a turn for the worst…but when you open up and SHARE you will realize how much alike we all are. The letter can be about ANYTHING!! make it authentic…authenticity is very powerful.
Some things NOT TO include in the backpack or pillowcase: money, candy, and gift certificates.
Bellus’ goal is to hand these items out once a month on a Saturday. August 27th will be the fourth time Bellus and his friend, Shaun Rico and Danielle Scozzaro, will be going to Margaret Hance Park in Phoenix to deliver the filled backpacks and pillowcases.
“The first time we did this in May we handed out about 40 packs. In June we delivered 60. Last month (July) we were able to deliver 97 packs,” Scozarro said. “The more people know about ‘HELP A HUMAN,’ the more they get involved; and they tell their friends and they share. It’s a great thing.”
The next scheduled dates are August 27th, September 25th, October 21st, November 19th and December 17th. People can drop off the items at Optimal Performance Training, 725 W. commerce Ave, in Gilbert, on the Friday before each Saturday delivery.