The community operates best when individuals choose to give back in their own ways. This is going to look different for different people, says Andrea Jaeger. As a young tennis pro, Andrea Jaeger became the #2 player in the world at age 16 all while helping children in hospitals and street corners.
Her promising career was cut short when she injured her rotator cuff in 1981 and then suffered a significant shoulder injury in 1985. She immediately turned her focus to full-time philanthropy opening her own foundation programs shortly after.
She says that anyone can find a way to give back within their own means. “I have been incredibly blessed to see some big winnings within my short career,” she notes. “I wanted to do a lot with that money. What could be more important than helping out people in my community? I was specifically drawn to the children who are suffering from cancer.”
Andrea Jaeger used her money from tennis wins to start a children’s cancer foundation. She is grateful donations come in ranging from $10.00 on up as every dollar makes an important difference improving the children’s lives. Several high-profile celebrities have also supported her nonprofit organization, including Kevin Costner, Cindy Crawford, Andre Agassi, and John McEnroe.
Andrea Jaeger won the Samuel S. Beard Award in 1996 for the Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Under. She was also the first female recipient of the Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award. Andrea Jaeger and her Little Star Foundation help children in 38 states and worldwide.
Why Everyone Should Give Back
Everyone can make a difference in their community in some way, points out Andrea Jaeger. What might seem like a small contribution can add up to making a major difference in someone’s life.
Recently, Kevin Costner participated in an event for Little Star Foundation. He has been a big supporter of the mission to help children and their families with financial assistance, educational programs, therapeutic play, medical support and outreach services. While at the event, Kevin Costner pointed out, “You have an amazing story,” he said. “It’s not easy to be that person when all the chips are falling against you to be brave, to stand for your ideas.”
Making a Difference Forms a Community
Communities are formed by people gathering together and supporting one another in some way. Seemingly tiny actions can build into something bigger that keeps the community together and operating smoothly. Andrea Jaeger says her work has snowballed into something much bigger than herself, and she’s very proud of it.
“I am grateful tennis gave me the opportunity to see the world so I could use my abilities to help others, and that God gave me the lifelong calling to make a difference in children’s lives,” she remarks. “Doing everything I can to make a difference isn’t easy, but it matters.
Every dollar can improve a child and family’s life. With friends and the kindness of strangers in the world, it is amazing what can be accomplished together. We become a big caring family doing our part to brighten the world.”
She suggests a few powerful ways to give back and support your community.
Find the Right Charity and Donate
Charities, like Little Star Foundation, operate with the donations of generous people like you. While $20, $50 or $100 might not seem like much, it all adds up. Andrea Jaeger says if everyone with the means to give just a little to the charities they believe in, the world would be brighter and better.
Spread the Word
Let people know about important charities, says Jaeger. Re-post their content and tell your friends and everyone you know to check them out. It’s difficult for nonprofits to get attention, and word-of-mouth is a powerful (and free!) way to help them find more support.
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