A Simple Yes

A Simple Yes!

Pentecost 37


Alan Feinstein is an American success story that almost did not happen.  Born and raised in Massachusetts he graduated Boston University with degrees in economics and journalism.  He wrote advertising copy for a show company but felt incomplete so he went back to school and earned a teaching degree which he used to teach high school.  His journalistic roots never left him, though, and he began a weekly column in a small paper.


A visiting personage read the column and contacted Feinstein, asking for permission to publish his column in newspapers in countries he visited.  This Indian businessman felt others would be interested in the American’s economic viewpoints.  Feinstein never met the businessman nor knew where he traveled but agreed.  Soon his column appeared in papers worldwide and he had gained international attention and recognition as an international syndicated columnist.  Having recently withdrawn from teaching to begin a financial newsletter, Feinstein found success – all because of a good deed from a total stranger.


Soon after the Indian businessman unknowingly helped his newsletter become successful, Feinstein’s wife, a native of Thailand, decided to accept a residency in the United States.  Feinstein began offering a guarantee on the advice he wrote and his side business of selling collectibles became a success.  In fact, he was so successful that he began a scholarship program in 1999 for students who were doing good deeds.  This was three years after his annual one million dollar giveaway to agencies combatting hunger.  A public television program followed and school programs were begun to encourage people to do good deeds.


Today the one million dollar giveaway has been suspended but over one hundred and fifty thousand Feinstein scholars are still supported through the Feinstein Foundation in their academic and good citizenship efforts.  This is all possible because Alan Feinstein once said “YES!” to a stranger who wanted to share his newspaper column.


In the United States alone it is estimated that there are fourteen million people who do not know from where their next meal is going to come.  Over half of those once had a home and guaranteed meal but life happened and their situations changed.  Doing something good for them can be as simple as serving a meal at a local soup kitchen, donating food to a local food pantry, or hosting a dinner with some friends and then collecting donations which are then given to a local charity that feeds the hungry.


Maybe academics are your forte.  Offer to tutor a child.  Local Salvation Army organizations and Big Brother, Big Sister groups are always happy to have tutors and mentors work with their participants.  Other groups like the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts are always in need of volunteers.  Some libraries have reading programs like Reading Is Fundamental.  Thirty-four percent of all children starting school lack the language and reading skills necessary to thrive in an academic setting.  You could be the key to a child’s success.


Alan Feinstein believes “Helping to better the lives of others is the greatest of all achievements.”  We all lead busy lives but I promise you any time donated to help others will pay you back tenfold in good will, good feelings, good health, and success.  It is as simple as saying “Yes” when the opportunity arises.

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