Our hero: Nancy Lawlor, 40
Where she lives: New York, New York
How she helps: Wielding the power of flowers
Nancy Lawlor collects bouquets-flowers from hotels and weddings and corporate events, in cities like New York and Los Angeles. Then she gives them away to people in need, often breaking down larger bouquets so there’s more to go around.
Lawlor was inspired to start her nonprofit organization, FlowerPower, eight years ago. Sitting in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria, she was riveted by its towering floral displays. Where did they go at the end of the day? After getting her answer -a Dumpster- Lawlor volunteered to take them away instead. Once the hotel agreed, Lawlor delivered $2,000 worth of large pink bouquets to a New York City hospital. “It all started with one person saying yes,” she says.
To date, FlowerPower has distributed more than $2.5 million worth of flowers to hospitals, rape crisis centers, and rehabilitation clinics. The bouquets last several days, giving patients a healthy dose of good cheer. “I’ve seen thousands of people transformed,” she says, “all over a simple bouquet of flowers that originally would’ve been thrown away.” Now, that’s a beautiful arrangement.
The power of one
The power of one
One SONG can spark a moment,
One FLOWER can wake the dream,
One TREE can start a forest,
One BIRD can herald spring
One SMILE begins a friendship,
One HANDCLASP lifts a soul
One STAR can guide a ship at sea,
One WORD can frame the goal
One VOTE can change a nation,
One SUNBEAM lights a room
One CANDLE wipes out darkness,
One LAUGH will conquer gloom
One STEP must start each journey,
One WORD must start a prayer,
One HOPE will raise our spirits,
One TOUCH can show you care
One VOICE can speak with wisdom,
One HEART can know what is true
One LIFE can make a difference
Make a Difference
“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”
― Loren Eiseley
Each of us is but one person: limited, burdened with our own cares and responsibilities. We may feel there is so much to be done, and we have so little to give. We’re usually short of everything, especially time and money. When we leave this shore, there will still be millions of starfish stranded on the beach. Maybe we can’t change the whole world, but there isn’t one of us who can’t help change one person’s whole world. One at a time. We can make a difference.
“One does not meet oneself until one catches the reflection from an eye other than human.”-Loren Eiseley