I’m Not Small

Catherine Commale

A Little Goes A Long Way

When Katherine Commale was just 5 years old, she saw a program on TV about how malaria was taking the lives of Africans every 30 seconds. She didn’t understand why people in Africa had to suffer when all they needed were bed nets – her child-like logic brought her to a simple solution: send bed nets to Africa..NOW! To her, the solution seemed so easy but it greatly affected her to know that something costing as little as $10 was not accessible by the poverty-stricken people in Africa. Instead of settling for the age-old “it is only happening to other people, not me” attitude, Katherine felt compelled to help them and did whatever she could to spread the message even if the task was too big for a five year old.

While most kids could not yet fully understand what suffering meant, Katherine Commale did and saw the importance in reaching out to the children in Africa. Her pure and giving heart drove her to help these strangers miles away, hoping to give them a chance to live better lives without the fear of malaria. With the help of her mother, Lynda, Katherine began giving talks at her local church and community about the disease; she wanted everyone to know the deadliness of the disease but most of all, she wanted people to know that the solution was only one bed net away. She even went the extra mile to create a diorama with her three year old brother to illustrate her message so everyone – without exception – will be inspired to help. For most of us, it may never occur to us that our bed nets were precious assets but Katherine stood up and made us realize that it could save someone’s life.

Rather than spending her holidays having fun like other kids her age, Kathrine chose to use the holiday season to show everyone what the spirit of giving really means. Gathering her neighbours and friends together, they made hand-decorated bed net gift certificates to be sold and then gifted to someone in Africa. This small yet powerful gesture allowed her to send over 750 bed nets every holiday – a remarkable number that sparked the beginning of even bigger things. Before she was even 6 years old, Katherine’s passion has lead her to become the spokeskid for UN’s Nothing But Nets campaign and was invited to speak for both President Bush and President Clinton respectively among many other commercials and newspaper appearances – a role model not just for young children to aspire for greater things but for adults to never stop dreaming.

Katherine’s selfless deed in championing against malaria showed us that a little goes a long way and that age is really only a number. It also showed us that you don’t always need a reason to be kind and generous to someone but instead it should come as second nature to share our joys with everyone around us. The joy of giving may not strike a chord with many at first but it is time we thought about what we can do to make the world a better place rather than waiting for someone to do it for you. Here are some small ways you can give to start making a difference:

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Give the gift of compassion

Everyone you meet everyday has a story of their own. How they react and how they present themselves is a reflection of their inner self. Often times, we are creatures quick to judge and we start making our own conclusions about them; but instead, remember that these people have their struggles too and show some kindness because you don’t know who might need it. Like the quote says “Don’t judge people, you never know what kind of battles they are fighting”.

Duplicate your love

We all have a little love to give someone and showing a little TLC can never hurt anybody. Instead of keeping all the love to yourself, share it! Share it with everyone around you and it doesn’t even have to be physical gifts. You can give a sincere smile or help a lady cross the street – anything. So long as you are extending your hand to someone, a little will always go a long way. Just like Katherine has duplicated her love to the people in Africa, you can do it too.

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Show gratitude to everyone

f you have ever worked retail, you will know that a kind and polite customer is always the highlight of your day even if it was something as simple as a warm “Thank you”. Showing your gratitude and gratefulness doesn’t take anything from you but instead, it adds a new shared connection between two people – even if just for a moment. People will never turn away an opportunity to feel noticed and appreciated, so make someone’s day and let them know their efforts are seen.

Share your fortunes

If you are broke, don’t worry; fortunes, like giving, can come in all forms. You can share your fortunate talent in baking by blessing your friends with quality cookies or if you are fortunate enough to have a car, pick up a colleague and carpool together! It’s these details that we often overlook – but it’s these small things that matter. Never think that you have nothing to offer because hey, you are fortunate to have a beautiful smile, so you can do that, can’t you?

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