Dear family, friends, neighbors and kind citizens of the world:
Please join me in a social media campaign to honor our daughter, Molly Olivia Steinsapir, who lived on Earth for 12 years but will never stop #MakingADifferenceEveryDay. These words became a hashtag because Molly lived them. Since she passed away six months ago, Molly has inspired hundreds of thousands around the world to unite in kindness; to care for each other, animals and the planet.
Our campaign, the #GiveUpGiveBack Challenge, will launch Monday, August 16. It’s an opportunity to use social media for GOOD and highlight a charity of your choice. Our suggestion is a small donation and a large shoutout by tagging the charity on social media.
This Challenge was inspired by a random act of kindness.
We have a family tradition. Mom takes each child on a trip for their tenth birthday. Molly and I visited Chicago, where we spent four of the happiest days of our lives, seeing Hamilton and exploring the city. Nate’s trip was postponed for over a year due to the pandemic. While waiting for school to reopen and life to return to some semblance of normalcy, Nate lost his sister. I didn’t think anything could hurt as much as saying goodbye to Molly. Telling Nate that his sister died and witnessing his reaction, a primal scream from the depths of his soul, nearly killed me.
Amidst our grief, we are taking Nate’s special trip. Staying open to life, finding and spreading joy, is the best way to heal and honor Molly.
I shared on social media that we are traveling to New York City over Labor Day weekend (Molly and Nate share a passion for musical theatre, which is reflected in the places they each chose for their trips). Mary Athridge lives there. She started following me on social media when Molly first suffered a traumatic brain injury and I cried out to the Universe. When Mary saw that we were planning to visit her city, she sent me a message saying that she would be out of town over the long weekend and would we like to stay at her apartment? She offered to open her home to a stranger and her child, expecting nothing in return.
I initially thanked Mary and explained that we’d already reserved a hotel room. I told my friend, Erin Cummings (who became a sister to me when we underwent breast cancer treatment together a few years ago), about Mary’s extraordinarily kind gesture. Erin encouraged me to accept Mary’s offer, reminding me that it would benefit everyone. We learned the hard way, fighting for our lives, that we give others a gift when we accept help.
I then traveled to my hometown of Fresno, California, where the Molly Steinsapir Foundation, in partnership with Court Appointed Special Advocates of Fresno and Madera Counties (CASA), sponsored tickets for over 800 local foster youth to experience a fun-filled day at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. My family and closest friends gathered the night before the event and made gift bags for them.
I met the kids at eye-level as they came to pick up a bag. They were thrilled to receive something just for them. Snacks, bracelets, colorful stickers. Small things brought big smiles to their faces. I was overcome with emotion at the sight of Molly’s face on the backs of t-shirts worn throughout the zoo, where my grandfather served as Director during my childhood.
As we drove home, I decided to accept Mary’s generous offer and use the money that we would have spent on a hotel stay to help buy school supplies for the foster youth of my hometown.
Please be part of #GiveUpGiveBack on launch day to support the charity or cause of your choice. Maybe you’ll join me in making this a better back-to-school season for kids who have suffered tremendously, and often unseen, during the pandemic. You could also get involved with or donate to the Molly Steinsapir Foundation, which supports causes that Molly was passionate about - children’s theatre, animals, the environment, and equal access to the right to vote. Or use this as an opportunity to bring attention to the organization that matters most to you!
We are proud that Molly has inspired people to donate to all types of charities, clean up their local beaches, donate blood and sign up to be organ donors. Molly saved the lives of a teenage boy and three mothers by being a donor. We can’t wait to see the acts of kindness and generosity that will be done in Molly’s name as part of the #GiveUpGiveBack Challenge.
What you could “give up” could be as small as a daily latte for a week, a dinner in a restaurant, or anything you choose. It could be a gift of your free time – to volunteer for a non-profit of your choice - or donating things you don’t need anymore to a charity that can use them.
Our “ask” is simple! Here’s all we’d like you to do:
Accept our invitation to participate and choose your charity and your donation amount/act. If you make a monetary donation, don’t feel any pressure over the amount. It can be as little as $5. It’s completely up to you and can be private.
Between August 16 and Labor Day, go to Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram. Upload a short video or a colorful post, share what you or your family will do, and the charity you will support.
For example, I am going to post a photo of our boys on their first day of school and share how we are making the back-to-school season better for foster youth. Many of us share first-day-of-school photos. This year, let’s share our beautiful kids AND how we plan to #GiveUpGive Back! If you don’t have kids or they are grown, share a #Throwback picture from your school days!
Remember to use the hashtags #GiveUpGiveBack, #TEAMMOLLY and the # or @ for your chosen charity.
Tag 2-5 of your friends in your video/post and ask them to join the Challenge.
Many small acts of kindness can make a huge difference!
The campaign will run from August 16 through Labor Day. We’d love for you to post on August 16, if possible, to help increase momentum! But anytime is great, and feel free to post multiple times! Please let me know if we can count you in and feel free to share this with anyone else who may be interested.