Regular readers will know that I don’t often accept guest blog posts but occasionally a great story comes along from someone that I respect immensely and I just have to share. This story comes from Richard Bangs, a man who has seen enough adventure for two lifetimes. In this case however, he’s telling the tale of Claire Thompson, a young woman who fell in love with the country of Bhutan and has worked tirelessly to make a difference in the Himalayan Kingdom. So, with out further ado here’s the story:
When Claire Thomsen was 11, her parents pulled the rug out from her comfortable Malibu existence. They sold the family business, rented out the house, and spent the year roving the world, 27 countries in all, with Claire in tow. Instead of entering middle school with friends, flinging with fashions, immersing in social media, and generally avoiding adulthood, Claire spent sixth grade girdling the globe, homeschooling from eco-lodges and hostels through correspondence courses.
She wandered through many countries over the course of the year, including China, Japan, Thailand, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Cambodia, France and Italy. But one tiny, remote Himalayan kingdom—Bhutan—remained lodged in her consciousness and heart.
Claire needed to raise $50,000 dollars to build a library. She started passing the hat among friends and family, and held fundraisers in and around her hometown of Malibu. After a flush of early giving—$5,000 on her first go-around, and $10,000 more after she made a YouTube video—the going got tougher. She found it hard to find new people to ask, and harder to go back and ask original givers for more.
Stalling out at $25,000, after almost a year of appeals and events, Read Global, impressed by Claire’s passion and commitment, decided to step in and begin the project, even with a shortage of funds. But then after Claire showed her donors photos of the building taking shape, they were more willing to open pocketbooks, and the goal inched closer. The actress Linda Hamilton graciously donated the use of her home for a fundraiser, and made one of the largest financial donations to the library. The $50,000 target was reached several months ahead of the scheduled three-year mark.
To see Claire Thomsen’s dream in action, visit www.mybhutaneselibrary.com
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