ABC’s “Secret Millionaire” has now had its fourth episode and it sparks a lot of questions about this show. For instance, are poverty levels worse than we’re being told?; are politician’s taking notice of how devastating these areas are?; are other millionaire’s wanting to be on “Secret Millionaire”? These questions are some that I intend to do some research on and have updates for you.
In the meantime, our fourth “Secret Millionaire” is John Ferber. John Ferber lives in Florida and has become a millionaire through the internet. He and his brother founded Advertising.com and sold it to Time Warner. They created a new website called Microgiving.com which helps entrepreneurs fund their dreams. After losing two of his friends, Ferber realizes that there’s more to life than creating companies and making money. In a very compassionate and meaningful way, Ferber wants to find that meaning.
As “Secret Millionaire”, he goes to Skid Row in Los Angeles to spend six days and live on the average wages that the residents of Skid Row live on. A very depressing area with many handicapped people, Ferber wonders whatever happened to the American Dream because obviously, a lot of the people here are not living it.
Our “Secret Millionaire” seems very down to earth and as he spends time in Skid Row, he shows compassion for the homeless and poor. One chilly evening with only a thin blanket in his apartment, Ferber doesn’t sleep well because of the cold. He wonders how the homeless sleep on nights like this.
First Stop – Amin
While Ferber is out walking the streets of Skid Row, he notices a man passing out hygiene kits to the homeless. He asks to help and Ferber starts talking to this man whose name is Amin. Amin does this out of the goodness of his heart. He works with no organization but hopes to someday start a nonprofit to help the homeless and poor of Skid Row. Ferber is very impressed and asks if he can help volunteer to put the hygiene kits together with Amin. They set a date to do this.
When the time comes, Ferber meets up with Amin at a little shop called Ariane that Amin runs. Among the merchandise is bins of toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, and other hygiene products that Amin collects for the poor. Ferber and Amin make up little hygiene kits that are placed in clear plastic bags. They then go to Skid Row to pass them out. When one homeless man accepts a hygiene kit and Amin notices that the man has excrement all over his worn shoes, Amin takes off his own clean shoes and gives them to the man. I have to admit, this was a very touching part of this week’s “Secret Millionaire.” Ferber is totally blown away by the kindness of Amin’s action.
Ferber was also touched by the homeless accepting these hygiene kits. They graciously accepted the kits and meekly gave their thank yous. None of them grabbed for two or more kits, but were satisfied that someone had offered them anything at all.
At the end of “Secret Millionaire” when John Ferber reveals himself, he purchases 200 sleeping bags for Amin to hand out to the homeless. He also gives Amin a hefty check which Amin has used to create his own nonprofit organization to help out Skid Row’s homeless and poor.
3 on 3
” Secret Millionaire” continues and as John Ferber walks the neighborhood he comes across a street basketball league and decides to join in. He finds out that this league is a mentorship program to help the youths in community. This nonprofit believes that “good sportsmanship fosters good citizenship” and that’s their motto. Ferber plays some basketball and then talks with one of the mentors named Crushow to inquire about 3 on 3.
A few days later Ferber meets with Crushow and Crushow shows him a mural in Skid Row that was painted 20 years ago to show inspiration to Skid Row’s community. The mural depicts a better way of life in Skid Row with people and businesses who have achieved success. Today, the mural is vandalized with graffiti and is quite an eyesore. Crushow explains that he and his son spend their free time washing away the graffiti to restore the mural.
Touched by the mentor program of 3 on 3, John Ferber returns at the end of “Secret Millionaire” to reveal his identity and to give this organization a boost. Ferber not only contributes monies for 3 on 3 to purchase new sports equipment, but he gives them $20,000 to establish a scholarship fund for the league’s youths. Ferber also tells Crushow that he is going to pay for the restoration of the Skid Row mural.
As emotions run high and tears flow, Crushow gives us one heartfelt statement through his tears: “John believed in us; that’s a beautiful thing.”
One of the stops that Ferber takes us to is the Alexandria House. This well-kept property is run by a woman named Judy and it’s a place of transition for single women and women with kids until they can get back on their feet. Many of these women seek shelter at the Alexandria House from domestic violence. The average length of stay is 11 months and they’re trained on old computers.
” Secret Millionaire” John Ferber volunteers in the kitchen to help prepare meals. Judy tells Ferber that there’s an unequal distribution of wealth in this country and she gets about 300 calls a month from women seeking shelter. She can’t help them all. Ferber plays with the kids and one of the little girls asks another little girl, “Do you want to marry him?” How cute is that?
On his last visit to the Alexandria House as the “Secret Millionaire,” Ferber is impressed with how well-adjusted the kids are and the woman who live there. Everyone seems content and happy. This is a safe place for the residents and John Ferber wants to help them keep that sense of contentment. He brings Alexandria House ten new computers and gives Judy a nice check to help out. He also donates money to be divided up among the residents living there at the time. He then opens the doors to his van and he has a carload of toys and games for all the kids. A big heart resides in this “Secret Millionaire.”
At the end of this week’s “Secret Millionaire,” John Ferber tells us that he’s had a very fulfilling experience and he’s met some lifetime friends out of this show. He ends the show with a very thought-provoking quote, ” If you ever want to feel good about yourself, go help somebody else.”
Source: ABC’s “Secret Millionaire”; March 27, 2011