On Jan. 14, 2015, as Duston Hayward rode his bicycle to work in San Diego, an 18-wheeler took a right on red and wiped him out. It was a hit that could have killed him, yet Hayward managed to crawl away from the accident with fractures to his ribs, pelvis and wrist.
Hayward is a computer scientist by profession and is currently working as a systems engineer. He missed three months of work completely, and then it took another two months to get back to it full time and resume most of his normal activities. “There are still some things that I don’t do. Like I don’t commute to work on bicycle anymore,” he said.
The accident shocked his heart out of rhythm—but managed to change it forever. He said his brush with mortality made him thankful for each day, and gave him a more positive outlook on life. He started to advise friends and family not to sweat the small stuff, and managed to have deep, meaningful conversations with his youngest son, who was a senior in high school at the time of the accident, about how to change perspective on negative feelings and events. “I really started to become thankful for what was going on. Thankful for being alive and really changing to have an even more positive outlook on life than I had before,” Hayward said.
He was further inspired by a woman he saw on TV who had been in an accident a decade before, who wanted to replace her negative memory of that day with a positive one, so she ran a marathon. He started an annual 5K walk he called Celebrate Life’s Beauty as a fundraiser. The first year, around the holidays in 2015, Hayward and his friends and family—about 50 people in all—raised $2,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which supports people with disabilities who want to participate in sports. For the second and third year, the walk raised money for the Butterfly Effect.
Hayward learned about the Butterfly Effect from his wife, Brenda, and son, Parker, who were connected to the Wahl family through the kids’ school. He decided he wanted to be part of the micro-philanthropy movement that counts on generosity being contagious locally and around the world.
“It was a perfect match. I had never really met Tasha before, and when I told her what I was doing, she wanted to be part of it. When she told me what she was doing, I wanted to be part of it,” he said. “I liked the concept of the Butterfly Drops. I liked the concept of the butterfly walls.”
Hayward would go on to organize six Butterfly Drops and a butterfly stencil mural inside the Embassy Suites in downtown in San Diego. The drops supported causes such as Gordon College’s (Mass.) baseball team and the Princess Project, which provides prom dresses to girls who can’t afford to buy them.
Hayward said he’d always thought about giving back, perhaps after he’d retired, but his accident shifted his priorities. “I started to search out people who inspire people in general,” he said. “I’m continuing to search for that and continuing to spread the word of how wonderful life is. I did not have that complete appreciation before, so it really has woken me up. I really believe that I’ve had a second chance, I’m on my second life, because the odds are I should have been dead that day.”
Sawyer James is the kind of kid you just can’t keep out of the kitchen. “If he gets a chance to get up before the rest of the family, he will hurry to get ready because he wants to be the one to cook breakfast,” says his mother, Alison.
Sawyer recently turned his passion into compassion by channeling his talents for charity. The 8-year-old third grader cooked for friends and neighbors to raise money for a Butterfly Effect Butterfly Drop, which in turn, funded a faith-based organization, Compassion International https://www.compassion.com, which helps children in need.
The week before Thanksgiving, Sawyer posted a video about his fundraiser: “Who likes to cook the week of Thanksgiving? Who wants to help other people? I have a way to do both,” he started off, and explained the concept of the Butterfly Drop, which he learned about in school. He offered friends and neighbors to cook and deliver homemade chicken soup with bread or baked ziti with salad for a minimum $20 donation.
Alison said that the project manifested with several delightful, unexpected benefits. First, they realized that people were willing to pay more than the minimum donation amount. “They were willing to go above and beyond, so that was really cool and special for him,” Alison said. From six or seven deliveries, after expenses, Sawyer made $175 for charity. One person made an order on behalf of a local friend with cancer so that the family could take a night off from the kitchen. “I’m just grateful that we were able to help her and her family out to spend more time together instead of worrying about some of those basic things while she was going through all that,” Alison said. Her friend passed away shortly after.
She appreciated being able to spend time in the kitchen with Sawyer—doing the project together amped up their bonding time. He also learned to make a website https://goo.gl/Uu4GNZ to share his results and journey at school.
Philanthropy comes naturally to Sawyer. “He’s one of those kids who gives money away the second he gets it, so this project was right up his alley,” Alison said.
Sawyer said he was really happy with the project. “It feels great and other people should do it too,” he said. He offered this advice for other kids who want to help but don’t know how: “Start maybe just give a little and maybe you’ll like it and maybe give more.”
Get involved! Learn how to bring a Butterfly to your community to help a cause near to your heart.
Patti Sokol, Adobe Sr. solutions consultant, was sitting in San Francisco’s famously terrible traffic, wondering what she could use as a theme for the project for CC @MAX, a hands-on, pre-conference lab she teaches at Adobe’s annual creative event. Then, as it does for so many others, a butterfly appeared just when she needed it.
“Waiting at a stoplight, I saw a beautiful butterfly wall installation on the side of a boarded up post office in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. The butterfly graphic with the words ‘Be the Change You Want to See in the World’ struck me as a perfect combination of creativity plus philosophy—and a great potential project that my students could use to express their creativity and incorporate the new Creative Cloud product features that they learn during the CC @MAX lab,” Patti said.
She went back to the office and through a little research, found The Butterfly Effect and read up on contagious generosity and Butterfly Drops. She was delighted and knew that providing butterflies to her students would add greater meaning to their projects. Not only could they gain new software skills, but they could also facilitate giving in the process. The students, all adult creative professionals, come to Adobe MAX to be inspired, to enhance their skills, and to learn new features of Adobe Creative Cloud. They were provided with a Photoshop template of the butterfly and a creative brief.
Patti found help from a longtime Adobe partner, Roland DGA, which makes a printer that would print and cut the vinyl sticker students would affix to the wooden butterflies. Patti was able to use the butterflies at two events in 2017, reaching 150 different students. For each butterfly, Adobe contributed $50 and the Butterfly Effect contributes $50; the total $100 will go to the charity of the finder’s choice. “Part of the fun of contagious generosity is seeing where they are dropped, who will find them, and which charity will be selected,” Patti said.
The feedback from her students was formidable—they appreciated doing something that was practical and would help to give back. “I’m very lucky to work for a company like Adobe, which encourages employees to create positive change in the world around them by supporting causes through donations and volunteer work. Butterfly Effect resonated for me because I believe that our small, individual actions collectively make an impact on the world around us. As part of the creative brief, I asked the students to express the Butterfly Effect theme of, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ For my butterfly I chose the theme of kindness. Simple acts of kindness can have a large effect on the world,” Patti said.
Taking on a Butterfly Effect project was a natural progression for 17-year-old Jada Talton, a Dothan, Ala., homeschooled high-school junior. She’s always loved to draw and paint, plus her parents instilled a deep sense of social responsibility in Jada and her two sisters since they were small.
“My mother has volunteered at local homeless shelters and my sisters and I have helped collect donations for them. I just felt this was a neat way to give back and help those types of organizations while allowing visitors of the butterfly the chance to snap a picture with some cool artwork!” Jada said.
Her mother, Rochelle, agrees. “I think the Butterfly program is an excellent way to inspire people to get up and do something, not only themselves, but for others. Parents need to teach children that hard work and determination pays off, and without both, you cannot succeed. Being the catalyst for others to see something positive in an often chaotic and busy world (and hopefully, thereby encouraging or inspiring them to do the same) as an example is important because it can be the beginning of a chain reaction. Basically, it’s the foundation of the reason to do good.”
Jada’s butterfly, resplendent in indigo on a cream-colored wall, will benefit her local Ark Thrift Store by attracting shoppers and creating awareness about the organization’s mission to help men who are homeless, struggling with addiction, out of prison or just need a time in their life to start over.
The butterfly is a perfect metaphor, Jada says. “I do believe they represent transformation and a new beginning, so in many ways, the butterfly can signify change or a second chance.”
Jada is amplifying the message of her butterfly on social media, and has been interviewed by local news outlets.
She says she hopes that visitors come away with encouragement, inspiration, and positive vibes. “I love art, and wanted to leave a mark here in my hometown and to help others.”
Rochelle says she’s extremely proud of her daughter, and thinks the project is not only helping the Ark, but Jada as well. “This project put her out of her comfort zone a bit but also helped her to see how her talent could be used to help others and to leave a mark on a small community where hope is still needed and appreciated,” Rochelle said. “Now, through the butterfly, Jada is able to know that she is a tiny part in the process of changing lives for years to come, and that is a pretty good self-esteem booster.”
#ButterflyEffect #BeTheChange #Wahl2Wall