Wednesday Whatabouts: Secret Millionaire

  • Whatabouts (noun): the matters which one is occupied with

My new obsession: Sunday night’s new “Feel Good” show…Secret Millionaire on ABC.  If I am watching TV and see something upcoming that sparks my interest, I DVR it to help cure my sporatic fits of  boredom.  I was enticed by the idea of millionaires giving away their money to those who deserve it – those who help out their communities.  What really grabbed my attention was a teaser line from the first episode, “We idolize celebrities, we idolize professional athletes, we idolize millionaires…we idolize all the wrong people. The people who have started these organizations…they are the model Americans.”

These self-made Millionaires leave their familiy and lavish lifestyles behind to live 6 days in some of the most desolute areas of the country.  Throughout their experience, they come face-to-face with some truly extraordinary people who put their own needs aside for the sake of others. At the end of the journey, the millionaires reveal their true identity and donate their own money.  Extra Bonus. Each episode, the Secret Millionaire seems to bond with a particular individual…and they usually send a lil’ something extra their way.

And no joke…Episode 1 had me tearing up over and over again.  Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a big softie!  I’m a giver.  And I love to volunteer.  And I would like to believe that even if I was a millionaire, I would act the same way!  You must watch the episodes to fully feel the effect of the show…hear the stories behind why each group offers what they do…and to feel how the millionaires connect…but I wanted to share a lil’ bit of the love through a recap.  I mean…since I watched all three episodes in one night!

Episode 1 Recap:
Knoxville, Tennessee
Wealthy entrepreneur Dani Johnson, once homeless and on welfare, is sent to one of the most neglected neighborhoods in Knoxville, TN, in search of those who need her help most. She had to get by on just $40 for the week – the equivalent of one week’s worth of foodstamps for a woman her age.  She donated $100,000.   Yes folks – that is $100,000 dollars – out of pocket – to three great community organizations!

Episode 2 Recap:
Detroit, Michican
Marc Paskin came from a poor family and worked his way through college. He used his life savings of a thousand bucks for a down payment on a duplex. That was the start of a career in buying and selling real estate that turned him into a multi-millionaire.  He now has to survive 6 days on a mere $50.00…the equivalent of weekly welfare for a single man over 50 living in Detroit.  He donated $110,000. 

Episode 3 Recap:
Gary, Indiana
James Malinchak is a highly-successful motivational speaker whose hometown was a steel mill town in Pennsylvania. He leaves his lavish Las Vegas-area home to head off to Gary, Indiana, where the collapse of the steel industry has hit this city hard. One-third of the residents live in poverty. James will be joining them over the next six days in a one-bedroom apartment with a mere 44 bucks in his pocket.  Yep – $44 to feed you for 6 days!  He donated $105,000 + thousands in supplies.

Touching!  And totally pulled at my heart-strings!!

In California, I did a lot of volunteer work with Junior Achievement.  Here in Louisiana, I volunteer a lot of my time at the St. Tammany Humane Society, a local no-kill shelter.

Is there is an organization that you are passionate about?  Do you donate or volunteer?


4 thoughts on “Wednesday Whatabouts: Secret Millionaire

  1. Very cool, Jen! 🙂 I think I’m going to have to start watching that show. I think it’s awesome that you devote your time to these animals and its a no-kill shelter. 🙂 Unfortunately for the moment I do not volunteer, but I did spend a lot of my free time in the past volunteering for the Ronald McDonald House and our local hospital. Right now I do donate to St. Jude’s and The Red Cross. 🙂

    Is it difficult not taking home any of the pets you play with???

    • I read your post where you are going to donate to St. Jude’s & the Red Cross. Two very deserving causes!!! I applaud you!! Honestly, for the first (6) months I didn’t even play with the dogs because I was so afraid I would want to take one home. I cornered up in the “Cat Cottage” – haha – typical me! But then one day I was brave…and ended up walking 6 dogs!!! They were so grateful to just be outside…and walked…and played with…it was awesome!! The great thing about the shelter is that each dog gets out at least once a day…but I feel that if I can get them out & play just once more…it makes their day 🙂

  2. Personally, I LOVE volunteering with the drama department at the local middle school, because there’s always one or two kids that just need that extra “something” — encouragement or support or just one compliment that says “You’re doing great. Don’t give up.” Most of these kids get classified as “needy” or “annoying” and for the teachers that see and deal with them every day, they require more attention that what the teacher has to spare. Cue me! I love going in and making that connection and helping to inspire. Sometimes, I get to meet the parents of those kids and they are always so appreciative of what is so little effort on my part, because I want to do it. It’s natural. But it’s great to see it make a big difference.

    • This gave me goose-bumps! I love your dedication to the arts. And I agree…a lot of times the people who see these kids day in and day out label them as “needy”…but that’s why it’s so wonderful to have people like you in the world!!! I can’t imagine how happy it makes you when even the parents comment on it!!! What a great volunteer success story!! 🙂

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