I doff my cap…

PHOTO-2020-06-25-20-08-47

We might all snigger every year, when two American baseball teams contest the World Series. America is still the foremost nation on earth, but claims of being World Champions in a contest confined to their own shores is delusional and emotes the affectionate phrase – Only in America.

The Washington Nationals are the current World Champions btw – beating the Houston Astros.

Who knew?

Not me. I looked it up using Google, the American search engine and Wikipedia, the American website. I don’t know much about baseball. Hardly anything, in fact.

And unlike Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Dan Merino and Tom Brady – all luminaries of US sports and whose stardom transcends borders and interest, but the only baseball player I am aware of, I am afraid is Babe Ruth.

But what is indisputable about baseball however, is the worldwide dominance of its hat. The baseball cap is iconic and ubiquitous, it adorns heads right across the globe.

The Holland household is full of them. Crammed in to every cupboard, nook and cranny, and as far as I am aware, without any of us buying a single one. Do they breed, I wonder?

And no bad thing since the baseball cap has long been co-opted by the golf world; they come in very handy since all members of our household (yes, Nikki also) are keen golfers, albeit some more keen than others.

I found this natty little number for my most recent golfing disappointment. Never worn before and always clutching at straws, I hoped that this cap might be what my game has been missing over all these years. It caught my attention with its unusual logo which I didn’t recognise – difficult to discern being black on black. But the writing on the back, also in black, makes perfect sense and I am happy to explain why.

The Empowerment Plan.

A charity founded and working in Detroit, Michigan  – which The Brothers Trust have supported over the last few years.

Having never heard of The Empowerment Plan, it is a good fit for our Trust, with our tagline and intention…

…to shine a light on charities that struggle to be heard.

And of course, in its work, helping people in desperate plight and in a most inspiring way.

“The Empowerment Plan”

Simple words, that surely, no one can take issue with.

Who doesn’t want and need to feel empowered? And we all do better in life with a plan, right?

The Empowerment Plan was founded by a college student, Veronika Scott and her buddies.  Sufficiently moved by the increasing unemployment in Michigan and the accompanying poverty and homelessness, they wanted to do something to arrest this downward spiral.

They conceived and designed a coat specifically for homeless people in the Michigan area. A laudable intention but one that was found wanting. The story goes, that when Veronika offered a prototype to a homeless women, she did not get the reaction she might have expected.

“I don’t want a coat. What I want, is a job”.

And with this – in 2012, The Empowerment Plan began to take shape and emerge in to something that transforms people’s lives.

To this day, coats for the homeless remains its primary output. But it is not that these coats are special, being adaptable in to sleeping bags for night use – it is how these coats are manufactured by a special work force that makes The Empowerment Plan so unique and so effective.

Along the lines of the old adage –

Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. But teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.

The workforce of the Empowerment Plan are people who have themselves been homeless. The coats are manufactured in Detroit and distributed the world over. Providing obvious benefits to the recipients but even more so to its workforce. Predominantly, women who have been identified by the charity and given this vital lifeline. Not only acquiring tangible skills and a gainful income but also the essential boost to their self-esteem and the emotional nourishment that comes with having a role and a purpose in life.

That Detroit is ‘Motown’ and the indelible impact this has on our culture – and that Detroit was once the manufacturing hub and mainstay of the US economy, anything being manufactured in Detroit these days is a further glimmer of light and hope.

The Empowerment Plan’s ambitions are grand. They are all about providing fish and the ability to fish.

An employee stays within The Empowerment Plan (the program) for an average of two years and none of them have since, fallen back in to homelessness.

This is a remarkable achievement and testimony to their work.

I write this now to pique your interest. I encourage you to check out their inspiring website – The Empowerment Plan -  or maybe wait a little while yet, because Tom is doing an interview with Veronika shortly and no doubt, this will provide much information on how powerful this charity is and how Tom’s platform can help them expand their network to raise more funds and to help more people.

And finally, the keen eyed sports fans amongst you will be wanting to know the answer to the question I posed earlier in this post.

Did The Empowerment Plan baseball cap help my golf? Because if it did, then imagine the bountiful income streams available to them?

But alas, no.

Their cap, whilst comfortable, imparted nothing positive on my game.

In fact, losing 10 balls which is pathetic and frankly, uneconomic. I love golf but equally, I hate the bloody game, which will make perfect sense to anyone who has dared to play it.

So, why then am I encouraging my lovely wife to play?

A good question.

Because isn’t there an adage about pain? Something about a pain, shared…

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22 Comments

    • Jessie June 29, 2020
      Reply

      This I beautiful! And well written 🙂 South Africa needs something like this .

    • Maite martinez June 29, 2020
      Reply

      everything you are doing is really beautiful, thanks to you the world will be much better someday, however I can help with a little at least sharing this, I ALWAYS dreamed of doing what you do but I am a little young to do it How can I help?

    • Taylor Thompson June 29, 2020
      Reply

      Beautifully written! Thank you for all that your family does. You are truly changing the world.

    • Ginevra August 6, 2020
      Reply

      This is a wonderful cause and a wonderful project . Good luck to you all and thank you for making a difference . Keep up the amazing work

  1. Carla June 28, 2020
    Reply

    The Empowerment Plan is an amazing cause! Loved to know more about it.
    I don’t wear cap, but some people look good wearing it haha. Have a good Sunday!

  2. Regina June 28, 2020
    Reply

    Thanks for shedding light on this charity. I am always encouraged when I encounter local charities making a big impact on the people immediately around them. These tend to be politic and agenda free and are therefore exclusively focused on actually making an immediate and positive difference in the community. They also tend to be little known so it’s wonderful that Tom’s organization is actively looking for them. Also, love a good baseball cap (like everyone else). Though I am always surprised when I see them outside of the US because I think of them as exclusively American.

  3. Jacquie McCarthy June 28, 2020
    Reply

    Thank you for highlighting our beautiful Stare of Michigan with this beloved Charity. I have quite often wondered why when people who are not familiar with our state often think of Detroit when they speak of Michigan when in fact if you live here we often think of Detroit as the “ghetto” or the dingy awful part of our state. Not taken care of, busy and just plain dirty. Our state is huge, beautiful with our grand 5 Great Lakes that could be compared to small Fresh water Oceans. The untouched Upper Peninsula where the gem of nature’s beauty unwinds at your feet. Beautiful golf courses such as The Bear designed by Jack Nicholson in glorious Traverse City the Cherry Capital of our state. We have lots to offer. I wish that the rest of the state would donate our money and focus it on the Detroit area to clean it up and make it shine and beautiful as it once was. Being a musician myself I adore the Motown History that it is rich in and want it to twinkle as it should! Our Mighty Tigers and Lions sports teams roaring once again and our Red Wings taking flight on the ice! Thank You Holland Family for highlighting this Charity and area in our country to help it get back on its feet! One of the many reasons I give whatever extra money I have to this Charity and your Brothers Trust. Many heart felt blessings to you and your Family!

    • Jacquie June 29, 2020
      Reply

      *Correction: Golfer – Jack Nicklaus not Nicholson! I had just rewatched One Flew Over the Coo-Coos Nest and had the actor on my mind. Whoops!

  4. David Filingeri June 28, 2020
    Reply

    Thank you for letting us know this association, your blogs are useful and interesting as usual.
    P.s. I wrote you a message on Messenger on June 1st, if you could read it you would make me happy! 

  5. Lorraine June 28, 2020
    Reply

    Hi Dom. Love the blogs when I read them during the week. Still looked forward to reading them again on Sundays! Hope you all have a good week

  6. Sinaida Curi June 28, 2020
    Reply

    That is a remarkable example and also a motivation for all of us. Achieving great results with simple, creative and work-centered idea is not an easy task. It seems Empowerment Plan got it all together. I hope they get to be known and their ideas be followed. I wish it could be followed in Brazil where we have been trying hard and it is always so hard to succeed. Cheers to your suport!

  7. Beth June 28, 2020
    Reply

    What a wonderful story (beside the flunking golf part!). I love everything about the brothers trust, it is just amazing how you enlighten all of these amazing charities! We’ve all heard of the cancer charities and the wwf charities, but it is the ones like the empowerment plan that, too, need a voice.

  8. Helena June 28, 2020
    Reply

    Thank you for a most interesting read. I must admit that I haven’t read your blog before but better late than never. 🙂 It’s interesting that one of the other comments mentioned the baseball cap as something profoundly American, but to me, a European (Scandinavian), it is just a cap. And its ties to baseball not something that I am conscious of. But because it is worn by people all over the world, it somehow ties us together. The same way your family’s charity work ties people together. Well done! I look forward to learning more about it and to reading your blog again.

  9. Hannah June 29, 2020
    Reply

    I loved this! So inspiring, will definitely be going to check out the website just now.

  10. K. Parker June 29, 2020
    Reply

    Being a Michigan native, I had never even heard of this charity. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, it’s very impressive!

  11. Maite martinez June 29, 2020
    Reply

    everything you are doing is really beautiful, thanks to you the world will be much better someday, however I can help with a little at least sharing this, I ALWAYS dreamed of doing what you do but I am a little young to do it How can I help?

  12. Damaris Hernández June 29, 2020
    Reply

    I love you work, you are fantastic people and beautiful hart. I love you 3,000
    I have beautiful family!✨

  13. Emily Snider June 30, 2020
    Reply

    so interesting. i am a big fan of your blogs your writing is a huge inspiration for all young writers out there. the empowerment plan sounds like a beautiful organization i gonna have to check it out and read into it thank you for sharing and good luck on your golf skills

  14. Jim July 4, 2020
    Reply

    Golf – Played it once, hole in one on the 4th round(or whatever it is called). Put down the club and never played again. Except for mini as my wife likes to play and you know the adage “Happy wife…….”.

    Baseball caps do wonders for receding or missing hairlines. You don’t even know you have one.

    By the way your last post you spelled “righter” wrong.
    ENJOY your blog!

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