Updated: Jun 8, 2021
"Thank-you for what you do in our community..."
CEO & Founder Orlando Motivates the Chamber of Commerce
"I'm going to start with a story..." CEO & Founder of Choose to Change, Orlando Salinas told the audience.
"One Christmas morning, a mother found her daughter crying in front of the Christmas tree. And there were no presents under the tree...
Feeling the sadness of her little girl, she tried to comfort her by wrapping her arms around her. She told her, 'Don't worry precious, you're going to get gifts...'
Her daughter turned around with tears in her eyes, 'I don't want gifts – I just want my daddy!'"
Little did everyone in the McAllen Chamber Power Network Event know is that little girl was Orlando's four year old daughter the year he was incarcerated for the last time.
On May 11, 2021 Choose to Change had the opportunity to be the sponsors of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Power Networking Event.
The Power Networking Event is put on by the McAllen Chamber every month for business owners and business representatives all over McAllen to have to opportunity to network and build relationships with each-other.
Each business is given a few minutes to share about their business and what services/products they offer. However, as the official sponsors of the entire event, we were given 10 minutes on the main stage to share about what our organization does for the community.
After 10 years of working with countless families through our organization, we were ready to share what Choose to Change is doing to fight one of the biggest problems our society faces today:
Increasing Awareness in the RGV
Ever heard the saying, "Out of sight, out of mind?"
That saying is especially true for a non-profits who want to gain community support! After all, how can the community help Choose to Change fight fatherlessness due to incarceration unless they know it's a problem?
That's why Choose to Change is bringing the problem of fatherlessness to the forefront in our community. Our goal this year is to increase community awareness about our organization. And that's exactly what we did at May's Power Network.
"Our vision is to end fatherlessness in the lives of children and families in the world." Orlando shared at the event.
"But is fatherlessness really an issue in our society?" he asked everyone.
"63% of youth suicide comes from fatherless homes.
90% of all homeless and runway youth come from fatherless homes.
85% of learning disorders
71% come from fatherless homes...
75% by all rape and anger disorder is by people who come from fatherless homes...
Statistics show we have a systemic problem in our society today." he added. "We live in a fatherless generation..."
"Our foundation focuses on 3 specific groups. Men coming out of the prison system. Men coming out of rehabs. And fatherless men looking for direction." said Orlando.
He continued to share how through storytelling, education, news, and advocacy, we are changing the narrative on fatherlessness due to incarceration, creating amazing change.
Our final message was simple:
ANYBODY help us get our message into prisons, change families' stories, and change ex-convicts' lives to help end fatherlessness.
Chamber of Commerce Member, Steve Urbina said, "Thank-you so much for those powerful words.”
“That a great ministry that you have, God bless you and I hope you guys continue to grow! Thank-you for what you do in our community.”
Everyone was inspired and motivated by the amazing work Choose to Change is doing to end fatherlessness in our community.