by Bri Kilroy
What would a selfless society mean to you? The general picture is a seemingly utopian land where the term “stranger” is replaced with “neighbor”, the atmosphere is loving, and no one goes through the holiday season without feeling blessed. How about being able to experience the joy of seeing a child’s face light up when they receive their own bicycle? How about forming a personal connection with someone you have helped and who has helped you in return? How about, instead of living in a world where success is fuel, we are motivated by the feeling of doing something for someone else? I know, in that utopian society we shouldn’t be fueled by how good the act of giving makes us feel, but More-Self-Less Inc. gives people the opportunity to fulfill themselves by fulfilling others.
“To me that’s the selfish part of the business,” says Brady Schmitz, founder of More-Self-Less with a slogan of Selfishly Inspired to be Selfless. “…being able to capture that feeling of doing something for someone else then being motivated to do it again.”
Before the need to help others came about, Brady was in what he describes as a personal storm and knew that he needed to find a better way to spend his time.
Brady says “I vowed to God one day to make whatever changes that I needed to so that I could begin healing and part of that included doing what I can do for others to help mend my own spirit.” He began researching through phone calls and online for a place in the community to spend some time, however none of the organizations were quick to acknowledge his interests.
Finally, a Byron Center retirement community contacted him and Brady spent Thanksgiving day visiting seniors. Not having had grandparents himself, the time spent with them struck his heart and “began healing me a little bit more each time I visited” he says.
Despite the fulfillment it brings, the systematic part of finding a place to help out is discouraging to Brady and others who may want to lend their care to someone else. More-Self-Less lifts the burden and uncertainty of the search by having those who join their mission fill out a profile with their area of interests and the type of community involvement they’re looking for.
“Instead of having to go out and search to find opportunities, the system is intended to push them to you,” Brady explains about the matching system that alerts the person of an engagement opportunity and how to get involved when one arises.
More-Self-Less was also fueled by a situation happening during 2009-2010 with one of Brady’s good friends. Spending the 2009 holidays in the hospital due to major health complications with both him and his wife, his friend’s financial situation worsened throughout 2010. Brady, conscious of his own good fortunes, reached out to his friend.“I asked him, or rather told him, that he needed to do me a favor. He adds, “I told him he needed to swallow his pride and allow me to take care of his family during the holidays.”
This same family that inspired his behavior that year is now actively engaged in lending their help to others who may be experiencing unfortunate times and struggles.
This year, More-Self-Less is holding “I Dream Beautiful” at 25 Kitchen & Bar (25 Ottawa Ave. SW). “I Dream Beautiful” is a Christmas event that celebrates the holidays this year with 20 families including 58 kids that have been “adopted” by those involved with the More-Self-Less organization. At a time when the happiness of a good holiday season appears unattainable to those experiencing rough times, More-Self-Less is bringing that warmth to these families on December 19 from 6pm-8pm, ending with the unprecedented revelation of a wonderful gift that the whole community is invited to experience.
“It is simply amazing, the incredible feeling you get when you look around and see all the joy that you can bring to others – it is a miracle that we create for other’s to be a part of,” says Brady. “We want to capture that feeling of being selfish for someone else.”
The big revelation that we are all invited to experience?
Ottawa Ave. (west of the Van Andel Arena) will be closed off and staged with lights. While the families, having just enjoyed a nice dinner and spending time together, are in the building opening the gifts received from their “adoptees”, the street will be prepared for the presentation of bicycles for each of the children. Instead of encountering what they thought would be the return of their vehicle from the valet staff, the families will see the street illuminated with brand new bikes, complete with name tag, helmet, and bow, making this Christmas one to remember.
The community is invited to come down to 25 Ottawa Ave at 8pm and stand outside of the stanchions surrounding the bikes. It’s more than an invitation to see the joy of giving at its most powerful. It’s an invitation to become more involved with your neighbors and experience the selfish act of acting selflessly. Heartwarming magical moment guaranteed!
“We need to be set free,” says Brady “from our selfishness and given the strength to live up to our ideals. To liberate us from our self-centeredness while bringing us into harmony with our fellow man and dwell together in unity.”
More-Self-Less isn’t just for this holiday season. The support plans to be carried out for three months following the event with ministry efforts. Other events will follow including providing Senior picture packages for those who can not afford them, and a big one for June 2012, Blessing on the Boats. Tentatively, buses will be packed with kids from the inner city and take them to the lake shore where they will be caravanned to the big lake, relish in a day at the sand dunes.
It’s not the amount of hours you’ve clocked in from past volunteering that makes you legible to get involved in the organization nor is it a guilt trip that can only be completed with a stereotypical donation to a cause that you’re not even sure of. It’s simply having the desire to heal yourself through helping another.
Become part of the More-Self-Less mission at MoreSelfLess.org, join them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Moreselfless, and send an e-mail to raise awareness of these opportunities.
“We are just ordinary everyday people who have an opportunity to do things for other people,” Schmitz says.