IBOs build their businesses for many reasons and when they realize success they share it, as Network TwentyOne does with its global good-works effort, Network of Caring. Through it, IBOs around the world raise money, identify needs, organize volunteers, and take action.
Network of Caring was founded by IBO leaders Jim and Nancy Dornan as a way to help them become more effective givers. The Network TwentyOne organization has donated $30 million over 13 years to World Vision, the largest child sponsorship charity in the world, making them World Vision's biggest corporate sponsor. "What we have accomplished we have done so without really trying hard," says Jim Dornan, who wondered, "What could we do if we really tried?" They began this great effort by creating Network of Caring as a non-profit charitable organization.
In the U.S., one of the things Network TwentyOne supports is Power Soccer, a sports league for athletes in power wheelchairs. Through their Fernando Foundation, this not-for-profit group organizes soccer teams nationally for kids otherwise bound to power wheelchairs. It is their goal to compete internationally.
David Dornan, Jim and Nancy's son and an IBO, is an avid fan of Power Soccer. David became involved while helping his brother Eric, a power wheelchair athlete born with spina bifida. Living in California where Power Soccer took off, David volunteered during practices and games when he saw what a great athletic outlet it was for Eric. "He did some things like baseball, where he might run bases, but most sports are burdensome for kids in power wheelchairs, because they have more severe problems and they can't play as easily." But with a simple guard attached to the foot stand of the wheelchair, kids in power wheelchairs can move the ball around amazingly well.
In 1999, when the Dornans still lived in California, there were 6 teams in the whole nation, all in California. When the Dornans all moved to Atlanta, they were amazed that there were no teams along the East Coast. It became their mission to organize teams there, and today there are eight teams in the west and 45 teams in the east and still building.
"From New York to Miami, we visit clinics, camps, and hospitals and demo the sport," says IBO David Ruelas, Director of Operations for Fernando Foundation. David joins Eric for team practice and games and is a key league proponent. The pair and other Fernando Foundation employees often visit with kids in power wheelchairs, asking if they're interested in trying Power Soccer.
Eric and David recently put on a Power Soccer demo during a trip to Michigan for a Network TwentyOne event. IBO Eric Rasche is one of the drivers behind the single team in Michigan, centered in Lansing. Always an enterprising spirit, Eric Rasche hopes to organize teams in Detroit and Grand Rapids. Eric has devoted his own resources, including his enthusiasm, time, and ability to persuade those with the ability to coach.
Imagine having the freedom to move because of the power of a motorized wheelchair, but what you really want is to play a sport like every other kid. IBOs across North America and around the world, with resources, time, and heart are helping to make dreams come true through Network TwentyOne's Network of Caring.
Thank you Jim and Nancy for making a difference!