We had the good fortune of connecting with Dawn Airhart Witte and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dawn, what are you inspired by?
Love and Kindness inspire me above all else. To know that I can lend a helping hand, a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on is powerful. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived- this is to have succeeded.” Those words inspire me to live a life of service to others as I feel there is no higher calling. I know so many people helping so many lives “breathe easier.” My friend Carole founded the Dawg Squad, she spends her days and “free” time rescuing dogs in Los Angeles and placing them in loving forever homes. My friend Wendy founded the Beauty Bus which provides beauty services to patients and caregivers to help lift their spirits while in the hospital or home bound due to medical conditions. My friend Debbie started a home for pregnant women and their children who are in need of a place to live and the tools needed to change their lives. Mama Josephine in Uganda was devastated after she lost her husband and children, yet today she raises 67 abandoned children, despite not knowing how she will feed them from one day to the next. I could go on and on listing the many people I know who are making a beautiful impact in the world. Their tremendous compassion and their extraordinary commitment to helping others, despite the challenges they face inspire me. These are people who understand that love and kindness are our highest currencies.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The Desire to Inspire Foundation is a non-profit organization that connects with communities around the world to break the cycle of extreme poverty. Our global partnerships and outreach initiatives provide resources to fulfill basic needs and bring sustainability and love to people all over the world. I started the Desire to Inspire Foundation to Inspire people to live their happiest lives full of purpose and meaning while helping others do the same. We love to work in collaboration with partner organizations from around the world because we believe that when we work together, through love and kindness, there is nothing we cannot achieve. We are currently working with children in Ghana, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Kenya, and Rwanda. We are helping to meet basic needs such as clean water, food, medical care, and education but we do not want to stop there. We want to lift communities by creating sustainable businesses to create jobs allowing people to use their own unique gifts and talents to support themselves, their families, and their communities. We have also given out nearly 2500 copies of “The Little Books of Be…” to children in Africa and the United States. This book was written as a loving reminder to children everywhere that they are special and loved by friends from around the world. It contains messages of the power of my seven words: love, kind, grateful, happy, strong, genuine, and inspired. The digital version will be available to download on our website www.desiretoinspirefoundation.org as our gift to children everywhere.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There is so much to see and do in Los Angeles that I don’t even know where to begin. For me, the beach is always a good place to start. All of our beaches have their own unique feel and flavor and I can’t say I have a favorite one, but Venice Beach is something that everyone should experience at least once in their life. Disneyland and Universal Studios are also places to visit and not something I do unless I have a friend visiting from out of town. I love that in LA we can find any type of cuisine we may be craving. I have been a vegetarian for nearly 29 years so trying new vegetarian restaurants is always fun. One of my very favorites is Shojin in DTLA. I always love taking people there because it is delicious and I can eat anything on the menu.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I started the Desire to Inspire Foundation to recognize people doing tremendous work in the world. I mentioned a few of them when I wrote about what inspires me. The list is long and I am so grateful to be able to have inspirational people like that in my life. In addition to those shoutouts, I would love to mention a man who has made me want to be a better person since the first day we met. Nana Kontor Nketiah is truly an angel walking among us. He has been one of my closest friends for over three years, we communicate almost every day. We have traveled through Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, and Sierra Leone together. We have slept on floors, visited remote villages, argued like siblings, and have felt the tremendous love of the people we have been able to meet. Nana is loved by everyone he meets, and I have never heard him utter a bad word about anyone, even if it may have been deserved. He has not an ounce of malice in his heart and even when he is struggling, he will never share his burdens because he is always concerned for others. He was once a stranger in a land far away, but today I consider him one of my greatest role models and one of my best friends. I am so grateful to have met him as he has profoundly impacted my life. Together we are on a mission to help lift the continent of Africa and the world through love and kindness. Mi do wu, afi boooor, (I love you eternally) Nana Kontor Nketiah.
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