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By Dr. Marlena E. Uhrik

The Magic of Making a Difference:

One CAN Make a Difference

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What This Book is About

You will experience the heartwarming journey of an eight-year-old girl with a big heart and a bigger dream, and a tender, yet trying relationship with her mom. It is a story filled deep with meaning—profound, yet simple. It is a rollercoaster story of emotions: love, despair, scarcity, compassion, hope, empathy, and resiliency. Discover the “Aha Moment” that reminds us of the extraordinary power of what happens when we shift our belief from “I can’t” to “I can.”

Like tribal stories that get told and passed down through generations, this true story has been told to hundreds of people throughout the years.  It is now ready to be shared in the written word. This story is meant to reach all ages—it yearns to be a message of hope and inspiration—of persistence and reward for never giving up—even in the face of what seems like defeat.  It is meant to inspire others who have a dream and can see the vision of that dream come true. It is knowing that no matter how big or small a dream is, it matters, and the realization of that dream can have a ripple effect that can change the lives of others forever.

A powerful reminder that we can rise above our circumstances and limiting beliefs

An amazing communication tool for kids (and adults) to talk about the power of never giving up

A must-read for social-emotional growth and development to learn, and perhaps re-learn, the power of believing in yourself…and so much more.

Best Selling Author

Dr. Marlena E. Uhrik

An educator for over 45 years, Dr. Uhrik has taught aspiring teachers around the world and received numerous local and national awards for improving the quality of life for children and families.

In 2009, Dr. Uhrik was awarded the United States Presidential Award for Service as an educator and founder of two community-based organizations: The Kids’ Community Breakfast Club in Hayward, California and Our Kids’ Community Breakfast Club in Sacramento, California.

The Story Behind the Story

Dr. Marlena E. Uhrik

There are lessons to be learned all around us, and sometimes the greatest inspiration can come from unexpected places. As I reflect on the power of how one person can make a difference, I am reminded of my own personal experience that has touched my heart forever.

As a single Mom to my two kids, I often felt lost and alone. I questioned my worth and my place in the world. It was during this pain and deep despair, that an “Aha” moment occurred and deeply touched me.  It was as though I saw myself in a new way with new possibilities for my life just knowing that One CAN/I CAN Make a Difference.  I was reminded of the profound impact that even the smallest act of kindness can have.

It was my daughter’s persistence and tenacity that shifted my reality from “not having enough” and “not being enough” that created a transformational shift for me of new hope and purpose. The indelible image of that eight-year-old little girl will be with me forever. Who could forget that scene when she came home bursting with excitement as she shared the news that her class had won a canned food drive with just one can—the one can she brought!!! It was the One CAN that made the difference!

Years later, in 1992, that spark became the fuel of inspiration that would lead me to create a grassroots effort to address childhood hunger in my own community. It was a daunting task, but the memory of that One CAN and the power of one person to make a difference ignited my passion and determination. This focused attention and effort caught the eye of the community and its community leaders. Volunteers from all sectors of the community wound up, in some way, contributing to the health, happiness, and well-being of the kids and families in the Hayward, CA community.  This momentum built and later, I was chosen as a Community Hero by our late Congressman Pete Stark. This recognition led to the privilege of me being a 1996 Olympic Torchbearer and being recognized in the United States of America Congressional Record, Volume 49 in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, March 25, 2003.

That grassroots effort grew into a nonprofit organization called The Kids’ Breakfast Club. This organization has touched the lives of countless children and families and has earned local, state, and national recognition. What started as a simple act of kindness had become a movement. This was driven by the belief that one person truly can make a difference and can have a ripple effect that can change people’s lives forever.

As I share this story, I am filled again with a renewed sense of wonder and possibility. What if more people knew about this story and realized that they can make a difference, too?

 It reminds me that we all have dreams tucked away, waiting to be brought to life. Perhaps it is a small act of kindness, or a larger effort to create change in our communities or the world.

Whatever it may be, we have the power to make a difference and inspire others to do the same. Will you carry the torch for your dream? I say, Yes! Here’s to you being the next person to say, One CAN, I CAN Make a Difference!  

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