Share

Sometimes it seems like tragedy is so far away.

Tsunamis? Earthquakes? Wildfires? Those are crazy events that happen on the other side of the country or planet. Nothing like will ever touch your family. And while it’s easy to donate $10 to the Red Cross, you’re probably not gonna do it because everybody hits you up for cash during the holiday season.

Well, dammit, I thought the same thing until my friend’s house burned down in a wildfire.

Ita Olsen is an ordinary person — not a celebrity or a Hollywood star — who lived in a quiet condominium in Malibu. Two weeks ago, she lost everything in those crazy fires burning throughout that entire state. Here are two photos of her condo:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ita’s immediate family and her community sprang into action, but she lost everything — escaping only with her son’s baby book and her father’s ashes. And it’s an especially tragic story because Ita worked from home as a public speaking coach and, also, as a mom who homeschooled her nine-year-old son. They lost much more than furniture and clothing. They lost rituals, routines, and stability. Literally, everything about their old way of life is over. My heart crumbled when Ita shared that her son misses his stuffed animals.

So, I did what a friend does: I donated to Ita’s Go Fund Me Page. And you should, too.

But she’s not just looking for charity. Ita wants to get back to work. Want a consultant who can train your team on public speaking skills? Know someone in your industry who could benefit from accent reduction courses? Do you need a personal tune-up with your presentation skills?

This is America, and the way we help Ita’s family is by donating to her Go Fund Me Page and getting her back to work. That $10 you’re going to send to the Red Cross? That’s great, but send it to Ita where there’s no administrative overhead, and the funds can be applied to stuffed animals and toys over the holidays.

And, while you’re having Thanksgiving dinner and fighting with your dumb cousin about whether or not it would help to rake the forest floor, spare a moment for Ita’s family and think about what they’re enduring over the holiday season. As a good Irish Catholic, Ita will take your thoughts and prayers. However, she’d love to take you up on the opportunity to improve your public speaking skills so you can calmly and eloquently tell your dumb cousin how you feel about his political views at your next holiday gathering.

I promised you, earlier this week, that I’d only tell you about charities where I’ve donated. Well, I’ve given to Ita. Please consider doing the same, and let’s get Ita back to work.