Paul and Tanya Sajdak
November's Advocates In Action!
Paul and Tanya Sajdak (pronounced shy-dock) live in Houghton, which is in Upper Michigan, along with their two children, Skylar, 7, and Samuel, 3. Houghton has a population of about 7600 and is the largest city in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Being so far north (I think they can see Canada from their backyard) and with a seemingly small population to work with, the Sajdaks are using their MPACT Project platform to greatly affect the next generation of world-changers!
What motivates you to be an MPACT Advocate?
A desire to help people everywhere! When we were first married, Paul and I went on a mission trip to Haiti. We got to see first-hand how the people lived there: what they ate, the clothes they wore, where they went to school and church. Many of us even got to spend time in the local villagers’ homes and share a meal with them. What we learned was that those Moms and Dads wanted exactly what we want for our families and children: a hope and a future.
I will be forever changed the day several of us visited an orphanage in Haiti. As we said our goodbyes to the children, I felt my heart rip inside. Overwhelmed with how many children there were and how sad they looked when we were ready to leave without them, I thought, “how could we make any bit of difference to the people here?” After speaking to the principal at the school we were working at, she helped me adjust my thinking. She said, “You have to only look at one person at a time and ask, ‘Who can I serve today?’ Otherwise it can be so overwhelming you want to give up.”
That trip to Haiti was so pivotal in stretching our hearts and minds because it also gave us more compassion, a want and a desire to serve others everywhere.
What captured your attention about MPACT Project and how does it empower you?
The simple fact that MPACT goes to areas around the globe and then uses the Sagashi method for identifying and then solving problems speaks volumes! It not only solves problems for the present but also for the future by creating long-term change and sustainability (i.e., teaching someone to fish versus giving someone a fish). The self-confidence and dignity felt by the people doing the work themselves instead of someone else doing it for them is simple, yet profound!
MPACT Project empowers us to be a voice for others: those that are in need and those that are serving those in need. It truly exemplifies the “golden rule,” do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.
MPACT Project is so amazing to us because they show actual numbers in the villages they are currently working in and how we are making a difference daily. It’s encouraging to see the needs in a village go down because Advocates are out there sharing the MPACT story.
MPACT Project allows us to do good for others, but at the same time do good for our own families. Even when our own finances feel stretched, we can still be a voice for others. MPACT allows everyone to get involved no matter what is or isn’t in your wallet.
What do you invest your time in?
Paul and I truly feel called to serve others. About 8 years ago we became facilitators for an educational program that helps people be the best they can be. We began sharing it with others and now we are currently facilitating an adult and student edition in our daughter’s school called the Discovery Center. We have also been given an opportunity to teach additional elective classes.
This past year we shared the Forbes article about MPACT Project with Susan Nielsen, the Discovery Center’s overseer and coordinator. She was super excited about what MPACT was doing and asked if we would like to teach an MPACT and Entrepreneurship class at the Discovery Center. We truly feel this is just the beginning of how we can make a huge impact. The children in our classes are super excited about what they can do to help solve issues like poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. In addition, they are learning how businesses give back to causes like MPACT Project.
We recently had a speaker in from a local organization called 31 Backpacks. They pack over 200 lunches for school age children to take home over the weekend so they have food to eat. My class now wants to have a Talent show to raise money for MPACT Project (currently working in Guatemala) and 31 Backpacks to help children locally!
Wow! A classroom of students learned from MPACT Advocates that there’s a need in their own town and in a country far from them, and are taking action to raise money to make a difference in both! Way to go Discovery Center students, and Paul and Tanya for sharing your story!
You can follow these students’ example and make your own impact by clicking below!