Responding to the Whispers: Lisa Haisha
Lisa Haisha (who contributed our Top Ten Romantic Comedies list) makes her living in Hollywood as a life coach and spiritual teacher. But she’s also one who puts her teachings into actions, through her charitable foundation, Whispers From Children’s Hearts. While compiling the Top 10 RomCom list, we asked her more in-depth about her foundation, and what motivated her to take action on behalf of abused and neglected children around the world.
Whispers From Children’s Hearts was inspired out of a trip you took with your husband, Lee Aronsohn, to speak with the founder of a safehouse in Cambodia for abandoned and abused children. Was there a defining moment during that interviewthat solidified your need to do something?
What really inspired the foundation was the book I wrote after curating hundreds of the voices of children from fifteen countries, focusing on orphanages. The defining moment was landing in an orphanage in Mosul, Iraq where my father grew up. I was there finding my roots. The children wanted to know why I was there when we were going to bomb them. They wanted to know why nobody cared about them. I told them I cared and would memorialize their words. When the journey of traveling all over the world over a five-year period ended and the book was put together, I needed an investor to help get it published. Then I was planning a trip to Cambodia to interview Scott Neeson the founder of Cambodia Children’s Fund to get the word out about what he was doing. I felt his work was extraordinary in protecting hundreds of children through a safe house. I invited by boyfriend (now husband) to join. I wanted to share that part of my life with him to inspire him to get more involved with children’s charities. After that trip, he understood what my book “Whispers from Children’s Hearts” was about and it’s importance, and helped me complete it and I then knew that I could marry him. We got engaged shortly thereafter and decided that we wanted to do more so we started the Whispers from Children’s Hearts Foundation.
A lot of people are moved to do something, and then haven’t the faintest clue how to start. What was it like, and what does it take, to get something like WFCH up, running, and successful?
It takes determination and passion. Something like a foundation is created through the old cliche, “Blood, sweat, and tears.” It takes daily attention and hard work creating a web presence and website, getting testimonials, sharing stories that move people to want to take action, a skill in fund-raising, excellence in communication, public speaking, net-working, and an open heart. You start by being inspired by something that you feels needs attention…. Something that is personal… When you have a strong “Why” you are doing what you’re doing, the “How” you do it comes easily and effortlessly because the universe will conspire to help you when you’re on the right path. Magically the right people come into your life and your talents shine because they are empowered by your dream of making the world a better place. I’ve found anytime you live your life with “how can I serve?” your life works because our internal dialogue is halted by our passion.
As I understand it, the effort was largely focused outside of the United States, before you made a decision to include the U.S. Many people think (or would like to think) that conditions are better here for children than in poorer nations. What would you present to them to be more aware of children’s issues domestically?
I feel our world has shifted dramatically over the past decade. I chose to be of service more outside the US because trying to get things done here was too difficult… So much red tape compared to internationally. Now, I feel the US needs just as much help as other countries and I don’t want the government challenges to stop me from helping kids locally. We have more children in need than ever before. I’m now dedicating my time to serving domestically. However, I will continue doing one mission trip internationally each year.
The move to include the US was recently spotlighted by a donation to Kids in the Spotlight (KidsInTheSpotlight.org). How did this organization come to your attention, and what was it about KITS that aligned with the vision of WFCH?
KITS came to my attention after being invited to their fifth annual film festival. I was moved by the short films the foster kids made and so was my six year-old daughter Ava. I thought if an organization could effect both of us equally, it was powerful and needed to get more in the spotlight. What aligned KITS with our mission was the founder Tige Charity who I found to be a true-blue, salt-of-the-earth woman who was truly behind what she created. It was a vision that came to her one night, and she never let go regardless of the predictable challenges, especially financially. Since I come from a film background and my husband is a TV producer, we get how powerful film-making is. I saw the foster kids transform right in front of me. It was real. I knew at that moment, I needed to get involved. It also shows you that when you’re clear about what you want, the right people show up. Tige prayed that someone would come and understand what she was doing and write her a check, and the Universe brought us together.
How can people get involved with WFCH, financially or otherwise?
They can go to our website, www.whispersfromchildrenshearts.org and make a donation there or sign up to become a volunteer.