For AB Sean Wilson, devoting time, money and personal supportiveness to help impoverished kids is as much a part of life as going to sea.
One of his bigger outreach projects took place early this year, when Wilson and other volunteers teamed up to donate school supplies and sporting goods for 2,000 kids in the Philippines. They also fed 150 homeless children on Christmas.
“I’m planning on doing it regularly,” said Wilson, who has been involved in domestic and overseas charity work for many years. “A little money goes a long way.”
Now in his tenth year as a Seafarer, Wilson (a graduate of the Paul Hall Center’s apprentice program) is understated about his philanthropy. Inspired during voyages to the Philippines, he has set up a non-profit organization aimed at assisting people in need (primarily there, though not exclusively).
He’s also still working cooperatively with his mother, Dr. Rosamaria Machado, whose faith-based mission work takes place around the world.
If it takes a bit of prodding to get Wilson to open up about his volunteerism, it’s not necessarily easy to slow the passionate pronouncements of Machado. She noted that there is much more significance to their outreach than just the food or supplies themselves.
“We want to protect kids from predators and help youth excel,” she said. “My intention is to show them other options than becoming prostitutes, for example, or otherwise entering the world of human trafficking. All of those things are happening in a world with such extreme financial difficulties. Someone offers them a carrot, per se, and they become entrapped.”
She added that drug addiction and substance abuse are “tragic” problems across the globe, and that when young people fall into that trap, “they become property and not people. We help them to know there’s another way. We give them safety tips and teach them that they have their own personal power – things that we teach our own kids. Most of all, our goal is to educate.”
Moreover, when asked where religion fits into these efforts, she replied, “We aren’t there to promote a religion; we promote faith. We aren’t trying to push our beliefs on anyone, and parents are always present when the subject is discussed.
“It’s an interfaith ministry and it’s really more of an outreach to the community,” she added. “We promote it this way: God has a plan for everyone, and you are part of that plan. Every player in the orchestra plays their part; if one part of that music doesn’t play, the conductor knows. You as children or adults are part of that great music.”
Wilson noted that although the work is vital and rewarding, it also can be frustrating.
“As you start, you feel like you’re going to change the world and make a big difference,” he said. “After you help the kids, you realize how much you have that they don’t, and you also realize how many more of them you can’t help. No matter what you do, it’s never enough – but I keep trying.”
Want to Donate?
Make checks payable to Xcel Ministries Incorporated and mail them PO Box 773, Rainier, WA 98576. Donations are tax-deductible, and efforts are being made to arrange for online
contributions. For additional information, email [email protected]
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