My 23rd Birthday Wish: To Change Lives

My 23rd Birthday Wish: To Change Lives

On December 23rd, I will be turning 23 years old. THE BIG 2-3!

With each and every passing holiday season I am reminded of all of the undeserved blessings that I have received in my short life…

Good health, quality education, loving parents, friends and family, a roof over my head and access to endless opportunities in so many ways.

For my 23rd birthday, I don’t want gifts or presents.

I want to help out those who unfortunately haven’t been as blessed as you and me.

I want to make the world at least a little bit better of a place.

I want to show others that you can make a difference, regardless of your pedestal, platform, name or title.

I want to brighten the future of children hungry for an education, their children, and many generations to come.

Education is the key to a future for many, especially a young child, which is why I have launched a fundraiser with Pencils of Promise (PoP) to help fund a school for needy children in Ghana.

I have been following along with the PoP organization and their founder/CEO Adam Braun since I read his best-selling book The Power of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Inspire Extraordinary Change.

Adam founded PoP after he asked a young begging boy on the streets of India what he would want if he could have anything in the world… The boy’s answer?

“A pencil.”

Since Adam left his 6-figure corporate job to expand PoP, they have built over 250 schools for children in Ghana, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Laos. Reading Adam’s inspirational journey and upbringing which was so similar to my own, understanding how and why he started PoP and seeing the huge network of lives they are affecting, I knew I had to get involved in some way.


When I read the following paragraph from Adam’s book, the words deeply resonated with me and it became crystal clear to me that I had a duty to serve those who hadn’t been fortunate enough to win the ‘lottery of life’ as I had:

“I was born into the lottery of life with a winning ticket—a loving family, great education: good health. But what had I done to deserve any of it? Why was I born into those blessings when so many others were born into suffering? Why was I born into a booming city when others are born into villages without electricity or water in war-torn nations? I was reluctant to admit it, but I felt that I owed something to those who were less fortunate, because in my mind I had never done anything to can the good fortune I enjoyed.”

Recognizing the fact that I have essentially won the “lottery of life” for the above reasons, I have an obligation to the universe to return the favor and give back.

You or I could have just as easily been one of the unlucky ones, but the cards were dealt in our favor.

This holiday season, I’d like to show others my age that we are not too young to make a truly powerful impact in the lives of others.

The impact that education has on a child’s life and future is truly priceless. Your donation and support of this campaign and organization will not only directly impact the lives of these children, but their children and their children’s children for many years to come.

Thank you so much for helping me make my 23rd birthday the best one yet, but more importantly, for brightening the future for so many deserving children desperate to receive an education.



Thanks so much and happy holidays.

Much Love.

Matt Kohn