You know that Spanish bullfighting chant…”Olé, olé olé oléee. Olé. Olé!” Well, when I think of my friend Ali, I just want to chant, “Ali, ali ali aliii. Ali. Ali!” Because Ali brings the greatest energy into every room. He’s a remarkably funny and engaging man with the biggest heart.
Wait, you may already know Ali, as part of the Rock Star Duo The Hot TomAlis. Ring a bell? No? Maybe…? Well, the past couple Novembers…I mean, Movembers, Ali teams up with his partner in crime, Tom Adams, to raise money to fight prostate cancer. The Hot TomAlis don their stashes and put on a hell of a campaign that has raised over $53,000 dollars. Check out last year’s amazing music video.
Ali is on a journey to use his business acumen and his time to bring attention to causes and help people in need. He started Just a Little Push in 2013. His mission:
“FIND amazing people who need a little help. INSPIRE everyone to make a difference. We believe that everyone has a good heart and wants to make a difference; and, we know sometimes people need just a little push to get started making a difference in the world. LAUGH and have fun. We believe that making a positive impact on the lives of others can be fun. Giving and giving back doesn’t have to be stuffy or stodgy. Life is short, and we’re going to have fun while we make the world a better place!” Ali Azarvan
This May, Ali is dedicating himself to what he calls May Days: One Month to Make a Difference!! He’s volunteering with 25 different non-profits in 30 days and blogging about it to raise awareness. So far this month he’s volunteered and blogged about Domestic Violence Solutions, DAWG, (Dog Adoption and Welfare Group), Habitat for Humanity, Casa of Santa Barbara County, Transition House, The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara, The Alzheimer’s Association, The Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation & Dig 4 Kids, Santa Barbara Animal Rescue and The Santa Barbara Food Bank.
He’s also graciously made time to give us a little glimpse of the inspiration for and from May Days.
TAM: So Ali, rumor has it you quit your job to do May Days. What inspired this life change?
ALI: Ha! Honestly, there were a few things that inspired this major transition in my life. The first was the success of my Movember campaign – as you know, I kind of went nuts and let the campaign totally consume me. I spent all of my waking moments figuring out how to get attention and raise as much money as I could to fight prostate and testicular cancer. It was a success – we finished in the top 10 of the nation in dollars raised out of almost 30,000 teams! I realized that if I can have fun and raise money for a worthwhile cause, my focus and efforts would be maximized. I was blessed to have the greatest role model growing up – my father. The tipping point for me was the birth of my son. I looked at him one day and thought, “Wow, I’m definitely not on the path to becoming a similar role model for him. I need to make a change now.”
TAM: It’s May 16 and you’ve already given your time to twelve amazing organizations this month. What’s the main thing that you’re getting from all of your giving?
ALI: I’m getting more than I would have ever imagined out of this month. I’m getting re-energized! For me, the coolest thing is that I’m getting a chance to meet some amazing people that I probably would not have been exposed to otherwise. Their energy is contagious and passion is inspiring. Everyone has been so supportive of this project, and they’ve allowed me to get a view of their non-profits from every angle.
TAM: Ali, I’m soo proud of you for everything that you are, for what you stand for and for who you’re choosing to be. Is there someone in particular that you want to give a shout out to today to let them know you’re proud of them?
ALI: This may seem a little self-serving, but I’d love to give a shout out to my wife, Nicole. She’s been so supportive of this project and the huge investment of time that it has required. She’s a nurse, still works every day and comes home to our maniac teething baby with more energy than I can even comprehend. This project has made it difficult for me to help as much as I should but she has never once complained!
“Ali, ali ali aliii. Ali. Ali!!”, I’m soo proud of you!
I’ll be heading up to Santa Barbara later this month to join Ali for a Make A Wish: Miles-a-Thon. We’ll be reaching out to friends and family and friends of friends and their families asking them to donate frequent flyer miles. Most wishes involve travel, and these miles will help wish kids take flight. Details to follow!
Are you proud of someone? Know someone you would like to feature on this blog. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org