In West Michigan, honor isn’t derived from what one owns but from what he gives. The DeVos have so far earned that honor throughout Michigan through their foundations that seek to uplift the communities around them and beyond. What is more is that the Amway DeVos family doesn’t take pride in giving thus hardly will there be press releases of how much they give out to charity. Giving, as it seems with the DeVos, runs in the family. The family runs five independent charitable foundations, comprising of the parents and each child’s foundations. Leading the pack is Richard “Dick” DeVos, the first born of the billionaire, Rich DeVos.
In his Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation that he established with his wife, Dick welcomes visitors with a message that it is in response to the financial gift that he and his family has been blessed with that they have decided to give back to the society. Dick also insists that he is just following his father’s footsteps. Through this two decades old foundation, Dick considers himself and his family just as faithful stewards.
In his life, Dick has impacted a lot of lives through his philanthropic and charitable works. Through the foundation, he started the Education Freedom Fund that awards sponsorships to the bright but needy children in the entire Michigan. This scholarship covers both those that wish to further their education both at the high school and college level.
Dick and Betsy also started the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a high school with an aviation orientation. Through the school readies children with an interest in aviation for a career in the same by nurturing their skill and introducing them to the industry basics. This is a passion close to his heart given that he is a qualified jet aircraft and helicopter pilot. Through this program, he has sponsored over 4,000 children from all over Michigan.
Dick’s interests in the state are not, however, inclined to serve just the educational sector. It is all around and just to the benefit of the state, for instance, he is regularly sponsoring the annual art festival in West Michigan. He has also led several other developmental projects including renovating a $75 million downtown arena as well as the construction of a $130 million heart hospital in to serve West Michigan Residents.
Brian Mulligan is an American Baritone Opera singer who started his career in high school musicals. He auditioned at age 17 as he was doing various tenor roles like Motel Kamazoil in Fiddler on the Roof by Bock and Bernstein’s West Side Story where he played Tony. He grew up in Endicott in South Central New York State with a family that emigrated from the Irish County of Leitrin. Brian Mulligan went to Yale University for his studies and later joined the Juilliard School.
Brian got interested with opera after his high school teacher Gloria Richardson motivated him to get vocal training. She introduced him to Todd Geer who at the time worked with Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton in New York. Todd also happened to be a San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow. He introduced him to the massive world of opera by giving him many videotapes and CD’s of opera. After watching them, Brian Mulligan was hooked and became more interested in learning the languages and history that appealed to him intellectually. With a series of practices, Brian gained confidence in his opera performances and was soon ready to hit the ground running.
Brian Mulligan made his debut in Die Frau ohne Scatten at the Metropolitan Opera in December 2003 while he was still a student at the prestigious Juilliard School. From there, he has performed at a number of important opera houses across the world that includes the San Francisco Opera where he debuted as Marcello in La Boheme. While performing at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Brian debuted in Lucia di Lammermoor as Enrico, Opernhaus Zurich in Pique Dame debuting as Yeletsky and Los Angeles Opera where he debuted in Die Vogel as Parametheus. Apart from the above opera houses, he has also been featured in New York City Opera, Oper Frankfurt, and Houston Grand Opera.
Brian Mulligan has won many accolades in his career. In 2008, the Irish American Magazine listed him as one of the Finest in Dance, Music and Acting. He was ranked as the Top 100 Irish Americans in Music, Dance and Acting. It is important to point out that he has also received critical acclaim in his performance in Nixon in China as Richard Nixon, which he performed with the San Francisco Opera. In addition, Brian Mulligan received positive reviews from critics in his role as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, which was produced by David Alden at the Canadian Opera Company.
If a person thinks about what it must be like to live in a country while constantly being oppressed by one’s own government, it would become easier to understand what some people have to go through when they are not capable of leading their own lives or even of making their own decisions, largely because someone else has already made those decisions for them. People that live under this type of rule have very little say in anything that they do. Furthermore, when those decisions are made by someone else they are expected to be carried out. If they are not followed to the letter, individuals run the risk of being thrown out of the country, thrown in jail or even killed. Yeonmi Park on youtube knows exactly what it is like to live in that type of environment. In fact, she has dedicated her entire life to letting other people know about the atrocities that went on in her native country of North Korea, all in hopes that she can prevent it from happening to someone else.
When Yeonmi Park was a small child, she was living in North Korea with her family. Even though they were under extremely harsh rule from the North Korean government, things were relatively stable until her father became ill. As a result of his illness, he lost his job. This forced the entire family into poverty and eventually, her father made the agonizing decision to steal just enough so that he could feed his family. Unfortunately, the Korean government found out about it and he was thrown into jail, only to be released later because of his progressing illness. It was then that Park’s father realized that the family’s only hope for survival was to get out of the country.
Make no mistake about it, getting out of North Korea was anything but easy. The entire family ended up being fragmented. Park’s father died and she and her mother were separated from her sister for a very long time. Eventually, the family did reunite and they made it to America. This is where Park was truly allowed to flourish. She has dedicated her entire life to teaching other individuals what it is like to grow up in a place where there are very few, if any options. She gives public lectures, mostly to universities, about her experiences growing up in North Korea, as well as what it was like to escape from there and come to a new country where she was truly in charge of her future.
Park has also written a book about her experiences. She has made these sacrifices in order to accomplish her goals so that she could teach other people about the dangers of oppression. She wants to get the point across that just because she got out of North Korea, that does not mean that the atrocities that happen there are no longer occurring. They are still happening to other people each and every day. She fully understands that it is only when people are able to comprehend what is going on and then take a stand against it will there be any change. As a result, she has dedicated her life to helping other people who find themselves in a situation where they have no options for a good future ahead of them.