July 01, 2012 07:39 PM by Shayla Perry
For best-selling author and business consultant Steve Kaplan, the city of Chicago just got a lot bigger. Though he’s lived there all his life, it was his experience on ABC‘s Secret Millionaire that opened his eyes to what goes on beyond the boundaries of his Buffalo Grove estate, and showed him the power of one.
Taking the L train to the Southside of Chicago, infamous for its gang violence, Steve’s Secret Millionaire experience takes place only 40 miles from his luxurious home in Buffalo Grove, but as he says, it might as well be 40,000 miles.
Pretending to be filming a documentary on volunteering, Steve stumbles upon some teens from Kids Off The Block, a non-profit after-school program aimed at giving youth in the area a safe place to hang out.
To help, Steve is working with the group’s founder, constructing a memorial for the hundreds of children lost to gang violence in the city, and painting murals.
The almost 400 stones, each representing a young person who was killed, are overwhelming for Kaplan to see, and make him eager to do something more to stop the senseless acts of violence.
The next day, Steve travels to H.O.M.E., which provides housing assistance and opportunities for senior citizens. The organization holds special meaning for him, since he recently lost his mother to cancer, and he realizes that not everyone had the opportunity to receive such great care at the end of their lives, like his mother did.
Another charity that sparks Steve’s interest in BINDonated. Founded and run almost entirely by one man, the charity assists other needy organizations in the area by collecting items from office buildings and hotels.
It’s an idea that Steve thinks has the potential to go nationwide, so on the last day of his Secret Millionaire experience, he gives them $75,000, which is used to hire more help and purchase a better loading dock for the bins.
Next, Steve returns to H.O.M.E. with a check for $50,000. The group uses the money to purchase a van to help transport seniors.
And for Kids Off The Block…. In addition to a check for $100,000, Steve has a special surprise…plans for a brand new basketball court with lights and bleacher seating.
To learn more about the charities featured in tonight’s show, click here.
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Photo Credit: ABC