November 12, 2014 @ 3:30 PM
Concern for the well-being of others doesn't start and end with the holidays, of course. For the “Shining Stars” story in the December issue of InStyle, we caught up with six famous faces who are shedding light on the spirit of giving throughout the year.
Pharrell Williams may be a Renaissance man of sorts—musician, artist, environmentalist, clothing designer, and more—but the star is also giving his time and energy to From One Hand to Another, a not-for-profit organization that develops learning programs for underserved 7- to 20-year-olds.
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"Ironically, it wasn't until I traveled abroad that I learned how small the world actually is. In meeting people from different countries, different cultures, and different religious beliefs, I saw that the most common point of connection is education," Williams tells Katherine Schwarzenegger in InStyle’s December issue. "In regions where things are failing and falling apart, education is always what's lacking."
"I started From One Hand to Another hoping to make tutoring and mentoring accessible to kids in low-income neighborhoods. It's so obvious that there's an issue with the education system in our country—children fall behind, and society continues to overlook this," he says. "When we get reports about students in our programs, we see that their grades are improving, that some mentor and some influence of our have made a difference. We're making change, decimal by decimal. It's kind of like trying to fill the ocean one spoonful of water at a time. It will take you a while to get it done, but as long as you keep spooning away, you're going to have an impact."
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To donate, purchase an "I Am Other" tote ($25; pharrell.fanfire.com). Visit fohta.org and follow @i_am_other on Twitter for more information. Plus watch Pharrell Williams's video above to learn more about how he got involved in the cause, and pick up the December issue of InStyle for the full Shining Stars feature, on newsstands and available for digital download Nov. 14.
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[MUSIC] Why did you decide to start your charity From One Hand To Another? I realized that with all of the great experiences that I've had. And all the people I've encountered, I feel like people from the area that I grew up in, did not have the same opportunities, as it seemed to me. It would always boil down to like, you know, lack of education. So I felt like if we could help people in terms. like tutoring, and mentoring. And also like,. Encouragement. I felt like that would make a change and a difference that like people could see. And hopefully it would become viral. You know, become something that people would wanna be a part of. Was there a specific incident from your childhood or just growing up that made you wanna. want and start doing this? I think it was only until I went abroad and like I learned how big the world really is and how small it really is. Meeting people from different cultures and different religions and different ways of thinking, you just start to realize like the things that make the most sense. The most common point is. Connectivity and education. Any areas that are like falling apart, those two things are the two biggest things that lack, and I just wanted to try and do something different. In learning about our country's education system and doing all the research for this organization that you have started, what was the most surprising thing that you [MUSIC] ..You gotta take a different approach. Has there been a specific incident or a special memory that you've had that's shown you how great of an impact this organization has had on children? We get reports all the time of like children and their grades improving, and while it seems like something small, it's just that like those grades are actually representative. Some mentor or som, you know, some influence of ours or at least our intention, is present, has made a difference. Mm. Decimal by decimal. Volunteering time is the biggest thing. Of course, donations for any organization will always help. Mm-hm. But, it's mostly just the mentoring and the time, to me, in my opinion. Mm-hm. Cuz I feel like there's nothing that can. Outdo, like the energy of someone positive. Yeah. Someone with great intentions. And, someone who knows what they're talking about. Yeah. That's the only way we can like get to a higher level, a higher frequency. Mm-hm. Like, we should all seek, essentially. [MUSIC]