Category Archives: Giving Back Q + A Series

True beauty that shines from within – Lu Parker

Lu-Parker-and-Monkey

Lu Parker, on set with her rescue dog, Monkey.

Not only is Lu Parker a stunning, natural beauty, she is a multi-faceted talent. She is a journalist, author, former Miss USA, animal advocate and a former teacher. As an Emmy and Genesis Award winning journalist, you can find her anchoring and reporting the news in Los Angeles, California on KTLA. Lu has won two Emmys for her work in the television industry. She has also been honored with two Genesis Awards from the Humane Society United States. She was recognized for her outstanding reporting and creative portrayals of animal protection issues including investigations into Puppy Mills, Elephant Abuse, and Beagle Lab Testing.

In her free time, Lu is an advocate for homeless animals. In 2010, she created Lu Parker Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping homeless animals, and at risk teenagers. We are so honored to include Lu in our “Giving Back Q + A Series.” She is a gorgeous example of a woman radiating beauty from the inside out.

1) Who was your role model and inspiration as a child? Why?

Honestly, I never remember having a role model as a child besides my amazing parents, but looking back now, I was always a little obsessed with President Abraham Lincoln. Chances are I didn’t know why at the time, but likely his words and actions moved and inspired me as a young Southern girl growing up in South Carolina.  Today I admire people like Jane Goodall and anyone who steps out of their comfort zone to do good work for others.

2) Why did you create Lu Parker Project?

I started volunteering at the South L.A. shelter in 2009 and realized a lot needed to be done. I saw first-hand that shelters needed serious help. At first, I was helping to clean cages, and walk the dogs, but then I took it to the next step creating Lu Parker Project.

As a former high school teacher, I wanted to include youth so we could help to educate them about being humane to all creatures. Our first project was Project Paint. We remodeled the lobby at the South Los Angeles shelter. Volunteers painted and at-risk youth created murals for the walls. We also photograph dogs and cats and share their photos and information on social media. Project Picture has been a huge success!  We also partnered with Found Animals creating a school art project that offered students the opportunity to create art and tell a story why they believe all animals are important.  I cried at that event, too.  (Get me a tissue!)

Lu_Parker

3) Of all of the volunteering efforts that you have organized, can you share one experience that is most memorable and lights up your heart?

The time we spent redesigning and repainting the lobby of the South Los Angeles Shelter stands out for me.  To watch dozens of Lu Parker Project volunteers come together and spend days of their own time painting, creating, mopping, and more made me realize people do want to help.  The morning of the Lobby Grand Opening was one of the highlights of my life.  I was so proud of each and every one who had been a part of the process.  I truly believe the renovation brought light and encouragement to the shelter employees and volunteers, as well as, those visiting the shelter.  For me, I would get goose bumps every time I walked in the door!  Our Project Picture also brings me to tears when I see the homeless dogs and cats being photographed by our volunteers.  They know we are tying to help. 

4) You are so generous with your time and actions. How do you balance this with self-care and time for yourself?

Hey, life is busy.  We all have commitments, including family, friends and work.  It’s not always so easy to figure out, but I believe if you are doing something you are passionate about, nothing feels like work.  If you find a purpose, life makes it easier for you.  Another way I balance life is by making lists.  It keeps you organized.  My Mom taught me that trick.  Currently, I am learning to meditate.  The practice slows everything down, and makes you realize what’s important, and helps you to feel grateful.

5) Do you have any advice to parents as to how to encourage their children to volunteer and think of others?

Well, I am not a parent so that may seem weird for me to give parental advice, but I would like to suggest to parents or anyone who is caring for a child to show generosity through your actions.  As you know, your children watch and often mimic what you do.  My parents didn’t necessarily volunteer when I was young, but they did give back like at Christmas we would take presents or a Christmas tree to low income families.  They also allowed me to care for injured animals in the neighborhood.  They never denied me to chance to love and care for the less-fortunate.  That’s where I learned generosity.  Actions speak louder than words.

To learn more about Lu, please visit http://www.luparker.com/index

To learn how to volunteer and get involved with her amazing projects, visit http://www.luparkerproject.org

 

Princely Advice from Alexi Lubomirski

Alexi LubomirskiAlexi Lubomirski is currently one of the most sought-after, accomplished fashion photographers on the planet. He has photographed countless actors, actresses, celebrities, and models for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Allure, GQ, and numerous others magazines. As incredibly impressive as his career is, what stirs an even deeper sense of admiration is his perpetual generosity and kindness toward others, as well as what an inspiring and passionate father and husband that he is.

Alexi recently published a delightful children’s book, titled  ‎Notes for a Young Prince. It is filled with heart-warming notes to his son, reminding him to be Chivalrous, Loving and Kind, to name only a few. It is artistic and inspirational. This is a must have for every young boy, and Alexi is donating 100% of profits from his book to CONCERN Worldwide. We are thrilled to include Alexi in our “Giving Back” Q+A Series, to learn more about what inspires such generosity, his extraordinary life and ways that we can teach our children to be royal in their actions and words.

“You do not need money, palaces, land or treasures to define you as a prince. Be a prince in your own heart and you will always be RICH.” ~ Notes for a Young Prince

Notes For A Young Prince 1) In your book, ‎Notes for a Young Prince, you offer exquisite advice to young boys, encouraging them to be chivalrous, loving and generous. It is such a beautiful book and it shows what a passionate father you are. What inspired you to a) write it and b) share it as a published work?

There were really 2 profound moments that led to the writing of the book.  Firstly, I wanted to do something momentous for my eldest son’s (Sole Luka) first birthday.  I wanted to give him a gift that would last forever, rather than another teddy bear or engraved cup.  Being a father for the first time also made me understand my own father and his desire for me to understand my history and to be proud of it whilst carrying it for the next generation.  I also wanted to adapt what my father had taught me and make it more about looking forward with hope and spirituality rather than having a focus on what we may have had a few generations before.

 Secondly, my stepfather, who had raised me since I was one, was suddenly given 3 weeks to live.  He had been the biggest blessing in my life, being an incredible father figure and also giving me great stability and grounding.  Those last 3 weeks taught me so much about how I wanted to live my life and what was truly important.  He explained to me that the knowledge of his impending death made him realize with great clarity, what actually mattered in his life.  He felt so blessed that he had spent as much time with his children as possible, and had been able to share in love and laughter throughout his life, as well as the importance of being a “good” person. I immediately realized the gravity of this lesson and wanted to write something for my son in case anything happened to me.

Once I started writing it, it came out in 3 very intense days, as if I had flipped the lid off something and they all streamed out.  Things that I had learnt along the way came out, be it vocabulary lessons from my uncle, romance lessons from my mother, chivalry lessons from my father or spiritual lessons from my wife. They all came out at once and the final edit is pretty much the order that it came out of my head!

I asked an illustrator friend, Carlos Aponte, if he would do a few drawings for my son’s book and after he read the first 5 pages, he rang me and said, “Alexi, you have to publish this…. This needs to be read by young men.”

 A few years later and after a lot of persuading from Carlos and my wife, Giada, I went through with it!  Carlos ended up doing the “jewel like” illustrations on each page of the final draft.

2) You give all profits from your book to CONCERN Worldwide. Why did you choose this organization to benefit from your book?

Over the last few years I started to consolidate my charity donations to six main charities, but of all of them, CONCERN was the one that was everywhere, all the time. They implement emergency response programs, saving countless 
lives, 
and 
provide 
opportunities 
for 
a 
better 
standard of living for millions of people; as well as working constantly in the 
countries 
ranked 
in 
the 
bottom 
40 
of 
the 
United 
Nations’ 
Human Development 
Report. They were also the first charity that I ever gave to, so it felt right to attach it to the book. 3‎) Being one of the most sought after photographers in the world, you travel quite a bit for your work. ‎How do you maintain a healthy balance of work/family/self while you travel?

It is a constant challenge but with great pay back! Luckily my agent is very understanding of my desire for balance in my life. By working with her closely, I try to make sure that I can look back at the end of every month and see that I have spent as much time with family as possible at the same time as maintaining a career. Really making the most of every moment with my family is key. The children will grow up so quickly and life has a tendency to move so fast, so it is important to slow down and enjoy each moment.

4) What is your favorite page and morsel of advice from your book, Notes of a Young Prince?‎ Why?

Each note holds importance for me as they were written as a love note to my son, so I would not be able to pick one. The poem at the front of the book, however, I hold dear as it is my personal message to my boys.

5) Any advice to the fathers of the world, new and otherwise, as to how to encourage their children to volunteer, give back and think of others?‎

 Very simple! “Lead by example”.

Alexi_SoleLuka_Leone

HSH Prince Alexi Lubomirski was born to a Peruvian/English mother and a Polish/French father. He grew up between Botswana, Oxford, and London. At the age of eleven, he was informed of his true ancestral heritage and aristocratic bloodline.

Having not grown up in royal surroundings with all the trappings, he was the first of his family in 500 years to have the title but with none of the material evidence.

Thanks to his displaced upbringing and after much trial and error, he gradually succeeded in marrying his history with his present, managing to fulfill his role as the bearer of this title and at the same time adapt the meaning in his modern day world.

Now, with two sons of his own, he lives a modern day life in New York, a city in the “New World”. His duty being to pass down this title to his sons; and, at the same time, adapt it so that it evolves with the times rather than become irrelevant and therefore extinct. Rather than focus on the past and what his family once had, he teaches his sons to forge ahead in a more spiritually aware manner and focus on what each of them believes the essence of their heritage means.

In his book, the word, “Prince”, is used on one hand because of the family’s title and on the other because the word illustrates the “ideal” of a man that we should all strive to be.

Apart from being primarily a husband and a father, Alexi Lubomirski is a world-renowned fashion photographer.

www.alexilubomirski.com