In 2011 Carmen was that smudge. Pretty sure we've all been there - that place where life has just kicked the living crap out of you. Well, Carmen's kicking came in the form of health problems, a lot of loneliness (raising kiddos on an island very far from family), and then the judo chop - a diagnosis that the next baby to join the family wasn't, actually, going to join the family during this lifetime.
So how did Carmen un-smudge? A neighbor - one that she didn't know very well - cooked up some hope for the future. Literally. As Carmen said goodbye to her wee baby girl, this neighbor came to her house, watched the older kiddos and she made the family chicken soup. And Carmen walked in the door, a smudge on the floor.
And it smelled like home. And it felt like family.
And it was exactly what she needed to rebuild her hope in the world. Because right then Carmen had lost a beautiful, sweet, precious piece of her family, and she needed a hand out to pick her up and show her that there was hope for the future. And that is when she realized that, in times of smudge, we all need a hand of hope.
Fast Forward to Ebola.
During the 2014 Ebola outbreak, Carmen got kind of fearbola-ish (Seriously. She's a wee bit obsessive) and decided she desperately needed to DO something to help. After listening to a story on the Diane Rehm Show (Love you Diane!), she decided to contact the organization that had asked for volunteers on the show. She emailed them and offered her services.
They only wanted medical volunteers that could travel to Africa. Yep. Not her. With a couple of kids to tie her down (love you kiddos!) and responsibilities she couldn't throw over, that wasn't going to happen. So she asked them what she could do from home.
Well Obvi! They asked for money.
Well yeah, ok, so we all donate money to charity. She wanted to DO something instead of feel helpless about the news. So she said she'd start a volunteer program FOR them, for free, just to help other people get involved.
Crickets. They said they really just wanted money.
The Birth of Aina
Feeling that this was ridiculous, she went on a two-month Google binge to figure out how she could help with Ebola.
Nothin. Not a darn thing.
So, being the Type A person that Carmen truly is, she decided to go for it and start her own company (we've all been there, right? Right??). Kristin was the first person that Carmen told, and being the amazing person that Kristin is, she said she'd help out in any way. And that's when Aina was born.
We Mamas Aina are 100% about helping you. Helping you, our customers, change the world. Working with amazing, highly screened nonprofits to develop with them ways that you can change the world. Ways that you can change the world with your own two hands, from home, without traveling to Africa, L.A., or Afghanistan.
Kristin holds the whole ship together as our COO - which stands for Carmen is Often Outlandish. Basically, Kristin does most of the screening of our nonprofits, helps to fine-tune and develop each one of the projects in our list, and runs our team-building (she's a coach, haven't you heard?).
Carmen takes care of the business end of things, comes up with ALL of the crazy ideas, and manages the campaigns for our featured organizations. As she currently lives in Rome, Italy, this means that Aina is a 24-hr operation, so call or email us whenever you want to chat! Chatting is our favorite ;).