I have always believed that little things can make a big difference. It is probably why one of my favorite movies is Rudy. Rudy Ruettiger, the underdog and main character, wants to play college football at Notre Dame, but he does not have the money or grades to make that happen. He overcomes MANY obstacles, attends Notre Dame, and lands a spot on the football team. How can we not all cheer for Rudy and others like him? Overcoming hard things with perseverance and dedication makes Rudy a hero for his team. His little efforts added up and changed his life and the lives of others around him.

Novi’s mission is to restore childhoods disrupted by war, and“novi” is a Latin adjective that means "new." War may destroy countless things, but Novi believes that with appropriate support, children in war-torn countries can build new and beautiful futures. It is easy for me to stand behind Novi and our mission. I am a small part of the whole as I work for Novi from Midland, TX. I am the only employee who lives in the United States. We all work together on our little team and try to make a big difference for families who are affected by the war in Ukraine and now Myanmar.  Positive changes are being made every day because of Novi’s work. 

The night my husband and I first heard Steve and Oddny speak at our friend Julie’s home, we learned what exciting things were happening even in Novi’s infancy. Julie said that night, “We are all in this together.” She could not have said truer words. It would be easy (and understandable) to ask how we can worry about children across the world who do not speak our language or that we have enough going on in our country, let alone in our local communities that need our attention and financial support. Those statements are valid, and honorable work is needed in ALL areas of our world, but I feel like helping in a small way can make a big difference to kids nearby and far away.

I love seeing pictures of Ukrainian children laughing while playing a silly game of Twister, smiling as they pass a beach ball to their friend, or having a blast eating a snack together. They can be “normal” kids even amid chaos. From our team, we hear stories about the big changes they see firsthand for families through the efforts of Novi’s Life Kits and the Helping Hands program. Little changes are making a big impact. These families are being taught emotional regulation tools in hopes they can help their children and themselves overcome the psychological impact of war for years to come. Legendary Coach John Wooden says, "It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen." I love this saying and find it a perfect ending to my blog: “If you do little things like they are big things, then God will do big things like they are little things.”

Elizabeth McWilliams (Liz) is the Director of Operations for Novi. She is experienced in non-profit public relations development and Corporate Program Management. She is passionate about the work she helps lead to help children in war-torn communities. She manages the Novi office in Midland, Texas, and holds a Master of Arts in Communication focused on Organizational Development.


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