How Jeff Rotmeyer Is Creating Positive Change With His Charities Impact HK And Love 21
Over the past three years, Jeff Rotmeyer and his troupe of 5,000 volunteers have helped provide shelter for more than 200 of Hong Kong’s homeless people.
Jeff Rotmeyer, founder of Impact HK.
A charity founded in 2017, whose mission is to provide shelter and care for homeless individuals in Hong Kong.
In 2006, the Canadian-born teacher moved to Hong Kong with his wife to teach English at a local primary school, but in 2014, a friend introduced Rotmeyer to the homeless community in Sham Shui Po. A walk through Tung Chau Street Park to feed people in need proved a catalyst for change.
Impact HK, born three years later, now has thousands of volunteers, while Rotmeyer has also launched the foundation Love 21, dedicated to enriching the lives of those with Down’s syndrome. His latest project, 1ofaKIND, is a second-hand clothing store in Yau Ma Tei, which employs the homeless population while encouraging sustainability.
In 2018, Rotmeyer received The One award, a humanitarian prize founded by David Harilela in recognition of selfless compassion. Rotmeyer and his team have raised close to US$2 million since the organisation’s inception, a figure that has been spent directly on housing, employing and feeding homeless people.
What role does kindness play in your mission?
We have the hashtag #KindnessMatters and it may sound a bit cheesy, but the truth is, it really does; especially today when a lot of people judge people in pain or criticise those in need, which has no positive outcome. Showing kindness to people helps bring the best out of them. As a charity, that’s what we do; we empower people, we earn their trust through repeated kindness and then, through friendship, we see how we can help them find a path towards health and happiness.
What has been your most rewarding experience with Impact HK?
There have been many, despite the fact that we are such a new charity. We’ve helped families off the streets who are now reunited with their children. We’ve helped individuals overcome heartbreaking situations like drug addiction and we’ve supported people who have completely lost hope. Now, we get to spend our days laughing together and it’s amazing to see them have hope for the future.
How did Love 21 Foundation begin?
The Love 21 Foundation is a charity working with the Down’s syndrome and autistic community in sport and nutrition. Thirteen years ago, I was introduced to this community and it completely changed my life. I am extremely grateful for that and I would love to show more people how amazing this community is, as well as how much ability they have. Love 21 has roughly 30 sports and activity classes per week. We have a nutrition programme and offer workshops, family engagement and financial support, as well as counselling. It’s a very holistic charity.
What has been the foundation’s biggest success story?
Our biggest accomplishment to date was opening the new Love 21 centre in San Po Kong in Kowloon last year—all thanks to Segantii Capital Management. Our 70 families now have a place they can come to, participate in classes and feel welcomed as well as supported.
Why should people volunteer with Impact HK?
Impact HK’s kindness walks are the best volunteering activity you can do in Hong Kong because on a kindness walk, you are literally walking the streets looking for individuals to care for and help. The areas include Sham Shui Po, Ho Man Tin, Happy Valley and Fortress Hill. When you leave our volunteering activity and the next day you walk on those same streets, you will still be thinking about looking for individuals in need.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Thanks to our incredible volunteers, donors and supporters, Impact HK is still on the move. Our goal is to keep learning, adapting and improving our support and programmes for the homeless. We aim to expand our education and drug rehabilitation programmes and create as many jobs as we can to provide meaningful employment for those in need.
See also: 5 Ways To Give Back In Hong Kong
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