No matter how much money you have in your bank account, you can always make a difference and have a positive impact on someone’s life. While it helps to have the financial means to bring awareness to a cause, simply having a giving heart is sometimes more than enough.
When a man from California founded an organization to help others fulfill their dreams, he came across a girl whose story touched him. She had a difficult childhood, more difficult than most, but she still got up every day with a smile on her face ready to work hard. Her motivation inspired him to do something for her that neither of them would ever forget…
Featured photo credit: www.ethiopiansallover.com
Moving To The United States
Sionna Brenn came to the U.S. from Ethiopia at 9-years-old, but the move has not been without tremendous difficulties. Upon being separated from her parents, Brenn grew up in foster care, where she was abused by her foster family.
An Abusive Family
“In the deepest shadows, it was very abusive…Families were very harsh but I’ve overcome it through His [God’s] power,” Brenn said. When the abuse became too much for her to handle, she had to make the difficult decision to leave her adoptive parents. But this meant her future was uncertain…
Technically Considered Homeless
After being removed from the abusive home, Brenn found a distant cousin she had never met in Houston, Texas, and eventually moved there. Since she had no legal guardian at the time, she was considered homeless by the state.
Despite her misfortune, through her faith in God paired with hard work, Brenn received excellent grades in high school and was even granted a scholarship to the University of Texas at San Antonio. But as a senior at Willowridge High School in Texas, Brenn still needed to support herself so she could pay the bills and save for college…
So Brenn took a job working 35 hours a week at her local Starbucks. She used the money she earned by paying for her living expenses, all while trying to save some money for when she goes to college next year.
The Diagnosis Changed Everything
But without any financial support from her family, this can be pretty tough. Somehow Brenn’s story got around to a man named Charlie Jabaley, who has had his own hurdles to overcome. Formally a top music industry insider, Jabaley learned he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. From that moment, his priorities changed…
Taking Control Of His Life
For the first time in his life, Jabaley put his mental and physical health above everything else. He managed to lose 130 pounds and was on his way to becoming the healthiest and most fit he’s ever been in his life. After taking the time to take care of himself, Jabaley was able to give back to others.
The Dream Machine
He founded a project called the “Dream Machine,” focused on looking for people who have dreams and helping them achieve them. He searches for people who are actively taking steps towards bettering their lives and those who are passionate and determined to change. It basically works like this…
Jabaley and his friend, Scotty Cams, ride their bikes across the country from Los Angeles to New York City and they stop en-route to do good deeds for those in need. People submit their stories through the social media platform, Vero, and then the men choose who they feel needs the help the most.
Brenn Couldn’t Yet Afford A Car
Brenn’s determination to overcome the obstacles in her life reminded Jabaley of his own determination. The men have previously helped a woman in Arizona who was diagnosed with cancer. They paid off Rosa Esparza’s home mortgage and medical bills. After helping Rosa, they made their way to Texas, specifically to help Brenn…
Big Plans Next Year
While working on her shift at Starbucks, Jabaley planned to surprise Brenn with something she desperately needed. With college starting next fall, Brenn had no way of getting back and forth to work at Starbucks. She needed a car.
Broadcasting The News On Social Media
In an Instagram story, Jabaley is seen buying a car for Brenn. He enthusiastically says in his video, “We’re about to buy the car for the young lady here at Toyota…and we’re going to surprise her at Starbucks.” Then, Jabaley made his way to Starbucks. He planned to surprise Brenn was she was taking out the trash…
Having no idea that anyone was there to see her, Jabaley hid in a dumpster so that Brenn would be completely surprised. “Reporting Live from a Dumpster!” Jabaley said on Instagram. He continued, “We are about to surprise a Starbucks barista who’s graduating from high school with a new car!”
The Gift Of A Lifetime
Someone filming captured the big reveal and as Brenn walked by, Jabaley jumped out with a big bouquet of balloons. Brenn was shocked and fell to her knees. It took her a few minutes for everything to sink in and when it did, she walked over to the car with Jabaley. “This car is yours,” he told her…
Brand New Toyota Corolla
She began tearing up when she saw the new Toyota Corolla decorated with a big red bow.” She said out loud, “It’s more than a dream. It’s crazy.” She even explained how she never even asked for a car, but it’s something she desperately needed. She continued about how God works in mysterious ways.
“More than anything, glory to God because I wouldn’t be here without him,” Brenn cried. She also told Jabaley that now that she has a car, she needs to get a license and learn how to drive. Jabaley laughed but even offered to pay for her driving lessons. Afterward, Brenn was asked to write her dream on the Dream Machine tour bus…
Dream Machine Tour Bus
Brenn’s ultimate dream is to “Reach the world with the gospel of Christ.” Additionally, she wants to study dentistry and become a dentist. Jabaley bonded with Brenn, telling her that his dream was to be an athlete. “I wanted to be fit,” he says.
On his website, he wrote, “As a kid, I only had one dream…to become an athlete. But I was a chubby kid. I needed something to be good at, so I turned to business and became CEO Charlie.” After making it big in the music industry, Jabaley’s world came crashing down…
After he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, Jabaley quit work to follow his dreams. After he fulfilled his own, he decided to help others to fulfill their dreams. “In order to make a change in the world…you have to get out there in it,” Jabaley said.
Making The World A Better Place
“People need help, not only during holidays or special occasions, people need help now.” He then challenged corporations, celebrities, and anyone with a voice to be a part of this journey with him. Nike recently gave him a shout-out, and the Dream Machine is steadily impacting people’s lives across the U.S. Jabaley says he’s happy to do these good deeds now that he’s on the right track with his life.