Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Dawn Airhart Witte, an Entrepreneur, Author, International Speaker, and Philanthropist. She is a Certified Life Coach and the Founder of the Desire to Inspire Foundation, a non-profit organization that connects with communities around the world to break cycles of extreme poverty.
Please tell us something about yourself.
My most important and cherished role is that of being a mom. I am blessed to have two amazing daughters. They have taught me so much about life and who I want to be in the world. Nurturing their hearts and spirits drives a deep desire within me to do the same for children everywhere. I value love and kindness above all else, and I want to help as many people live their happiest and most fulfilling lives full of passion and purpose. It is what motivates me in all of my endeavors and is my highest calling.
How did you get into what you do right now? Please tell us more about your journey.
My desire to help others started at a very early age. I used to look out for the little children in the neighborhood when I was a child myself.
I volunteered at a nursing home as soon as I was old enough, and ever since then, I have said yes to every opportunity to help someone that came my way. Whether it is an animal who needs a home or a stranger who just needs a listening ear or kind word. I learned from an early age that our souls are nourished when we help others.
While I was raising my daughters, I volunteered with PTA, AYSO, National Charity League, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), Girl Scouts, Big Sisters, and the list goes on and on. Once my daughters were adults, I decided that it was time that I made my dreams from childhood come true. The idea that there are children in this world that have no food or access to clean water has always pulled at my heart in the most profound way. Knowing this exists is not okay with my soul, and I am motivated to be a part of the solution.
Four years ago, I started on a journey of discovery into my own purpose. I started the Desire to Inspire Foundation because I believe there is greatness within all of us. I wanted to share stories of kindness, love, and strength with people so everyone can see the greatness within themselves. Shortly after that, I took my first trip to Africa. I instantly fell in love with the people of Africa and knew that I was doing the work that I was put here to do. As my friend Mark Applyard always says, “I am living in the land of miracles.”
Who are your role models?
I have many role models. Gandhi, Jesus, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr. are a few. Still, my greatest role models are people whose names are not commonly known. Nana Kontor Nketiah is one of my very best friends and one of my greatest heroes. He has one of the biggest hearts I have ever known. He always says, “How can I rest when people are suffering,” He doesn't just think or talk about helping others; he lives it. It is his very being. Mama Josephine in Busia, Uganda, lost her family in 1987 during the war in her country. Understandably, she had lost her will to live after suffering that tragic loss, but Mama found her strength and purpose by helping children who had been left orphaned.
Over the years, she has struggled to feed, clothe, and house 67 children, but her determination and unyielding love keep her going despite her challenges and hardships. The list of people who inspire me is a long one, but I look to these amazing people as the type of person I want to be in the world.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by all of the miracles and magic life has to offer. We are surrounded by so much beauty. Acts of love and kindness often bring me to tears because compassion touches my soul. Animals and children bring me tremendous joy because their souls are so pure and full of wonder. Watching the stars or listening to the ocean are all things that lift my spirits and make my heart smile.
Please tell us about your book and how we can find it.
My latest book project is called, “Recipes for Being; The Power of Seven.” I am so very proud of this book because seven different life coaches and authors from around the world have contributed to this beautiful pocket journal to help others find and live happy lives full of purpose and love. All of my books are written about seven words that we can all choose to be every single day; love, kind, strong, genuine, inspired, grateful, and happy. Helping people see the world in a more inspired and hopeful way is what motivates me and all of my fellow co-authors. We are thrilled that it has been so well received and has touched the lives of those who have read it.
What's your most memorable experience?
I have had so many memorable experiences, it is difficult to choose just one. One that immediately comes to mind happened a few years ago during my first trip to Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is by far the most challenging of areas we visit in Africa. When we first met the 31 girls of Save the Young Girls Foundation, they lived in a one-room building on Rokupa Wharf. Locals refer to the wharf as the slums of Freetown because of the tremendous poverty. The girls all slept together on a concrete floor like sardines. They used this one room for everything; eating, sleeping, dancing, learning, and everything else you do in a home. Susan, an inspirational young woman who at 23 has taken in these 31 girls, had organized an event for all of the residents living on the wharf. The girls danced, there was music, speeches, and it was a beautiful day for all. At the end of the event, they played “We Are the World,” a song that had profoundly touched my heart as a teenager because it made me want to help those children one day.
On the wharf, tears started streaming down my face that day, and I couldn't stop crying. There I was standing in Africa surrounded by children whose lives I had touched. I had only imagined being able to do such work in the world when I was a child, but there I was doing it. That moment will forever be etched into my heart and soul.
“When you're down and out, there seems no hope at all.
But if you just believe there's no way we can fall.
Well, well, well, well, let us realize
Oh, that a change can only come
When we stand together as one.”
Which social media channels work best for promoting your work? What exactly do you do on the social media channel that makes it work for you?
I love social media. It has connected people from all across the globe to one another. I use Facebook and Linkedin most often and have been able to build an amazing following of amazing connections. I love using it to inspire, encourage, and motivate others. I know that everything I post will be seen by all of my children, and I want them to always believe in miracles and, most of all, to believe in themselves.
What's your greatest fear?
I gave up on fear and worries a while ago because I realized that they rob me of being at peace. My friend, Stephanie, always says, “We either live by fear or faith.” I will always choose faith.
How can people connect with you?
You can connect via my Facebook page.