A special message for Afghanistan
Professional networker Charles Ruffolo is mobilising Dutch youth to help Afghan children this winter. Jonette Stabbert writes.
“Networking is not whom you know that counts, but who knows you,” he says.
And it certainly seems as though everybody knows Charles. He’s on a first-name basis with many people in the Netherlands and abroad, ranging from high school students to chief executives, high-ranking political officials and television celebrities.
During this holiday season, Charles is using his networking skills to get as many people as possible to help children in Afghanistan through the SMS4Kids humanitarian action. This time, he’s also involving school children throughout the Netherlands.
“Help the kids in Holland help the kids in Afghanistan during this bitter winter,” he wrote in an impassioned email plea to his friends and associates.
Finding his niche on Dutch soil
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Charles spent 20 years in military service before finally settling down in 1991 in Drenthe with his Dutch wife, Herma and establishing RIBS Consultancy (Ruffolo International Business Services).
It did not take long for him to become actively involved with many clubs and to network within the international business community. This contributed to him initiating the GIVING BACK Foundation, which assists underprivileged foreign high school students through mentoring and other programs. Major banks and corporations are among the sponsors for Giving Back and it is gaining renown throughout the country.
*quote1*Charles has successfully mobilised large numbers of volunteers to work with talented, motivated students. The foundation ensures each child receives a personal mentor who is a professional and experienced in a particular field.
The children receive assistance in working towards their goals and the first group of participating students even took a field trip to the US.
Charles defines networking as a "give and take process with people with whom you have a direct or indirect relationship. Mutual interests support this process and finding the common ground is the key to Networking. Networking enables you to go directly from A to Z and skip the usual path through B to Y”.
In other words, by networking, you can take a quantum leap.
Kids take on the cause
If networking works so well between adults, why shouldn’t it also work well between children? Utilising their love of mobile phones, they can have competitive fun and help their contemporaries in Afghanistan at the same time.
Here’s how: children in the Netherlands who register at www.sms4kids.nl receive an official SMS-KID passport and a personal code. The contest is to see how many people each child can get to send the message HELP to 4141 using his or her code. Each message sent raises their score and raises money for the drive. There is an alternative telephone number for those who cannot send SMS messages.
Celebrity Jimmy Geduld, a leading actor in the TV soap Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden, and an ambassador of Giving Back has helped kick off the SMS4KIDS drive by addressing Amsterdam school children and assisting them with Internet registration as SMS Kids.
More than half a million children are expected to participate in the SMS4KIDS action between now and 6 January 2002, with a goal of raising more than NLG 10 million.
The money will be donated to the SHO (Samenwerkende Hulporganisaties/Co-operative help organisations) and be distributed to various charities such as Doctors without Frontiers, the Dutch Red Cross, Kerken in Actie (Churches in Action), Memisa, Mensen in Nood (People in Need), Novib, Stichting Vluchteling (Refugee Foundation), TEAR fund, Terre des Hommes and Unicef Nederland.
All these organisations will use their unique expertise to offer the best help possible where it is needed most.
Information about the SMS4KIDS action can be found at: www.sms4kids.nl and information in English can be obtained at Ph: 0900 5400 500 (EUR 0.35 per minute).
Giving Back is located at: http://www.giving-back.nl/
Charles will also continue uniting the business community in the Netherlands and hopes to involve as many people as possible in sharing skills and experience to help each other. His networking functions are free.
Charles Ruffolo ph: 0522 491100. RIBS Consultancy: http://www.ribs.nl/ and http://www.network-club.com/
21 December 2001
Subject: Expat profiles