A Big Enough Dream
Dan Carter has a rather pointed message for anyone who is waiting for the right time to chase after their dream.
"If you look back in history, a lot of the really important social movements took place during hard times. We can't afford to wait for better times. It's the right time now."
I met Dan about nine years ago, when I was a relatively new author out on the book promotion trail and he was hosting a noon-hour entertainment show on the CBC affiliate station in Oshawa, Ontario. Dan was one of those TV hosts with a really warm and relaxed interviewing style – our interview felt more like a chat – and I made a point of keeping in touch with him over the years. I made occasional guest appearances as I brought out new books and, about three years ago, I starting contributing a bimonthly parenting segment to the evening news.
All that time, I worked under the mistaken assumption that Dan was merely a good guy – the kind of TV host and producer who went out of his way to make everyone feel at home on the set. I had no idea he was actually a mild-mannered broadcasting-world Clark Kent by day and something approaching a GTA superhero after hours. You see, I hadn't been brought up to speed about Dan's plans to raise up to a million dollars to launch a centre for kids and seniors in south Oshawa. That changed last year -- I was brought into the loop -- and, frankly, I was awestruck. The centre -- which will be part of the new Oshawa Community Health Centre in south Oshawa -- will provide disadvantaged kids with access to computers and learning materials while providing respite care to seniors with Alzheimers.
What's fueling Dan's dream is his desire (actually, let's make that need) to make a difference with his life. That's because he feels like he has been given a second chance at life and he's determined not to waste a single minute of it. Dan in incredibly generous about sharing what he's learned about hitting rock bottom and finding the courage to come back from addiction – most recently in his book which doubles as a fundraiser for The Hope Centre of Learning. And he is working each step of the plan for turning that million dollar dream into a million dollar reality.
I have no doubt that he will be successful. He will accept nothing less from himself -- not when there are vulnerable kids at stake. Put passion behind a great cause and you've got a pitch no one can resist. Case in point: I dropped by Dan's book launch in Oshawa in late October. It was the best attended book launch I've ever attended – and I've attended plenty of book launches in my time. About 250 people jammed the book store, loading up on armloads of the book. Most stood in line for an hour so they could offer personal congratulations to Dan and his mentor/co-author Reverend Doug Schneider.
It takes a special person to attract that kind of following. It also takes a very special kind of dream – the kind of dream that is big enough to demand an entire community's support. A dream big enough for people to invest their hearts and their hope in.
That's Dan Carter's kind of dream.