I have a quote that I fell in love with a few years ago and I keep it hanging above my computer at my desk. It is from C.S. Lewis and reads, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
For many, this might mean that you have found someone who loves gaming or big trucks as much as you do, a fellow cosplay nerd who shows up at a convention as the only other person you have ever seen dressed as a Sleestak or that one other guy who loves to put pickles on his banana splits, complete with caramel drizzle and sprinkles.
For me, I discovered that my most meaningful and beautiful friendships come from finding those that love to help people as much as I do. The ones who look at every situation that comes along, as an opportunity to make a positive change in the lives of others.
In early 2013, after a year of documenting the creation process of the first open-source, 3D printed, prosthetic hand – I found myself co-founding e-NABLE, this amazing online community of others who are just as excited as I am about how we could use this new technology to make a difference in the lives of thousands of children and adults all over the world who need a “helping hand.”
I had found “My people” and together, we started what is now the e-NABLE Community.
Two of those people just happened to be Jeremy and Alina Dragu-Simon, owners and founders of 3D Universe.
They were not only incredibly selfless people who jumped right in to start helping us grow this new movement of digital humanitarians, but they used their passion for 3D printing and for teaching others about that which is possible with this technology, to help us inspire students of all ages to get involved in the ever-growing e-NABLE movement.
In no time flat, they were sending out unassembled 3D printed e-NABLE hand kits and donating materials for students to build and assemble their own 3D printed hand for science projects, creating a way for people to donate gift cards to be able to purchase materials for our volunteers, skyping with entire classrooms, mentoring volunteers and donating hands to recipients in need.
They never once asked for anything in return.
They were just simply excited to have the opportunity to educate people of all ages about how 3D printing technology could be used to improve the lives of people right there in their own communities, encourage people to use their ideas to benefit others and to find any opportunity they could to help.
Whether that was assisting me in putting together our first ever e-NABLE “Prosthetists Meets Printers” conference, organizing the fastest global 3D printed hand build event we had ever seen, managing a group of designers who took the original hand design to the next level, helping me to make sure that the enablingthefuture.org website didn’t crash and burn under the weight of “I have no idea what I am doing…HELP!” moments of panic, hosting and leading weekly planning meetings for the leadership team or creating our e-NABLE Web Central app so that recipients and volunteers could more easily find one another…Alina and Jeremy have reminded me time and time again, just what it means to be selfless givers.
Over the past 5 years, Jeremy and Alina have not only supported the e-NABLE Community through their numerous acts of kindness, being our go-to 3D printing experts for volunteers and students who need troubleshooting advice or giving honest recommendations for 3D printers for teachers and classrooms as well as creating hand kits that can be donated to underserved schools – but they have also supported my own family through donating a portion of all sales to their shop made through this website and advocating for funding to support my work in the community.
Today, I just wanted to highlight these amazing e-NABLE Volunteers and thank them personally for the countless ways they have helped to support our volunteers, teach us how to make our ideas and imagination come to life in ways that can help others and for being some of our hidden gems and behind the scenes heroes in our global community.
Thank you, Jeremy and Alina, for all that you do!
You are loved and appreciated more than you know.
For more information about their work with e-NABLE, please visit their website HERE.